President and CEO
Josette Sheeran is the seventh president and CEO of Asia Society. In the position, which she assumed in June 2013, she is responsible for leading and advancing the organization's work throughout the U.S. and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.
Sheeran is former Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos and Davos in China gathering of world leaders. In this position, she helped advance global initiatives and global, regional and industry agendas such as Grow Africa, which has attracted $4 billion in investment commitments to end hunger and malnutrition in Africa. She recently served at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Fisher Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy.
Prior to her tenure at the World Economic Forum, Sheeran was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006. There she was responsible for managing the world's largest humanitarian organization, leading a team of 13,000 people in more than 70 countries, and managing an annual budget of more than $3 billion — including $1 billion in Asia.
Under Sheeran's leadership, the WFP increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, and became the first global institution to include the so-called BRIC countries and the Gulf States among its top 10 donors. She put in place historic reforms of food aid, helping cut the cycle of hunger and malnutrition by purchasing nutritious food directly from developing world farmers. She also instituted emergency protocols that helped the WFP improve its ability to save lives and livelihoods in disasters and emergencies, most notably in Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Haiti and in the Horn of Africa.
Sheeran has held senior positions in the U.S. government, and in those positions she conducted high-level diplomacy with virtually every nation in Asia. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, she led new State Department initiatives which supported economic transformation and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Central Asia and with APEC and ASEAN. Earlier she served for five years as deputy U.S. trade representative, conducting negotiations across Asia, including with China, Australia, Singapore, India, Korea, and Japan.
In 2011, Forbes named Sheeran the world's 30th most powerful woman; Foreign Policy has listed her among its top 100 women on Twitter; and Sheeran's TED Talk on ending world hunger has been viewed more than one million times.
Sheeran is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on its Washington Advisory Board. She has received several honors for her leadership in the fight against hunger and malnutrition: she was awarded Japan's Niigata International Food Award; named Commandeur de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the government of France; and received Brazil's highest civilian award, the Grand Official Order of the 'Rio Branco,' from President Lula Da Silva. Sheeran was also honored by the Huffington Post with its "Game Changer" award in 2011, along with Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and economist Esther Duflo.
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President, Asia Society Policy Institute
Kevin Rudd joined the Asia Society Policy Institute as its inaugural President in January 2015. He served as Australia's 26th Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then as Foreign Minister from 2010 to 2012, before returning as Prime Minister in 2013.
As Prime Minister, Rudd led Australia's response during the Global Financial Crisis. Australia's fiscal response to the crisis was reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major advanced economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd is also internationally recognized as one of the founders of the G20, which drove the global response to the crisis and in 2009 helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into a second global depression.
As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Rudd was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit (EAS) to include both the U.S. and Russia in 2010. He also initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into a wider Asia-Pacific community to help manage deep-rooted tensions in Asia by building over time the institutions and culture of common security in Asia. On climate change, Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a mandatory 20 percent renewable energy target for Australia. Rudd launched Australia's challenge in the International Court of Justice with the objective of stopping Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. Rudd drove Australia's successful bid for its current non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and oversaw the near-doubling of Australia's foreign aid budget.
Rudd remains engaged in a range of international challenges including global economic management, the rise of China, climate change, and sustainable development. He is on the International Advisory Panel of Chatham House. He is a proficient speaker of Mandarin Chinese, a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, and the founding donor of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University. He was a co-author of the recent report of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, Resilient People, Resilient Planet, and he chairs the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Fragile States. He also remains actively engaged in Indigenous reconciliation in Australia.
Rudd recently served as Senior Fellow with Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he conducted a major research project on U.S.-China relations. Rudd is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Chatham House and Distinguished Statesman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and he was recently appointed to the Concordia Leadership Council.
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Executive Vice President
Tom Nagorski became Executive Vice President of the Asia Society following a three-decade career in journalism — having served most recently as Managing Editor for International Coverage at ABC News.
Before that he was Foreign Editor for World News Tonight, and a reporter and producer based in Russia, Germany and Thailand. Nagorski was the recipient of eight Emmy awards and the Dupont Award for excellence in international coverage, as well as a fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation. He has written for several publications and is the author of Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack.
