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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

Program Director

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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Lanpiao Chao

Political Affairs and Communication Program Assistant

Lanpiao Chao graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He edits the cathaysreview.com, a China policy commentary online journal, and occasionally writes for the Initium Media in Hong Kong. The topics he serves are contemporary and historical issues in China and Korea. Lanpiao also organises weekly discussion salon among young students in Washington DC. He is learning Korean.

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Lars Skagerlind

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Lars Jonas Skagerlind is a junior at Hamilton College with a double concentration in World Politics and Chinese. Born in Australia but raised in the United States, Lars has spent time living and working in Beijing where he developed a keen interest in US-Asia relations and advanced his knowledge of Chinese language and culture. He hopes to further this interest in the future as he hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in international law.

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Fanny Kabisch

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Fanny Kabisch is a second-year graduate student at Humboldt University, Free University Berlin and University of Potsdam, Germany, majoring in International Relations. She is spending fall 2018 at the American University School of International Service as a graduate exchange student. Since her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Chinese Studies – during which she spent a year studying in Beijing – she has pursued a regional focus on Northeast Asia and especially China. She speaks German, Mandarin Chinese, and some French.