Raymond Burghardt has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) from February 2006 to October 2016. AIT is the private entity established in 1979 to manage U.S. relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties. Former Secretary of State Rice appointed Burghardt to the AIT Chairmanship and the Obama Administration has asked him to continue in the position. The AIT Chairman participates in the Washington policy discussions on Taiwan. He represents the Administration in periodic visits to Taiwan and in meetings with Taiwan leaders in the United States.
Ambassador Burghardt has a long history of involvement with Taiwan. He was Director of the American Institute in Taiwan from 1999-2001, representing U.S. interests in Taipei during the period of political transition when President Chen Shui-bian was elected and took office. Prior to his arrival in Taipei, Burghardt was Consul General in Shanghai (1997-99), a position in which he served as the U.S. Government’s chief interlocutor with the late Wang Daohan, the People’s Republic of China’s lead negotiator with Taiwan. In the mid-1970’s, Burghardt studied for one year in Taichung at the State Department’s Chinese Language School.
Burghardt served for many years as one of the leading Asian specialists in the U.S. Foreign Service. He was Ambassador to Vietnam (2001-2004), Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Manila (1993-96) and Seoul (1990-93) and Political Counselor in Beijing (1987-89). Burghardt’s earlier career included an assignment on the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to President Reagan and Senior Director of Latin American Affairs.
From 2006 until December 2012, Burghardt served concurrently with his AIT position as Director of East-West Seminars at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He established a new public diplomacy division organizing exchange and dialogue programs for Asian and American journalists and political figures.
Burghardt received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1967 and did graduate study at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He was born in New York City and raised in the New York metropolitan area.