Nagorski lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
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Vice President and Managing Director, Washington, D.C., Office
Wendy Cutler joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) as Vice President and Managing Director of the Washington D.C. Office in November 2015. In these roles, she focuses on building ASPI’s presence in Washington — strengthening its outreach as a think/do tank — and on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade and women’s empowerment in Asia.
She joins ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Most recently she served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity she was responsible for the just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan.
Ms. Cutler’s other responsibilities with USTR included bilateral trade relations with all TPP countries, U.S.-China trade relations, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, and Trade and Investment Framework Agreements with countries ranging from Pakistan to the Philippines. Ms. Cutler held a number of positions at USTR since joining the office in 1988, working on both bilateral and multilateral issues. She was the Chief U.S. Negotiator for the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement and led the U.S. trade and investment agenda in APEC. She also negotiated a wide range of bilateral agreements with Japan on such issues as telecommunications, insurance, and semiconductors. She has extensive multilateral trade experience as the U.S. negotiator for the WTO Financial Services Agreement and several Uruguay Round Agreements. Prior to joining USTR, Ms. Cutler worked on trade issues at the Commerce Department.
Ms. Cutler received her master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University. She is married and has one son.
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Vice President, Global Partnerships and Development
Christine Davies is Vice President of Global Partnerships and Development at Asia Society. In this capacity, Davies manages the team responsible for engaging with Asia Society's major stakeholders - individuals, corporations, governments, and foundations - working across our global network to create and coordinate fundraising initiatives.
Before joining Asia Society, Davies spent four years at Microsoft as a Business Development Manager and Senior Solution Specialist for Microsoft's Public Sector Services business unit. In this role, Davies was responsible for developing and evangelizing a portfolio of collaboration and accountability solutions that contributed to over $300M in annual sales of public sector IT services in the United States. Davies also contributed to the development of Microsoft's Global Public Sector Services Center of Excellence in Singapore. Prior to her time at Microsoft, Davies worked as the International Trade Specialist at the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, Thailand, advising numerous multinational companies on their investment strategies throughout Southeast Asia. She has also served as an advisor to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce.
Davies served earlier in her career as Director of Planning and Outreach to U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, working with the business community and other key constituencies to promote the global trade agenda of the United States and numerous international partners. During this period, free trade agreements were launched or concluded with the nations of Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Singapore, and the nations of Central America. Davies then served as Special Policy Assistant for International Economic and Development Issues to Mr. Zoellick when he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of State.
Davies holds an MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and a BA from the University of Maryland, College Park. She lives in Manhattan.
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Vice President, Education and Director, Center for Global Education
Dr. Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society's work in education which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship.
Jackson oversees the Asia Society Center for Global Education, a global platform for collaboratively advancing education for global competence for all. The Center's multi-faceted approach includes the International Studies Schools Network, a network of over 35 schools around the United States that systematically integrate a global focus within the curriculum; Global Learning Beyond School, which supports globalizing youth programs including afterschool and community programs; the Global Cities Education Network, a learning community of high performing Asian and North American urban school districts dedicated to solving common high priority problems of practice and policy; and China Learning Initiatives, which provide national leadership to support learning of Chinese language and culture.
Trained in both developmental psychology and education, Jackson is one of the nation's leading experts on secondary school education reform and adolescent development. Jackson directed the Carnegie Corporation's Task Force on the Education of Young Adolescents which produced the ground breaking report Turning Points: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century, and co-authored the seminal follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, considered one of the most influential books on middle school reform. His most recent work is Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World. Jackson holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.
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Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President
Don Nagle joined the Asia Society in July 2007 as Chief Financial Officer. In May 2009 his responsibilities were expanded to include administrative oversight of the Society.
Nagle oversees its Centers in Asia and the U.S., its Human Resources, IT, and planning functions, and the running of the organization's headquarters building in New York City. Additionally, he is responsible for managing the institution's financial affairs, including accounting, budgeting, forecasting, and controls.
Prior to joining Asia Society, Nagle spent most of his career at Kraft Foods, leading the financial organization for several of its businesses. During his nearly three decades with the company, he developed extensive operating experience managing financial organizations through significant business change. Over the years, Nagle has augmented his corporate experience with service on several boards, including an inner city social services agency, where he focused on improving financial infrastructure and resources. He began his career in the mid-1970s with AFS-USA, the international student exchange organization.
