In 1969, then-foreign service officer Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. began Mandarin language training at the State Department, so beginning the Freeman family’s nearly fifty year history of closely shaping U.S.-China relations. Ambassador Freeman would go on to play a key role establishing and maintaining formal relations between the United States and the People’s Republic, serving as President Nixon’s interpreter in 1972 and then Chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Beijing from 1981 to 1984.
In addition to his lengthy diplomatic credentials, Chas W. Freeman, Jr. also raised three children, including two renowned China experts in their own right. Professor Carla Freeman is associate research professor of China Studies and Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Charles Freeman III is the senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former assistant U.S. trade representative for China affairs.
Young China Watchers – Washington, DC welcomes you to join us for a conversation on the past fifty years of U.S.-China relations with these three distinguished experts. As contemporary relations reach an uncertain inflection point, drawing on the lessons of history becomes increasingly essential. This event aims to educate by offering a nuanced appreciation for that history from three people who have lived it in a uniquely personal fashion and applied their insights to shaping policy in distinct ways.
Tickets can be purchased with the eventbrite link for $8. They are sold at cost and include entry, pizza and refreshments.
Young China Watchers – Washington, DC, events strictly abide by Chatham House Rules to promote a more honest and frank discussion. We thank you in advance for respectfully refraining from attributing any remarks.
We invite Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Carla Freeman (Director, Foreign Policy institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS) and Charles Freeman III (Senior Vice President for Asia at U.S. Chamber of Commerce) to discuss.
Ambassador Freeman is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94, earning the highest public service awards of the Department of Defense for his roles in designing a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system and in re-establishing defense and military relations with China. He served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm). He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the historic U.S. mediation of Namibian independence from South Africa and Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr. served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in the American embassies at both Bangkok (1984-1986) and Beijing (1981-1984). He was Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1979-1981. He was the principal American interpreter during the late President Nixon’s path-breaking visit to China in 1972. In addition to his Middle Eastern, African, East Asian and European diplomatic experience, he served in India.
Carla Freeman directs the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute and is concurrently associate research professor in China Studies. She conducts research on Chinese foreign and domestic policy with a current focus on regional dynamics, including China and its periphery, nontraditional security, and China’s role in international organizations. Her career has included leadership as an Asian analyst for a political risk consultancy, directing the program in civil society and community sustainability at The Johnson Foundation, and various academic positions.
Professor Freeman received a PhD in International relations and Asian Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS, where she also completed a master’s in international economics and China Studies. She completed her BA in history and Southeast Asian studies with honors at Yale University and earned a certificate in political studies with honors from Sciences Po in Paris. Her current research is on China and the global commons, China’s foreign policy toward its neighbors, and China’s and nontraditional security.
Charles Freeman III
Charles Freeman III is senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is one of the foremost international authorities on Chinese economy and trade and has helped companies navigate complex markets in the Asia-Pacific for 25 years. His career includes senior stints in government, business, law and academia, with a heavy focus on China, giving him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities in the world’s largest country.
In government, Freeman was assistant U.S. trade representative for China affairs and legislative counsel in the U.S. Senate. After leaving government, Freeman consulted on Chinese and other Asia-focused business and policy matters for some of the world’s leading companies, and served as PepsiCo’s vice president for global public policy and government affairs for Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition, Freeman was chair of China studies at Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
He is on the board of directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and Harding Loevner Funds, an internationally focused mutual fund. He is also senior nonresident fellow with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and a senior adviser to CSIS.