Past Event

The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan’s

69th Anniversary Event


His Excellency Cui Tiankai

Chinese Ambassador to the United States


in a moderated conversation with


Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns

Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs


Friday, February 8, 2019

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Ambassador Ballroom


12:00PM - 1:45 PM Luncheon and Program

Pre-paid parking is available at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Registration buttons below.

For questions, please call the office at 616-776-1721 or email

Deadline to RSVP/Cancel is Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

Given China’s intrinsic importance to the trajectory of the 21st century, the global economy, and indeed Michigan’s financial future, a conversation on U.S.-China relations with China’s top diplomatic representative to the United States could not be more timely.  

The visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, which were established on January 1, 1979.

The visit is supported by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Foundation. President Ford made important contributions to the establishment of formal ties between the United States and China, traveling there in 1972 during his time as House Minority Leader and again as President in 1975. He also named future President George H. W. Bush to lead the American Liaison Office in Beijing. 

Join us for this interesting conversation.

Image of Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Cui Tiankai

Ambassador Cui Tiankai was appointed China’s ambassador to the United States in March 2013. He previously served as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.


Ambassador Cui was born in October 1952 in Shanghai. He began studying foreign language and interpretation at East China Normal University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, and continued his study at Beijing Foreign Language Institute.


He also earned a master’s degree in 1987 at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

In 1984, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as an attaché, and held a series of successively higher positions at MFA’s Department of International Organizations and Conferences.


In 2007, he was appointed China’s Ambassador to Japan. In 2009, he was appointed Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, where he served until his current ambassadorship. Ambassador Cui is married and has one daughter.

Image of Ambassador Nicholas Burns

Ambassador Nicholas Burns served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005-2008 at the Department of State until his retirement in April 2008 after 27 years in the United States Foreign Service.

Ambassador Burns is currently the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Senior Counselor at The Cohen Group, a strategic business advisory firm based in Washington, DC. 


He is also Director of the Aspen Strategy Group; a member of the board of directors of Entegris, Inc.; and a board member of several non-profits, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Olympics, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Atlantic Council.


Ambassador Burns has a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College, from which he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1978. He also earned his master’s degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1980.

With gracious support from 

Sponsor Logo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Sponsor Logo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation