William J. Burns retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after a distinguished 33-year diplomatic career. He 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. Upon his retirement, President Obama said of Secretary Burns: "Since I took office, I have relied on him for candid advice and sensitive diplomatic missions. He has been a skilled advisor, consummate diplomat, and inspiration to generations of public servants." Shibley Telhami will engage Ambassador Burns in a conversation about Americ'’s role in a changing Middle East.