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Mary Sue Bissell

PRESIDENT, TRUSTEE

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, and returned to serve as Vice President and Executive Director from 2001-2018. 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 US immigration policy toward Asia. She also provided oversight to the US-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.


Nathaniel Conrad

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Nathaniel Conrad graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 2019 with a degree in East Asian Studies with honors. While at Brown, he organized campus-wide forums and discussions on issues pertaining to China through Let’s Talk China, a club he co-founded and later ran as its president. He has done research on such topics as future energy developments, IoT and 5G technology, the One Belt One Road Initiative, and Chinese political media, and wrote his senior thesis on the challenges of intercultural contact between Chinese and foreign university students. In his spare time he is also a coach for the crew team at his alma mater, T.C. Williams High School.


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Jae Chang

PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Jae Chang is a third-year undergraduate student at Cornell University, pursuing a double major in Government and China & Asia-Pacific Studies. Jae’s main academic interests are US foreign policy towards China and the trilateral alliance system with South Korea and Japan. On campus, Jae is involved in writing and research organizations. He is a foreign policy analyst for the Roosevelt Institute, a student-led think tank, and serves as an editor for The Cornell Diplomat Magazine. He is fluent in Korean and currently studying Mandarin.


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Shaobin Zheng

PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Shaobin Zheng is a recent graduate of Boston University, double-majoring in History and International Relations. His concentrations include the Sino-US relations, China Mainland-Taiwan issues, East Asian strategic studies, and so on. He has served as Vice-President of Asian Studies Initiative of BU and worked for BU Center for the Study of Asia, promoting Asian culture and history and facilitating academic debates within BU community. After graduation, he interned in NYS Attorney General’s Office Brooklyn Regional Office, learning about American domestic affairs and government-individual interaction.