Upcoming Events

TANIP 2017 Now Accepting Applications
December 31, 2016

Apply at http://thaiembdc.org/tanip2017application/.

Subscribe to the Asia News Brief

* indicates required
USAI Email List

Senior Advisers and Fellows


Peggy Carnes

Program Adviser

Hailing from a family with a tradition of military service, Peggy Carnes lived in both Europe and Asia for extended periods, in such varied places as Japan, Taiwan, Germany and Denmark. In addition she lived in nine US states where she earned degrees from Washington State University, Montana State University and the University of South Carolina in the fields of Education, Business and Computer Science. Academic accolades include graduating Cum Laude and recipient of the Wall Street Journal Award as the outstanding graduate in the School of Business. She taught an economics review at Montana State, and independently developed custom software for small businesses. In preparation for a diplomatic assignment to the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic Of Lithuania, Ms. Carnes attended the Defense Attaché School and the State Department Foreign Service Institute. She has since focused the skills she developed during her multicultural experiences, which include a deep knowledge of protocols and cultural sensitivities, to assist the US-Asia Institute in its United Nations receptions, Washington, D.C. programs, and international exchanges. As a current resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has served on both civic and academic boards, while actively supporting international military families from around the world on temporary assignment to the United States.


Anthony Cordesman

Senior Adviser

Dr. Anthony Cordesman currently holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Dr. Cordesman is the co-author of Chinese Military Modernization: Force Development and Strategic Capabilities, (CSIS, Washington, 2007); a three volume series on The Evolving Military Balance in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia (CSIS, Washington, 2013); and Chinese Military Modernization and Force Development 2014 (CSIS, Washington, 2014). He has also written extensively on oil and energy risks and issues, and is the co-author of The Global Oil Market: Risks and Uncertainties, CSIS, 2006. He has been visiting and lecturing in Asia since the 1960s, and has visited Asia on more than twelve occasions with the US-Asia Institute. He was a guest lecturer in China on energy and Middle East security for the State Department in 2007.

Dr. Cordesman formerly served as national security assistant to Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as civilian assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. He has served in numerous other government positions, including in the State Department and served as director of policy and planning for resource applications in the Department of Energy, and he has had numerous foreign assignments.

He has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service medal, is a former adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, and has twice been a Wilson fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian.


Bates Gill

Senior Adviser

Dr. Bates Gill is currently a professor of Asia-Pacific Strategic Studies with the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australia National University College of the Asia & Pacific.

From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Gill was Chief Executive Officer of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.  Prior to this, he was Director and chief executive of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent think tank consistently recognized as one of the world’s top ten research institutes in international affairs. Before joining SIPRI, Dr. Gill held the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C (2002-2007) and previously served as a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and inaugural Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution (1998-2002).  He has also held the Fei Yiming Professorship in Comparative Politics at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Chinese and American Studies, Nanjing, China.

Dr. Gill is a Director of China Matters, a Sydney-based strategic advisory and public policy initiative. He also serves on the board of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (Singapore) and is a member of the International Board of Advisers for the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies. He is on the Editorial Board of the China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, and Security Challenges. 

Dr. Gill received his Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia.


Robert Jordan

Senior Adviser, VP, Int'l & Government Affairs

Robert F. Jordan started a 36-year diplomatic career with the U.S. Information Agency. He served as the Public Affairs Officer and director of the United States Information Service in 11 countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America with responsibility for all U.S. government press and cultural exchange programs.

Mr. Jordan was president of the Fulbright Commission in several countries and was also president of the Government of Ireland’s scholarship board. While on a Washington tour, he was assigned to USIA’s inspection corps and conducted policy and public diplomacy inspections of American embassies in some 40 countries worldwide.

Mr. Jordan is the recipient of several meritorious and superior honor awards and performance pay awards from USIA, the Department of Defense and the Department of State. He also received the Order of Merit from the Government of Portugal. He was frequently selected to organize press facilities for the White House Press Corps for overseas visits of U.S. presidents. Following retirement in 1992, Mr. Jordan was called back by both USIA and the Department of State to conduct policy inspections of some 20 embassies worldwide. From 1995 to 2001, he worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency handling the Spanish-speaking media on disasters around the country.

Mr. Jordan served overseas in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947, and then attended the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1951. He also attended Boston College Graduate School and the University of Mexico in Mexico City.


Michael Lai

Senior Adviser

Michael Lai is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Orthpaedic Bioengineering at Columbia University.

Between 1962 and 1986, he was a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1987 with a joint appointment between the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He served as Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1996 to 2002 and became Professor Emeritus in 2004. His research field has been in Orthopaedic Bioengineering with a special interest in soft tissue mechanics. Many of his publications have been in the constitutive modeling of articular cartilage for which he received the ASME Melville Medal in 1982 and the ASME Lissner Medal in 2001.

Dr. Lai is a Fellow of ASME and a founding Fellow of the American Institute for Biomedical and Biological Engineering (1995). At Columbia, he has received a Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association (2000).

Dr. Lai received his Ph.D in Engineering Mechanics in 1962 from the University of Michigan.


Mary Purdy

Senior Adviser

Mary Purdy is a retired Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading provider of management and technology consulting services to the US government in defense, intelligence, and civil markets. Ms. Purdy’s clients included several Department of Defense Headquarters level organizations in cyberspace and Information Technology (IT).

