On Tuesday, April 2, in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of NATO’s signing, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum will host a public program featuring former U.S. Ambassador to NATO R. Nicholas Burns and former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow, who will discuss the current state of NATO and what lies ahead.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established on April 4, 1949, by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. Seventy years later NATO is an international alliance that consists of 29 member states from Europe and North America. Article 5 of NATO is a collective defense clause which states that an attack on one ally is considered an attack on all and has been invoked only once in the treaty’s history: on September 12, 2001.
Ambassador Burns served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2001 to 2005. In addition, he has held many crucial Foreign Service, State Department, and White House posts over his 27-year government career, including ambassador to Greece (1997–2001) and director of Soviet affairs for President George H. W. Bush. He 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 recently coauthored a report called “NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis.”
Ambassador Vershbow has also had a long career in government and foreign service. He served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1998 to 2001, and later served as deputy secretary general of NATO from 2012 to 2016. In between his stints at NATO, Ambassador Vershbow served as ambassador to the Russian Federation (2001–2005) and ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2005–2008). He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, and he recently coauthored a report called “Permanent Deterrence: Enhancements to the U.S. Military Presence in North Central Europe.”
By Harmony Barker, Public Programs Coordinator, 9/11 Memorial Museum