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Susan Shirk

Chair, 21st Century China Center, GPS, UC San Diego Research Professor, GPS, UC San Diego

Susan Shirk is one of the most influential experts working on U.S.-China relations and Chinese politics in the U.S. She is a research professor and the founding chair of the 21st Century China Center, a unique academic research center and university-based policy think tank at the School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Shirk held the Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific Relations for many years and is director emeritus of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). She is the author of many books, including most notably The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China and China: Fragile Superpower, the latter of which helped frame the policy debate on China in the U.S. and other countries. She is currently working on a new book tentatively entitled, Overreach: How China’s Domestic Politics Derailed its Peaceful Rise.

Besides her academic work, Shirk is also known for her extensive policy experience, especially in U.S.-China relations. From 1997-2000, Shirk served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia. She is the founder of, and remains active in, the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), a Track II forum for discussions of security issues among defense and foreign ministry officials and academics from the United States, Japan, China, Russia and the Koreas.

Shirk co-chairs a task force of China experts that issued its third report “China’s New Direction: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy” in Sept. 2021. She is also co-chair of the UC San Diego Forum on U.S.-China Relations, an ongoing high-level forum focused entirely on the U.S.-China relationship.