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Senior Advisors

Anthony Cordesman

Senior Advisor



Dr. Anthony CORDESMAN is a senior advisor with the US-Asia Institute. He holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS.. He has led a net assessment of the Indian Ocean Region (now in publication), national missile defense, asymmetric warfare and weapons of mass destruction, critical infrastructure protection, and Chinese military modernization. He 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. Professor 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 n 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


Bates Gill

Senior Advisor



Dr. Bates Gill is a Senior Advisor to the US-Asia Institute. He is currently director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Dr. Gill was the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. from 2002-2007. He 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, D.C. Prior to that position, he directed East Asia programs at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute, Monterey, California and at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and formerly held the Fei Yiming Chair in Comparative Politics at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Chinese and American Studies, Nanjing, China. A specialist in East Asian foreign policy and politics, his research focuses primarily on Northeast Asian political and security issues, especially with regard to China. His current projects include research on the divergence in strategic outlook which increasingly characterizes U.S.-China relations, on Chinese nuclear weapons modernization, and on the challenge of HIV/AIDS in China. He is the author of three books: Contrasting Visions: U.S., China, and World Order (Brookings Institution Press, forthcoming), China's Arms Acquisitions from Abroad: A Quest for "Superb and Secret Weapons" (Oxford University Press, 1995)(with Taeho Kim) and Chinese Arms Transfers (Praeger, 1992). He has also co-edited two other books entitled, Arms, Transparency, and Security in Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press, 1997) and Weathering the Storm: Taiwan, Its Neighbors, and the Asian Financial Crisis (Brookings Institution Press, 2000). He has recently published articles on the U.S.-China relationship in such journals as Foreign Affairs and National Interest, co-prepared a report on China's strategic rocket forces for the U.S. National Intelligence Council, and completed a major study on Chinese arms trade and export controls. Other recent works appear in Survival, Washington Post, Washington Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, China Quarterly and Far Eastern Economic Review. Among his professional affiliations, Dr. Gill serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the American Association for Chinese Studies and the Feris Foundation of America. He is also on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Contemporary China and the Washington Journal of Modern China. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute of Strategic Studies and an Overseas Research Fellow with the Korean Institute for Defense Analyses, Seoul, Korea. Dr. Gill received his Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, USA. He has lived more than two years in China and Taiwan, and more than five years in Europe (France, Sweden, Switzerland). A frequent visitor to East Asia, Dr. Gill speaks, reads, and writes in Chinese, English, and French. He and his wife, Dr. Sarah Palmer, a virologist, reside in Maryland.


Robert Jordan

Senior Advisor, VP, Int'l & Go



Robert F. Jordan was born and raised in Framingham, Massachusetts. He served overseas in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947 and then attended the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1951. From 1951 to 1956 he was a high school teacher of Algebra and Spanish. He also attended Boston College Graduate School and the University of Mexico in Mexico City. In 1956 he started a 36-year diplomatic career with the U.S. Information Agency, serving 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 U.S. government press and cultural exchange programs. He learned four foreign languages. He 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. He 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 chosen several times to organize press facilities for the White House Press Corps for overseas visits of U.S. presidents. Following retirement in 1992 he was called back by both USIA and the Department of State to conduct policy inspections of some 20 embassies worldwide. In 1994-95 he was a senior advisor to the US-Asia Institute where he prepared a brochure on the Institute's history and also accompanied congressional staff delegations to China and Singapore. From 1995 to 2001 he worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency handling the Spanish-speaking media on disasters around the country.


Michael Lai

Senior Advisor



W. Michael Lai is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Orthpaedic Bioengineering at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D in Engineering Mechanics in 1962 from the University of Michigan. 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. The triphasic model considers the tissue as consisting of three phases: a solid phase, a fluid phase and an ionic phase with two ionic species. The model has been used to study the mechanical and the electromechanical behavior of the tissue including the signal transduction problems in chondrocytes . He 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).


