Stephen D. Mull

Fast Facts

  • Vice provost for global affairs, University of Virginia
  • Former acting under secretary for political affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Former U.S. ambassador to Poland and Lithuania 
  • Recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award
  • Expertise on U.S. diplomacy, Iran, Russia, nuclear agreements

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • World Happenings
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Middle East

Ambassador Stephen D. Mull joined the University of Virginia as vice provost for global affairs in August 2018. He has served in a broad range of U.S. national security positions, most recently as acting under secretary for political affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Mull served as lead coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation from 2015 until 2017, in which capacity he led U.S. government efforts to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. Prior to that position, he was U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Poland from 2012 until 2015, supporting a significant growth of U.S. exports to Poland and expanding U.S.-Polish military cooperation within NATO in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

Mull served as executive secretary of the State Department from 2010 until 2012, in which capacity he coordinated responses to a wide range of crises and managed the department’s support for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He served as senior advisor to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns from 2008 until 2010, in which position he coordinated U.S. diplomatic efforts on Iran, managed the State Department’s crisis response during the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008, and led negotiations on a range of issues, including the agreement permitting the flight of U.S. military resupply flights to Afghanistan through Russian airspace, saving taxpayers over $25 million.

Through his State Department career, Mull worked in a range of positions focused on U.S. interests in countries undergoing volatile transitions. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania 2003-2006, during which he oversaw efforts to bring Lithuania into the NATO alliance. He was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2000 to 2003, during a period of democratic transition in the face of significant terrorist threats and political instability. He covered opposition politics in apartheid South Africa’s transition to democracy from 1986-90, winning the State Department’s top prize for political reporting. He also reported on the democratic movement in communist Poland from 1984-86.

Mull is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, two Distinguished Honor Awards, and the State Department’s Baker-Wilkins Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission. From 2017 to 2018, he served as resident senior fellow at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He joined the Foreign Service in March 1982, and attained the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, in 2016. He is a 1980 graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Stephen D. Mull News Feed

Ukraine and Poland have a long (and strained) history. In the face of a common Russian adversary, few mention the past, writes Miller Center Practitioner Senior Fellow Stephen Mull.
Miller Center Ukraine war blog
William B. Taylor Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, joins a panel of Miller Center and UVA experts on war and foreign policy to analyze Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As Taylor wrote recently: “Atrocities and mass civilian casualties, in a Russian assault that President Biden and others have labeled an act of genocide, only heighten the question for democracies of how to respond. Accountability will be vital. But an immediate imperative is to stop this aggression by defeating Putin and supporting Ukrainians’ battle to preserve their own freedom. That battle is crucial to the protection of international rule of law—and, given Putin’s implacability, to any hope for peace.”
Stephen D. Mull Miller Center Presents
A panel of experts discusses what could happen next in Ukraine and Europe in the wake of Russia's profoundly destabilizing invasion. Panelists include Eric Edelman, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Stephen D. Mull, former U.S. ambassador to Poland; Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia; and Andrew Weiss, vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Stephen D. Mull Miller Center Presents
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia started a little over a month ago now in countries in Europe continue to welcome Ukrainians who have fled their homes one week into the invasion. They were a little over 1 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland and other parts of Europe. Now that total is nearly 4 million with many bring with them, whatever they could carry or stuffed into a bag or suitcase. For some more insight into the situation in Ukraine, we're joined by Stephen Mull. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland during the Obama administration and is currently the vice provost for global affairs at the University of Virginia.
Stephen D. Mull Newsy
Diplomats from Russia and Ukraine are expected to start a new round of peace talks in Turkey on Tuesday. Fighting continued throughout the weekend with Russia focusing most of its efforts on capturing territory in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, President Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power." Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull joined "CBS News Mornings" to discuss.
Stephen D. Mull CBS News
What is the best way to get Russia to the negotiating table? And is there an end game for Putin that Ukrainians might be willing to accept? Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss.
Stephen D. Mull MSNBC