Hon. James F. Collins
Ambassador Collins served from 1997 to 2001 as the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. He is one of America's leading authorities on Russia and Eurasia and on U.S. relations with Russia and that region.
Before becoming ambassador to Russia, Ambassador Collins enjoyed a broad and distinguished State Department career. As a member of the Senior Foreign Service, he served as a presidential appointee both overseas and in Washington. He was ambassador-at-large and special advisor to the secretary of state for the New Independent States and deputy chief of mission and charge d'affaires with Ambassador Robert S. Strauss at the American Embassy in Moscow during the events surrounding the collapse of the USSR.
In addition to his diplomatic postings in Moscow, Ambassador Collins held management positions at the Department of State and the White House in Washington, focusing extensively on Russian/Soviet and Middle East affairs. His overseas tours, in addition to three diplomatic postings in Moscow, included positions at the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and at the American Consulate General in Izmir, Turkey. In Washington he served at the Department of State as deputy executive secretary for Europe and Latin America and as director of the Department of State's Operations Center. He also served at the White House as director for intelligence policy at the National Security Council, and held policy positions at the Department of State in the Bureaus of European and Canadian Affairs, Near East and South Asian Affairs, and Intelligence and Research.
Ambassador Collins has received numerous honors during his career, including the Secretary of State's Award for Distinguished Service, the Department of State's Distinguished Honor Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the NASA Medal for Distinguished Service, as well as several meritorious and superior honor awards from the Department of State. He was the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia's "Friend of the Chamber" in 1998. He holds honorary degrees from University College, University of Maryland; Indiana University; the Russian Academy of Sciences; and the Linguistics University of Nizhniy Novgorod, as well as an honorary professorship from Moscow State University. In 2002 he was named to the U.S. -Russia Business Council's board of directors.
Before joining the State Department, Ambassador Collins taught Russian and European history, government and economics at the U.S. Naval Academy. He received his B.A. cum laude from Harvard University in 1961 and his M.A. from Indiana University. He conducted research at Moscow University in 1965 as an exchange fellow and at the British Museum in London in 1966 as an Indiana University fellow.
Ambassador Collins is a Senior Associate and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Press Release: Ambassador James F. Collins to Head Carnegie’s Russian & Eurasian Program