In 2010, Ms. Purdy received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award from the Chief Information Officer. A 15 year Booz Allen employee, she currently consults on enterprise cyberspace and cybersecurity workforce and human capital planning solutions. She has authored several articles on the information assurance workforce with regard to leadership, personnel, and training initiatives.

Before joining Booz Allen, Ms. Purdy served as a career Naval officer with experience in manpower and personnel, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, operations, and joint warfighting. She worked extensively with the Joint Staff, unified commands, and other government agencies. As a Senior Military Fellow at the National Defense University, she developed and conducted political military simulations for the Flag and General Officer CAPSTONE course and provided subject matter expertise on China’s relationship with the West. Earlier in her career, Ms. Purdy was responsible for the development and implementation of numerous personnel management programs to include assignments with the Naval Military Personnel Command, where she coordinated the initial deployment of women to the “Women in Ships” program. At the U.S. Naval Academy she oversaw the daily military and academic development of Midshipmen, and authored several major regulation manuals—affecting all aspects of student development for the Brigade of Midshipmen.

Ms. Purdy received her bachelors degree with honors in Psychology at Northwest Missouri State University. She holds a Masters in Human Resources from Webster University and is a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and Naval War College (off-campus). In 2009, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northwest Missouri State University.


Alejandro Reyes

Senior Adviser

Alejandro Reyes is currently visiting associate professor at the University of Hong Kong.

In 2008, Mr. Reyes was the Program Manager for Asia at the Clinton Global Initiative. From 2006 to 2007, he was a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a think tank in Washington, DC. In 2005 to 2006, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University in New York, and in the year before was a Visiting Scholar at the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Athens, OH, in the U.S. In 2002, he was a Senior Policy Adviser to the Canadian Foreign Minister on G8 issues and foreign policy development, and was a member of the Canadian delegation to the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting. From 1988 to 2001, Mr. Reyes worked as a journalist at Asiaweek, part of the Time Warner group, where he was the magazine’s Southeast Asian Business Correspondent, Singapore and Hong Kong Bureau Chief, Senior Correspondent for Regional Affairs, and Editor-at-Large.

Mr. Reyes has written for various publications including The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and has appeared on CNN, CNBC and Al Jazeera as a commentator on Asian affairs. He has authored two books, including an investment guide to Asian markets. He edited a book on the SARS virus outbreak and another on banking in Asia that was written by McKinsey & Co. consultants, both published in 2003. He has completed a book on the movement against globalization.

Mr. Reyes received his degrees from Harvard University and Oxford University. In 2000, Queens University of Charlotte, NC, awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for achievement in journalism and his support of international cultural exchange and education.


J. Matthew Szymanski

Senior Advisor

J. Matthew Szymanski is a self-employed consultant.

From 1990-2002, Mr. Szymanski practiced law and served in government in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2002-2007, he served the U.S. Congress as chief of staff for both the House Small Business Committee and the U.S.-China Interparliamentary Exchange. In the latter role, he helped manage U.S.-China relations by organizing 20 U.S. delegations to China and hosting many Chinese delegations in the United States. From 2007-2014, Mr. Szymanski was vice president for corporate relations at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) at its headquarters in Shanghai, China. He resided on SMIC’s Shanghai campus with his family and together they traveled widely.

To promote U.S.-China relations, he hosted U.S. and Chinese delegations at work and at home and volunteered time teaching U.S.-style rule of law (ROL) courses at East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, and Peking University School of Transnational Law. He also served as an adjunct professor for Council on International Educational Exchange, teaching international business law to American undergraduates studying abroad at East China Normal University. In 2010, the City of Shanghai awarded him Leading Professional status.

In 2008, Mr. Szymanski partnered with USAI to establish the USAI-Szymanski ROL Program for Chinese Students to host top Chinese law students in Washington, D.C. For four weeks each summer, a handful of students experience the U.S. system firsthand, observing legislative and judicial proceedings and meeting with officials from all three branches of the U.S. Government. In 2015, he partnered with USAI to establish the USAI-Szymanski ROL Program for U.S. Students. The inaugural program occurred in May-June, 2016 in China. For more information on Mr. Szymanski, see his LinkedIn profile.


James Borton


James Borton is a senior writer and editor with over 25 years of experience in international journalism. Mr. Borton is a former Asia Pacific correspondent for The Washington Times, director for Asia Pacific Projects for Foreign Affairs, published by the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, and has completed Asia Pacific special projects for Foreign Policy.

Mr. Borton is also the former editor-in-chief of Venture Japan, and New Asia Review and is a past research fellow at the Hong Kong-America Center at Chinese University, with expertise in media developments and environmental policy in the Asia Pacific region. As an independent researched, he is writing on South China Sea issues. Borton edited Venture Japan (Probus 1992) and The South China Sea: Challenges and Promises (Xlibris 2015). He is also an experienced university lecturer and currently at work on a new book, Dispatches from the South China Sea.

Mr. Borton was a National Endowment Fellow at Yale University. He has been an active member of the President’s Circle of The Asia Society in New York City and the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong and Phnom Penh. He is a National Fellow in The Explorers Club, an American-based international mutidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research.

He holds both a B.A and a M.A  with honors in English and American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.