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

What is it like to fight for democracy in a country that has been plagued by political violence? Representing multiple continents, the activists speaking on this “Democracy Dialogues” panel describe their on-the-ground fight for political freedom in Bolivia, Serbia, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar (Burma). Each offers a unique international perspective on the American democratic experiment. These speakers are participants in the Karsh Institute of Democracy’s Democratic Futures Project, which is dedicated to providing refuge and training to global democracy activists while fostering research partnerships and student engagement.
Stephen D. Mull Miller Center Presents
This special discussion featuring Miller Center experts looking ahead to President Biden's State of the Union Address includes Miller Center Director William Antholis, Director of Presidential Studies Barbara Perry, and Senior Fellows Jennifer Lawless and Stephen D. Mull as they anticipate the challenges Biden faces in crafting this crucial speech compared to his predecessors.
Stephen D. Mull FedNet
An interview on Bloomberg TV's 'Balance of Power' with David Westin and Stephen D. Mull, former United States ambassador to Poland and Lithuania and faculty senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center.
Stephen D. Mull Bloomberg TV
Stephen Mull, former U.S. ambassador to Poland and practitioner senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, discusses the deadly missile strike in Polish territory.
Stephen D. Mull CBS News
Stephen Mull, practitioner senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center and former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, discusses Poland's assessment the missile attack that killed two people was an accident.
Stephen D. Mull Balance of Power podcast
“Ambassador Etienne’s visit to Grounds was just the latest evidence of the special relationship that has existed between UVA and France, going back many years,” said Steve Mull, practitioner senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center and UVA’s vice provost for global affairs.
Stephen D. Mull UVA Today