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Event Details

Susan Thornton, Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will deliver the 2019 Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture on Sino-American Relations in Shanghai on Wednesday, May 15 at the Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai. Now in its twelfth year, this annual lecture affords the opportunity for a frank and forthright discussion of current and potential issues between the two countries. The most recent lecture (which took place in 2017) had an audience of approximately 330.

Susan A. Thornton is a retired senior U.S. diplomat with almost 30 years of experience with the U.S. State Department in Eurasia and East Asia. She is currently a senior fellow and research scholar at the Yale University Paul Tsai China Center and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Until July 2018, Thornton was acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State and led East Asia policy making amid crises with North Korea, escalating trade tensions with China, and a fast-changing international environment. In previous State Department roles, she worked on China and Korea policy and served in leadership positions at U.S. embassies in Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus, and China. She speaks Russian and Mandarin Chinese.

The lecture is named in honor of the late A. Doak Barnett and the late Michel Oksenberg, both American scholars and policymakers of distinction whose writing and actions had a direct impact on the bilateral relationship dating back to the 1960s. The two were also leaders of the National Committee and devoted much time and effort to the work of the organization. Doak was one of the founding members and second chairman of the Committee and both gentlemen served on our board for decades.

Please note this is an invitation-only and free event, invite is non-transferable. If you have any questions about RSVP, please contact Kelly Deng at


4 PM

4:30 PM


4:30 PM

6 PM

6 PM

7 PM



  • Susan Thornton A. (Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs)

    Susan Thornton A.

    Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

    Read Bio


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