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Staff

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Mary Sue Bissell

Trustee, VP & Executive Director

Mary Sue Bissell came to the US-Asia Institute in 1979 and worked with co-founders Esther G. Kee and Joji Konoshima as Director of Programs and Publications from 1979-84. From 1987-90, she served as USAI’s Executive Director. While at the Institute, she sought to strengthen relations between the United States and Asia through organizing high-level conferences and policy dialogues, managing government-to-government exchange programs, and coordinating congressional staff trips to various Asian countries.

Ms. Bissell has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit management, conference planning, volunteer coordination, grant-writing, editing, strategic planning, marketing, education and fundraising. She edited conference proceedings from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th National Leadership Conferences, and a publication on U.S. immigration policy toward Asia. She also provided oversight to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange for 2.5 years. She has received numerous local, state and national awards and recognition for writing, public speaking and community service.

Ms. Bissell is a graduate of the University of South Dakota. She is married with two daughters.

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Robert Jordan

Senior Advisor, VP, International & Government Affairs

Robert F. Jordan started a 36-year diplomatic career with the U.S. Information Agency in 1956. 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 he 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.

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Madeline Clough

Director of International and Government Relations

Madeline Clough first became involved at the US-Asia Institute during the summer of 2015 as a Political Affairs intern. She has deep ties to the Institute as the niece of Trustee Lisabeth Sugahara, granddaughter of Chairman KG Sugahara, and great-granddaughter of Chairman Kaytaro Sugahara.

She is a recent graduate at Colgate University, where she studied International Relations and Asian Studies, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 2016, she spent five months in Geneva, Switzerland, taking courses, interning with the NGO Franciscan’s International and participating in the Human Rights Council. Since then, she interned with the Campaigns and Advocacy department at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and consulted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), on youth engagement.

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Nate Conrad

Rule of Law Program Assistant

Nate Conrad is a rising senior at Brown University concentrating in East Asian Studies with a focus on China. At Brown, he holds biweekly discussions on China-related issues through Let’s Talk China, a club he co-founded, which is committed to tackling challenging topics and pursuing improved understanding of all things China. He also facilitates an English language program in the Providence, Rhode Island community, and sings with Brown’s Disney A Cappella group.

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Susan Radov

Program Assistant

Susan Radov is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology and Chinese Studies. Through college, she has developed a keen interest in improving US-China relations and exploring the intersection of politics, soft power, and national identity. At Penn, she translates and gives tours in Mandarin for the Penn Museum, serves as the head of the China section for the Penn Asian Review, runs the Penn Symposium on Contemporary China, and manages the external relations of the Urban China Collective. She has also served as a delegate at the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit and a delegate at the Princeton University US-China Global Governance Forum. In her spare time, Susan enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, writing, traveling, and watching sports.

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Evan Lum

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Evan Lum is a recent graduate at the University of Virginia, where he studied Public Policy and Economics. As an undergraduate, he studied Mandarin and lived in Shanghai, China as part of a summer language program. He is particularly interested in Chinese politics and the emerging importance of US-China relations, especially with regard to trade. In the Fall, Evan will be pursuing a Master’s in Business Analytics at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

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Emily Ye

Political Affairs and Communications Program Assistant

Emily Ye is a rising senior at Brown University majoring in International Relations with a focus on China. She was born in the U.S. but grew up in Beijing. Outside of class, she helps lead the Southeast Asian Studies Initiative and Strait Talk, a non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering dialogue across the Taiwan Strait.

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Axel Catellier

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Axel Catellier is an honors Asian Humanities major at the University of California, Los Angeles where he is developing competency in East Asian culture, economics, language, and politics with a special focus on the trilateral relationship between China, Japan, and Korea. He is doing so in pursuit of a foreign policy career that will allow him to work on improving relations between the United States and these countries. At UCLA, he will be conducting departmental honors research on nationalism as a motivational force in organized protests by Korean youth. In his free time, Axel is working on a fiction novel. He speaks varying degrees of Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean.

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Doris Xu

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Doris Xu is a rising senior at the George Washington University double majoring in International Affairs and Asian Studies. Her family moved to New York when she was 15 so she is bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English. She spent two months in Tokyo, Japan in the summer of 2016, taking intensive Japanese courses at Waseda University. In 2018, she spent a semester abroad in London, England at King’s College London. At GWU, she works as a Student Ambassador for the Confucius Institute. She is also the President of GWU Global China Connection, a non-profit organization for university students and young professionals of all nationalities looking to engage China’s emergence in the world. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, dancing and yoga.

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Laurel Cunningham

Communications Program Assistant

Laurel Cunningham is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double majoring in Global Studies and Chinese. She is interested in US-Asia relations particularly in terms of foreign policy, human rights, and peace. She has taken advantage of the study abroad opportunities at UNC to further engage in her international relations interests. During summer 2017, Laurel was selected to participate in a Burch Field Seminar and traveled around the Western Balkans to learn more about democratization and peace policies. Laurel was recently named a Phillips Ambassador at UNC and spent spring 2018 abroad in Beijing, China to improve her Mandarin language skills. In her free time, Laurel likes to run, visit art museums, and spend time outside.