Dr. George Packard

President of the United States-Japan Foundation

Blundering in Asia: Can the U.S. and Japan Ever Learn?

About the Speaker

George R. Packard has been President of the United States-Japan Foundation since July 1998.  A private and independent grant-making organization with $85 million in assets, the Foundation is committed to promoting stronger ties between the U.S. and Japan through greater mutual knowledge and understanding, to increasing broad awareness of important public policy issues, and to addressing common concerns in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Packard is also Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, where he offers a graduate seminar on US-Japan Relations from Pearl Harbor to the Present.  His latest book, Edwin O. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan, was published by Columbia University Press in April 2010. Dr. Packard is also Chairman of the Advisory Board at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

Dr. Packard was Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 1979 to 1993 where he founded the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute, the SAIS Review, the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China.  He also served as visiting President of the International University of Japan in Niigata from 1994-1998.

 Earlier in his career, Dr. Packard was an intelligence officer and later a special assistant to US Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer in Tokyo.  He has also worked extensively in journalism, first as a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek, and then as White House correspondent and then executive editor of the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin.  His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs and elsewhere. He was also television anchor of a weekly news analysis program from Philadelphia, This Week in Review.

Dr. Packard received from the Japanese Government the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Stars in November 2007 for his service in strengthening friendship and understanding between the US and Japan.

Dr. Packard received his BA (magna cum laude) from Princeton University and his MA and Ph.D. from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He has written or edited eight books and sits on several boards.  He lives with his wife, Lavinia, and their Labrador Retriever, Lizzie, in Washington, DC.