Inside American diplomacy: From the Cold War to Trump

2 April 2019, London

The Guardian is hosting an evening with William J Burns, the long-serving American diplomat and Foreign Service Officer who President Obama praised as a man who “doesn’t speak loud, but actually has something to say”.

Burns entered the Foreign Service in 1982, and over his 40-year career he has served five presidents, including as US ambassador to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and as Deputy Secretary of Service for Obama. The second career diplomat in American history to rise to the level of Deputy Secretary, Burns has seen the United States through some of its most defining moments in recent history, including the Iran Nuclear Deal and the June 2001 Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire agreement.

His new book, The Back Channel: American Diplomacy in a Disordered World, offers a candid look at his long career, as well as his views on American diplomacy and leadership in a world that is increasingly uncertain about the role of the United States under the Trump administration.

As we enter into a critical moment for international relations, this is an incredible opportunity to hear from a long-serving US diplomat lauded not only by Obama, but also by Hillary Clinton, Ed Miliband, Henry Kissinger and Walter Isaacson. 

Register here.


Running time: 90 minutes, no interval.

Wheelchair users and visitors who require an assistant may bring a companion free of charge. To book a free companion ticket please email guardianlive.events@theguardian.com

Islington Assembly Hall N1 2UD London