Mary Purdy

Senior Advisor



Mrs. Purdy is a Senior Advisor to the US-Asia Institute. She is a Lead Associate at Booz I Allen I Hamilton, a leading provider of management and technology consulting services to the US government in defense, intelligence, and civil markets. Mrs. Purdy’s clients include several Department of Defense Headquarters level organizations in cyberspace and Information Technology (IT). In 2010 she 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, Mrs. 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 U.S. 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. Mrs. Purdy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (with honors), Northwest Missouri State University. She holds a Master of Arts, 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.


Alejandro Reyes

Senior Advisor



Visiting Associate Professor since 2007. He serves as a Senior Advisor to the US-Asia Institute in Washington, DC. In 2008, he was the Program Manager for Asia at the Clinton Global Initiative. From 2006-7, Al was a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a think tank in Washington, DC. In 2005-6, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University in New York, and in the year before was a Visiting Scholar at the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Athens, OH, in the U.S. In 2002, he was a Senior Policy Adviser to the Canadian Foreign Minister on G8 issues and foreign policy development, and was a member of the Canadian delegation to the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting. From 1988 to 2001, Al worked as a journalist at Asiaweek, part of the Time Warner group, where he was the magazine's Southeast Asian Business Correspondent, Singapore and Hong Kong Bureau Chief, Senior Correspondent for Regional Affairs, and Editor-at-Large. Al has written for various publications including The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and has appeared on CNN, CNBC and Al Jazeera as a commentator on Asian affairs. He has authored two books, including an investment guide to Asian markets. He edited a book on the SARS virus outbreak and another on banking in Asia that was written by McKinsey & Co. consultants, both published in 2003. He has completed a book on the movement against globalization. Al was educated at Harvard University and Oxford University. In 2000, Queens University of Charlotte, NC, awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for achievement in journalism and his support of international cultural exchange and education.


J. Matthew Szymanski

Senior Advisor



J. Matthew Szymanski is a senior advisor to the US-Asia Institute. Since 2007, he has been vice president for corporate relations at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) in Shanghai, China. Previously, Mr. Szymanski practiced law and served in government in the Washington, D.C. area for 17 years. From 2002-2007, he served the U.S. Congress as chief of staff for both the House Small Business Committee and the U.S.-China Interparliamentary Exchange. In the latter role, he helped manage U.S.-China relations by organizing 20 U.S. delegations to China and hosting many Chinese delegations in the United States. At SMIC, Mr. Szymanski continues to promote U.S.-China relations through regular hosting of U.S. and Chinese delegations. In his spare time, he lectures on U.S.-China law and relations at East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, and Peking University School of Transnational Law. From 2009-2011, he 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 2008, Mr. Szymanski established the US-Asia Institute Szymanski Rule of Law Program, which hosts small groups of his Chinese law students in Washington, D.C. To date, 24 students have attended 609 scheduled events and met 732 American hosts, including 42 senators, 43 representatives, 372 congressional staff, 106 administration officials, 29 judges, 6 court staff, and 134 private sector participants. Mr. Szymanski arranged the meeting schedules and accompanied the students whenever possible. For more details visit: http://usasiainstitute.org/programs/j-matthew-szymanski-rule-of-law-program He also has been developing a separate lawyer exchange program with a Shanghai district government. In 2010, Mr. Szymanski received Shanghai’s Leading Professional award. He lives with his family on SMIC’s Shanghai campus and has visited every province-level region of China.


Peggy Carnes

Program Advisor



Coming from a family with a history of military service allowed Peggy Carnes the experience to live abroad in both the East and the West. These overseas assignments included: Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and Denmark. In preparation for a diplomatic assignment in Denmark, she attended the Defense Attache' School and the State Department Foreign Service Language Institute. In addition she has multiple degrees in Education, Business and Computer Science, which led to varied professional experiences in both business and academics. Currently residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she has served on both civic and education boards, she lends support to international military families from around the world on temporary assignment to the United States. She continues to use the skills she has developed from her multicultural experiences to assist the US-Asia Institute in their cultural exchanges. She is also an avid tennis player and rower.