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Mary Sue Bissell


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.

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Robert Jordan


Robert F. Jordan started a 36-year diplomatic career with the US Information Agency (USIA) 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 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 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 US presidents. Following his 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 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.


Madeline Clough


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 US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), on youth engagement.

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Jacob Hafey

Director, Rule of Law Program

Jacob Hafey began his work at the US-Asia Institute in 2017 as a Political Affairs and Rule of Law Program intern. He is currently a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) candidate at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University focusing on international negotiation and conflict resolution as well as Pacific Asian studies. He is a recent graduate of Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in International Relations and Chinese. Previously, Jacob has conducted research on automated investment services at State Street Corporation in Hangzhou and has provided commentary on US-China relations in publications such as US-China Focus. Jacob has a keen interest in Chinese history, politics, and culture, furthered by his research on topics ranging from intellectual property rights to the development of the rule of law in the PRC. In his spare time, he writes and performs sketch comedy and enjoys listening to and performing American classical piano.

Nate Conrad


Nate Conrad is a recent graduate of Brown University concentrating in East Asian Studies with a focus on China. At Brown, he organized campus-wide lectures and 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 facilitated an English language program in the Providence, Rhode Island community, sang A Cappella, and did research in contemplative and intercultural contact studies.


Vivien Su

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Vivien Su is a third-year undergraduate student at Yale-NUS College, currently pursuing a major in Urban Studies and a minor in Anthropology. Although Vivien holds citizenship in Singapore, she lived in Shanghai, China for more than fifteen years, an experience that kindled an interest to study urban development in cities of the Global South, specifically through an anthropological lens. At Yale-NUS, Vivien is the founder and former President of the first international chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, which is a non-partisan, student-led, public policy think tank that provides a platform for undergraduate students to generate and implement progressive policy ideas. She is also fluent in Chinese and Spanish.


Graham Dowd


Graham Dowd is a third-year undergraduate student at Colgate University, where he is pursuing a major in International Relations, as well as minors in Asian Studies and History. He has  extensive non-profit work experience through his time at New HYTEs non-profit organization, as well as through his position at his college’s Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education. He also has fostered range of journalistic experience from three years as a head editor for his school’s newspapers.

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Vieno James


Vieno James is an artist and student of international relations based in New York City, and a political affairs intern at the US-Asia Institute in Washington, D.C.. Vieno is currently enrolled in the Visual Arts MFA Program at Rutgers University with a fellowship at the Mason Gross School of Art. He received his bachelors from the School of Visual Art (SVA). While completing his BFA at the SVA, he became a recipient of the competitive C.H. Rhodes Scholarship and the Fine Arts Special Department Grant. Vieno has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has completed residency programs and research projects in Japan, Egypt, Kuwait, Italy, Hawaii, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Easter Island. He has given public artist talks in New York, Georgia, and Japan. And, has been featured by national and international media outlets including CBS,, and Quiet Lunch Magazine. Complementary to his studying of art, culture and history, and his travels around the world, Vieno studies International Relations online. While continuing forward with his career in the arts, he plans to get a second masters in International Relations, and become a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service.  


Nico Han


Nico Han finished her B.A. in International Affairs at George Washington University with summa cum laude, during which she exchanged at Waseda University and London School of Economics. Nico is the Summit Director of Global China Connection, the world's largest student-run non-profit organization. She worked as research assistant at Wilson Center and journalist in D.C. Her Senior Thesis focuses on women's participation in Chinese civic engagement. Nico presented her thesis at the Association of Asian Studies as the youngest scholar among 200 presenters at the 2019 AAS conference.


Isabelle Belleza

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Isabelle Belleza is a third-year undergraduate student at Brown University majoring in Public Policy, with interests in global development policy. At Brown, she is involved with various Southeast Asian groups, which has fostered her interest in US relations with Southeast Asian countries. She currently co-directs the Southeast Asian Studies Initiative, a student-led initiative campaigning the University for increased academic representation of Southeast Asia and its diasporas. 

Temiloluwa “Temi” Adeyemi

Political Affairs Program Assistant

Temiloluwa “Temi”  Adeyemi is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of South Dakota, majoring in political science. Temiloluwa is Nigerian by nationality, and appreciates finding opportunities connected to the Korean Peninsula and East Asia. She has gained a variety of journalistic experiences from her college’s newspaper and television station. She speaks Korean and is currently learning Japanese.