Nagle earned an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and holds a BA from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in Economics and International Relations.
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N. Bruce Pickering
Vice President and Senior Advisor and Executive Director, Northern California Center
Dr. N. Bruce Pickering is Vice President of Global Programs at Asia Society, overseeing cross-Center program initiatives throughout the organization's global network.
Appointed in July 2012, he is based in San Francisco, where has served as Executive Director for Northern California since 2003.
During his tenure, Pickering has overseen an expansion of Asia Society's multidisciplinary activities in the Northern California region, particularly as they reflect San Francisco's status as America's gateway to the Pacific. He has fostered the Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative, a partnership that brings together global experts from academia, government, the private sector and civil society to address urban sustainability challenges around the Pacific Rim.
Pickering has an extensive background working on Asia-related issues in the government, non-profit and academic sectors. Prior to joining Asia Society, Pickering was Director of Public Affairs and Development at the Graduate School of Journalism and Special Assistant to the Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. Before that, he was Program Director of the World Affairs Council from 1997-1999, and Executive Director of the US-Japan 21st Century Project, a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace with Japan, which was signed in San Francisco in 1951.
Pickering currently serves on the ChinaSF Advisory Board and the advisory council of USC's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBEAR).
He is a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, serving from 1981 to 1993, and specializing in Political and Arms Control issues. He was Deputy Political Counsel on the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Vienna during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the "New Europe" from 1988-1992.
Pickering holds a doctorate in History from the University of California at Berkeley and an MA in Political Science from Stanford University. He and his wife, Eileen Sheehan, have three children.
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Chief Operations Officer
Khushali Shah is the Chief Operations Officer for Asia Society. In this capacity, she ensures the smooth functioning of the Asia Society's operational infrastructure. Shah oversees human resources, information technology, data management and analysis, building and security services, events and visitor services, AsiaStore and the Garden Court Café.
She previously served as the interim Chief Operating Officer for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a nonprofit founded by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations committed to improving the lives of smallholder farmers across Africa.
From 2007 to 2013, Shah served in various capacities in the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the U.S. Department of State. As Managing Director for Regional and Global Programs she oversaw the allocation and use of the nearly $35 billion annual State Department and USAID foreign assistance budget, ensuring that U.S. funds were used effectively to meet a broad range of foreign policy and development objectives. She was previously the Chief of Staff in the Office. While in the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, Shah worked with the White House and Congress to launch new initiatives in global agriculture, expand funding for global health and support transitions in the Middle East.
Earlier in her career, Shah served as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In this role she served as the main interlocutor with other delegations and the UN on matters related to the UN's $4 billion regular budget and the $2 billion renovation of the nearly 60 year old UN Headquarters in New York. Shah also previously worked in the International Affairs Division of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and as an aide to Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (IL).
Ms. Shah earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtained her Master's in Public Management from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Boon Hui Tan
Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs, Director of Asia Society Museum in New York
Boon Hui Tan is Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs, and Director, Asia Society Museum, NY, where he leads the organisation’s global arts and cultural activities spanning visual arts, performing arts and film.
As museum director, he oversees Asia Society Museum’s acclaimed exhibition programmes and collections, including the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Traditional Asian Art and the Contemporary Art Collection of photography and new media works by Asian and Asian American artists. Prior to this, he was Assistant Chief Executive (Museum & Programs) at the National Heritage Board (NHB) in Singapore overseeing exhibitions, programmes and outreach events across the Board’s museums, institutions and divisions.
In 2015, he was Artistic Director for Singapour en France, le Festival, the largest multidisciplinary presentation of contemporary culture from Singapore and Southeast Asia in France. As a curator and programmer, his research and writing interests focuses on the contemporary artistic expressions of Southeast Asia and Asia and the remaking of traditions among artists of today. Tan is a founding board member of the International Biennial Association.
He was Director of the Singapore Art Museum from 2009 to 2013, where he led the transformation of the museum into a contemporary art institution focused on Southeast Asia and assembled the largest public collection of contemporary art from the region. He was concurrently Director of the Organising Secretariat for the Singapore Biennale 2011. He initiated the regional focus and group curating approach which has become the distinguishing feature of the Singapore Biennale 2013: If the World Changed, as well as being a co-curator and Project Director.
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