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.
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.
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.
Allyson Camino is a senior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a dual degree in Political Science—Public Service and Chinese. She began studying Mandarin Chinese during her sophomore year, and, since then, she has developed a strong interest in East Asian and Southeast Asian languages and cultures. Her experience of assisting students as an Academic Peer Advisor for the Chinese Department and in various intermediary roles within the City of Sacramento led her to aspire for a career in advocacy. Upon graduation, Allyson plans to pursue law school and to utilize her experiences from working with diverse communities and the knowledge of Asian languages in order to advocate for marginalized communities as an attorney or as a foreign service officer.
Michelle Chun is pursuing a dual degree in English and communication studies with a minor in Chinese at The University of Texas at Austin. Interested in foreign relations between the US and Asia, Michelle aspires to conduct research for and serve as a consultant on human rights and rule of law projects in Asia. Her previous experiences include working at a global communications consulting firm in Shanghai, China while simultaneously taking coursework in Chinese and politics/governance. Upon graduation, Michelle hopes to pursue graduate school to strengthen her knowledge on the intersections of international law and East Asian histories and cultures.
James Llewellyn is a senior at Wake Forest University where he is pursuing a major in Politics and International Affairs, and minors in Middle East and South Asia Studies, and Arabic. He has grounded his study of politics and language in a variety of experiences abroad, studying and conducting research in countries such as Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Morocco, India, Austria, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Upon graduation, James aspires to enroll in a political science doctoral program and conduct research on the political processes and international relations of Southeast Asian states.
John Payne is a junior at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he majors in China and Asia Pacific Studies. His academic interests include the impact of market forces on Chinese state-owned enterprises since the Reform Era as well as the centralization of state bureaucracies. John has studied Mandarin Chinese for seven years, and he has drafted a wide range of Chinese language literature. His analysis on China-related topics can be found in Cornell’s Business Asia Journal. Upon graduation, John plans to pursue a career in law or consulting.
Becky Wang is a senior at Gettysburg college, pursing a major in political science and a minor in education. Her hometown is Beijing, China, where her family inspired her to pursue her passion for education. Previously, she created the first international networking conference event in Beijing, inviting international directors and students. Upon graduation, Becky hopes to become a school administrator to create future international education opportunities.