San Diego World Affairs Council

a 501(C)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization

presents its

2019 Annual Dinner

Co-sponsored by Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs, San Diego State University

featuring Keynote Speaker

Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns

Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs

and U.S. Ambassador to NATO & Greece

Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

“American Foreign Policy in the Trump Era”

Ambassador (ret.) R. Nicholas Burns will discuss major trends challenging global peace and stability, including a weakening U.S. leadership role, the U.S.-China competition for power in the Indo-Pacific, and his analysis of the North Korea nuclear crisis.  He will also examine prospects for stability in the Middle East and Europe as well as the deepening political crisis in the U.S. and its impact on foreign policy.

About our Speaker:

Ambassador Burns is one of this country’s most distinguished diplomats.  His stellar career in the United States Foreign Service spanned 27-plus years. From 2005-2008 he served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, where he was in the third-ranking and top career position at the State Department and was lead negotiator on Iran nuclear issues and on the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement. Ambassador Burns also served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005) and to Greece (1997-2001), and was the State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). Prior to that, he worked on the National Security Council as Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs; Special Assistant to President Clinton; and Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985-1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt (1983-1985) and Mauritania (1980 as an intern). He was a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board from 2014-2017.

Ambassador Burns is currently the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the founder and Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. He is also Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on the board of directors for Entegris, Inc. and several non-profit organizations, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Olympics, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Atlantic Council.

Professor Burns has received fifteen honorary degrees, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Johns Hopkins University, as well as other awards of distinction. He has a BA in History from Boston College (1978), an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980), and the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (1977).


Saturday, February 23, 2019

6:00-7:00 PM Registration & Reception

7:00 PM Dinner and Announcements

7:45-8:30 PM Keynote

8:30-9:00 PM Q&A


Ticket Costs:

Members $85

Non-Members $100

$15 Early Bird discount if ticket is purchased by January 31st!


The Westin San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter*

910 Broadway Circle

San Diego, California 92101 USA

Valet parking$18, self-parking on site $15

Self-parking at nearby Horton Plaza $12

More information on parking to follow.


*Please note that this is NOT the Westin Broadway on 402 W. Broadway. (There are two Westin hotels in downtown San Diego.)

Please also note that the viewpoints expressed by speakers at SDWAC events are their own, and do not represent those of SDWAC. As a non-partisan organization, SDWAC seeks to engage speakers who, together,represent a variety of viewpoints across the political spectrum in order to contribute to informed policy discussion and a meaningful exchange of ideas within the San Diego community.


Past events

August 30, 2018 Fighting for Cyber Supremacy in an Age of Extremism
July 26, 2018 U.S. trade policy and the economics of trade in today’s technology-driven global era.
June 26, 2018 "Why Mexico's Election, NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico Relations Are Important to You."
June 16, 2018 REGISTER NOW! Annual Membership Meeting
May 23, 2018 May 23, 2018 -- Ukraine: Russian Interference and How the U.S. Can Bolster Ukrainian Security
April 27, 2018 Annual Dinner and Presentation on "Middle East Meltdown: Causes and Consequences"
April 03, 2018 SOLD OUT! Immigration and Border Issues: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
February 21, 2018 Mexico's Upcoming Elections and What They Mean for the U.S.
January 24, 2018 "China in the Wake of the Party Conference"
December 06, 2017 Is the Turkish Partnership Doomed?
November 28, 2017 Movie Screening: America's Diplomats
November 02, 2017 Russia: Preventing Peace on Its Periphery
October 19, 2017 NAFTA: A Make or Break Moment?
October 06, 2017 Three Elections and a Brexit: The Unraveling of Europe?
September 22, 2017 South Sudan: Crisis and Conflict in the World's Newest Country
August 28, 2017 U.S. Alliances in the Indo-Pacific: A Practitioner's Perspective
August 14, 2017 Life as a Military Officer in the Middle East
July 25, 2017 Tijuana Day Trip
July 12, 2017 Trade Routes and the Evolving Geopolitics of the Middle East
June 29, 2017 Fiber Optics: History, Security, Applications and More
June 22, 2017 Dealing With a Dangerous and Challenging World -- The Physics and Economics of Defense
June 17, 2017 Rising Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: How Does This End?
June 15, 2017 Guantanamo Bay -- Al Qaeda’s Nuremberg: An Inside Look at 9/11 Justice
June 08, 2017 Is the Syrian Regime Survival Guaranteed in Moscow? Origins and Prospects for Relations Between Syria and Russia
June 01, 2017 North County Chapter Annual Meeting
May 01, 2017 Economic Sanctions
April 29, 2017 The Philippines Under President Duterte: Nagging Questions and an Optimistic Outlook
March 18, 2017 Growing the Game: Baseball's Plans for Global Expansion
February 13, 2017 Annual Dinner


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council

113 West G Street #601

San Diego, CA 92101


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