James F. Collins


Ambassador James F. Collins has served as a director of the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law since its founding in 2008. A recognized expert on Russia and the countries of East Europe and Central Asia, he directed the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2007 to 2014 and is presently a Senior Associate in that program.

Ambassador Collins was the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1997 to 2001. Before his appointment as Ambassador to Russia, he served as Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States in the mid-1990s and as deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires at the American Embassy in Moscow from 1990 to 1993. In addition to three diplomatic postings in Moscow, he held positions in the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and the Consulate General in Izmir, Turkey, as well as in in Washington in the Department of State and White House.

He is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Award for Distinguished Service; the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award; the Secretary of State’s Award for Career Achievement; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service; and the NASA Medal for Distinguished Service and received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2016. He holds honorary degrees from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Indiana University and the title of honorary professor at Moscow State University.

Ambassador Collins has been active on the boards of non-profit organizations concerned with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. relations with Russia and the countries of East Europe and Central Asia. He is a member of the board of the U.S.-Russia Business Council and of the Open world Leadership Center. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation and is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Before joining the State Department, Ambassador Collins taught Russian and European history, American government and economics at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Ambassador Collins is married to Dr. Naomi Collins, the author of Through Dark Days and White Nights: Four Decades Observing a Changing Russia, and they have two sons Robert and Jonathan. Areas of Expertise Ambassador Collins is an expert in Russia and Eurasia. U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. relations with Russia and CIS countries, Europe, Arms control and Nonproliferation, and Russian Politics and Economy.


B.A., Harvard University; M.A., Indiana University


English; Russian