Paley Dialogue

A Conversation with CIA Director William J. Burns

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Lunch 12:30 to 1:00 pm
Conversation and Q&A 1:00 to 2:00 pm
The Paley Center for Media, 25 West 52 Street, NYC

A rare glimpse behind the scenes of the CIA from William Burns, the esteemed agency’s Director. In this off-the-record discussion targeted to senior executives, hear about emerging international security issues, the key threats to business that all companies should know, and what keeps the Director up at night. Apply to receive an invitation to this important event.

In Person:
William J. Burns
Director
Central Intelligence Agency
 
Moderator:
Amna Nawaz
Coanchor
PBS NewsHour

Events and participants are subject to change.

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This event is exclusive to Media Council Members. To find out more about Media Council Membership, contact mediacouncil@paleycenter.org.

William J. Burns

Director
Central Intelligence Agency

MC 768x768 BIO PIC William Burns

Bill Burns was officially sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 19, 2021, making him the first career diplomat to serve as Director. Director Burns holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service—Career Ambassador—and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary of State. 

Director Burns retired from the State Department U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 before becoming president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

Director Burns is a crisis-tested public servant who spent his 33-year diplomatic career working to keep Americans safe and secure. Prior to his tenure as Deputy Secretary of State, he served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011; U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008; Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2005; and U.S. Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. He was also Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council. 

Director Burns received three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. Intelligence Community. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal (2019). He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from LaSalle University and master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. 

 

Amna Nawaz

Coanchor
PBS NewsHour

Nawaz Amna

Prior to joining PBS NewsHour in April 2018, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, built in 2014, to elevate stories from America’s fastest-growing and most diverse population.

At the NewsHour, Nawaz has reported from the White House, across the country, and around the world on a range of topics including politics, immigration, foreign affairs, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, the climate, culture, and sports.

She also serves as an NBC News and MSNBC contributor.

Throughout her career, she has covered major events such as the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol; the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; the elections and inaugurations of President Joe Biden, President Donald J. Trump, and President Barack Obama; Hurricane Katrina; the 2010 Haiti earthquake; the U.S. war in Afghanistan; and the September 11th attacks.

Nawaz has interviewed multiple heads of state and international leaders including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. She has interviewed numerous lawmakers and administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Nawaz has also interviewed newsmakers across industries, including acclaimed director Ava Duvernay, actor Riz Ahmed, WNBA star Sue Bird, and country singer Reba McEntire.

Nawaz was part of NewsHour’s team honored with a Peabody Award in 2023 for its coverage of the gun violence epidemic in America, including her on-the-ground coverage of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. She was also part of the team honored with a Peabody Award in 2022 for Newshour’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Nawaz previously won a Peabody for her documentary work on 2019’s “The Plastic Problem,” examining global plastic pollution and efforts to address it. Her other documentaries include “Raising the Future,” a 2021 documentary on America’s childcare crisis; and 2022’s “Life After Lockup,” which followed the lives of four formerly-incarcerated people to track the challenges of re-entry after prison.

In 2020, Nawaz hosted a criminal justice podcast, “Broken Justice,” which was named a finalist for the Silver Gavel Awards, honoring work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. She also hosted 2021’s “The Longest Year,” a pandemic-focused podcast series on the many ways Covid-19 changed Americans’ lives.

Nawaz has hosted three seasons of the primetime PBS series, “Beyond the Canvas,” featuring profiles and interviews of some of the world’s leading artists, musicians, and creators.

In 2019, Nawaz became the first Asian American and the first Muslim American to moderate a presidential debate.

While at ABC News, Nawaz hosted the documentary, “Roberts County: A Year in the Most Pro-Trump Town,” following four families’ lives over President Trump’s first year in office. She also hosted the podcast series, “Uncomfortable” for ABC News Radio, featuring in-depth, one-on-one conversations with thought leaders on the issues dividing America.

While at NBC News, she was the first foreign journalist to gain access to North Waziristan – then the global hub of Al Qaida and the Taliban - while pregnant with her first daughter.

Nawaz was a Fall 2021 Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asian American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, and the Inter-American Dialogue.

In 2023, Nawaz was named an A100 honoree by Gold House. She was the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Vision Award and the Media Award from the Muslim Affairs Public Council’s Media Award in 2022. She has also been honored with the American Muslim Institution’s Excellence in Media Award in 2018 and an Emmy award as part the 2009 NBC News Special “Inside the Obama White House.”

She is the first-generation American daughter of Pakistani parents, born and raised in Virginia. Nawaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she captained the varsity field hockey team and studied abroad at the University of Zimbabwe. She later earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

She lives with her husband, Paul, and their two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

Membership levels start with a donation of $3,250. To apply to become a Media Council Member and attend the event please fill out the following information, and a member of the Paley team will be in touch shortly.

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