Peggy Carnes


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


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.




Rick Dearborn has served two U.S. Presidents, six U.S. Senators, a premier think tank and a major trade association on Capitol Hill for the past thirty years

From January of 2017 until mid-March of 2018, Mr. Dearborn served The President of the United States as his Deputy Chief of Staff.  Mr. Dearborn was responsible for the day-to-day operations of ~100 staff in five separate Executive Office of the President (EOP) departments

Three days after the 2016 election, President-Elect Trump tapped Vice President-elect Mike Pence to serve as Chairman of the Presidential Transition Team and asked Mr. Dearborn to serve as the Executive Director.  Daily responsibility included the direction and management of the core components of the Transition Team’s 600+ members.

Prior to leading the President’s Transition team, Mr. Dearborn had served for twelve years from 2005 until January of 2017 as Chief of Staff to then U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions.

He served Senator Sessions for a total of eighteen and a half years having been originally hired as the Senator’s Legislative Director in 1997.

In 2003, between serving as Senator Sessions’ Legislative Director and Chief of Staff, Mr. Dearborn was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Congressional Affairs, where he worked with the Senate, House and Tribal Governments on the President’s Energy agenda. 

Prior employment has included working at the National Republican Senatorial Committee for Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Don Nickles, The Heritage Foundation, where he was Director of Congressional Relations, and lobbying for the American Medical Association.  He has served in Senate Leadership Offices as well, for Senators Trent Lott and Bob Kasten on the Senate Republican Conference, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as Executive Director of the Senate Steering Committee. 

He is currently a partner at the Cypress Group, a Washington, D.C. based strategic advisory and advocacy firm that provides counsel to clients on public policy risk and opportunity, designs strategic plans around those risks and opportunities, and assists in executing on plans of action.

Mr. Dearborn graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1988.  He and his wife, Gina split their time between homes in Alexandria, VA and Birmingham, AL.


William Fylak


William Fylak is President of Chemlumina LLC, a manufacturer of fragrance raw materials and custom organic chemicals headquartered in Edison, NJ.   He is a consultant and distributor for the Hangzhou Grascent Aroma Chemical Plant in China. He received the West Lake Award from the Hangzhou Government in November 2012 given to the international entrepreneur of the year.

Prior to founding Chemlumina, Mr. Fylak worked for International Flavors and Fragrances for 20 years as a plant purchasing agent, aroma chemical salesman, Vice President and Director of Purchasing. He left International Flavors and Fragrances in 200 and with a French partner bought a company in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.  He started Chemlumina two years later. Mr. Fylak holds seven patents about composition of matter. He is a Trustee to the University of South Dakota Foundation.


Bates Gill


Dr. Bates Gill iis currently Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney and an Associate Fellow with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House, London).   He previously held positions at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, including as 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 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.  He also serves on the Board of Governors of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (Singapore) and is a member of the International Board of Advisors 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


Robert F. Jordan started a 36-year diplomatic career with the US 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 US 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 USAI’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 USAI, 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 US presidents. Following retirement in 1992, Mr. Jordan was called back by both USAI 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 US 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.


Gail Kee


Gail Kee’s role is to assist the US Asia Institute with development and other outreach efforts. As a founding member and Board Member of the 21st Century China program at University of Califormia San Diego, she has been committed for over a decade to fostering a strong base of knowledge of contemporary China and to making that knowledge readily accessible to leaders and students in the US.

Gail, a graduate of Yale College (B.S.) and Stanford Business School (MBA/PMP), worked in the systems integration sector of the high tech industry during the 1980’s.  She then  moved to real estate finance and development over the next two decades, working on projects in the mid-Atlantic region, New York and New England for various private companies.  She is now retired and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children, both adopted from China.


Michael Lai


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.


Henry (Hank) Levine


Hank Levine is a Senior Adviser with the Albright Stonebridge Group — a strategic advisory firm in Washington, DC.  As a senior member of the firm’s multimillion-dollar China practice Mr. Levine helps international firms deepen their interactions with government and non-government entities in China and resolve business issues.

Before entering the private sector Mr. Levine spent 25 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State.  In this capacity he served twice in the State Department’s Office of China Affairs, twice at the US Embassy in Beijing, and as US Consul General in Shanghai.  Following his tour in Shanghai he served for three years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the US Department of Commerce.  In that capacity he was the senior China adviser to two secretaries of Commerce and lead negotiator for the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

Mr. Levine is a member of the National Committee on US China Relations and a member of the Advisory Council of the US-China Education Trust, where he previously served as Executive Director.  He is a frequent speaker on US-China relations to business, government, and academic groups.

Mr. Levine has a B.A. in Political Science from Bucknell University.  He did graduate work in international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  He is a graduate, with distinction, from the US National War College.  He is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin).


Mary Purdy


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 US 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.

Gail Quan is a New York City-based consultant in Conference and Events Planning, Board Management, Space Planning/Relocation Services and Human Capital/Benefit Administration Services. With an extensive knowledge of the New York City non-profit business environment, Ms. Quan is experienced in all aspects of operational start-ups including establishment of policies and best practices which provide a strong foundation for strategic institutional growth. She has provided rapid response in emerging issues to effectively identify organizational needs and create affordable and workable solutions. Ms. Quan was with Seedco/Seedco Financial Services as the Secretary of the Board/Senior Vice President for Human Capital and Administration/Real Estate Operations. Prior positions include: Director of Human Resources and Administration/Real Estate Operations at HealthFirst, Director of the Executive Secretariat/Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of NYC’s Human Resources Administration (at the time, the country’s largest health and social services organization with 30,000 employees and an annual budget of over $6B) and Executive Associate to the President at MDRC. Ms. Quan was a member of the start-up teams at Seedco/Seedco Financial Services, HealthFirst and MDRC and guided these organizations through their explosive periods of growth. She attended Briarcliff College (BA in Urban Policy) and New School University (MA in Urban Studies/Policy Analysis).


J. Matthew Szymanski


J. Matthew Szymanski is a senior adviser for the US-Asia Institute and of counsel at Gammon and Grange, P.C. From 1990-2002, he practiced law and served in government in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2002-2007, he served the US Congress as chief of staff for both the House Small Business Committee and the US-China Interparliamentary Exchange. In the latter role, he helped manage US-China relations by organizing 20 US 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 US-China relations, he hosted US and Chinese delegations at work and at home and volunteered time teaching US-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 US system firsthand, observing legislative and judicial proceedings and meeting with officials from all three branches of the US Government. The 2018 program was our 11th annual. In 2015, he partnered with USAI to establish the USAI-Szymanski ROL Program for US Students. The 2018 program was our 3rd annual.