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 Nigata 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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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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Museum Director and Senior Vice President, Global Arts and Cultural Programs
Dr. Melissa Chiu is Director of the Asia Society Museum in New York and Senior Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for the Society's 11 centers and affiliates in the United States and Asia.
She is responsible for the exhibition program in New York and at the organization's new cultural centers in Hong Kong and Houston. She was appointed Museum Director in 2004, after joining Asia Society in 2001 as the first-ever curator of contemporary Asian and Asian American art in the United States. As a leading authority on Asian contemporary art, she has initiated a number of major initiatives at the Asia Society Museum, including the launch in 2007 of a contemporary art collection to complement the museum's renowned collection of traditional Asian art, gifted to the Society in 1978 by Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. In her role as museum director she has also organized major international first-time loan shows with the governments of China, Vietnam, Pakistan and India.
Chiu is a frequent commentator in the news media, and a go-to expert and authority on Asian contemporary art and artists. She has been a cultural commentator on PBS/Thirteen's Sunday Arts television program, where she interviewed cultural leading figures including Chuck Close, Shirin Neshat and William Kentridge. She has lectured at Harvard University, Columbia University, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and Yale University, among others. She was a Getty Research Fellow (2003-2004) and has served on grant and policy advisory committees for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Pew. She currently serves on the board of the American Association of Museums and the Museums Association of New York and has served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the lead professional organization for art museum directors in the United States.
Chiu is the author of a number of books, including Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China (2007), which focuses on the international Chinese artistic diaspora, and Chinese Contemporary Art: 7 Things You Should Know (2008). Recent titles include the first comprehensive introduction to Asian contemporary art, Asian Art Now (Random House and Thames & Hudson, 2010) and the first academic anthology, Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2010), both with Benjamin Genocchio.
Prior to joining Asia Society, Chiu was Founding Director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia (1996–2001). She earned her Ph.D in Art History and M.A. in Arts Administration in Australia.
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Vice President, Education
Anthony Jackson is Vice President for Education at Asia Society. He also leads Asia Society's Partnership for Global Learning (PGL), a national membership network of practitioners and policymakers dedicated to integrating knowledge about Asia and the world as a mainstay of American education.
Over the past six years, he has led the development of Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network, an effort within the PGL to create a network of small, effective, internationally-themed secondary schools across the country.
Before joining Asia Society, he was a Director of the Walt Disney Company's Disney Learning Partnership, where he designed and oversaw the Creative Learning Communities network of reforming elementary schools. Dr. Jackson, trained in both developmental psychology and education, is one of the nation’s leading experts on secondary school reform and adolescent development.
After a stint on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Science Fellow he became a senior staff member on the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, chaired by George Miller (D-CA). Dr. Jackson later directed the Carnegie Corporation Task Force on the Education of Young Adolescents that produced the seminal Turning Points report, which became a key blueprint for the reform of thousands of middle schools nationwide.
While at Carnegie Corporation he created and directed the Turning Points network of over 250 middle schools that operated in 15 states, as well as in Los Angeles and New York City. He also co-authored the follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, which transformed many of the design principles in the original report into concrete action steps for new and reconstituted secondary schools. Many urban districts are now using Turning Points 2000 to guide secondary school reform initiatives.
In 2004, Teachers College Press published the latest book Dr. Jackson co-authored, entitled Making the Most of Middle School: A Field Guide for Parents and Others. While at Carnegie, Dr. Jackson also directed an inter-group relations program and research network that led to the design of model inter-cultural school and community programs.
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Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Operations
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.
Mr. Nagle oversees its Centers in Asia and the US, 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.
Mr. 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, Global Programs and Executive Director, Northern California
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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