Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch is the first Asian American to hold such rank in U.S. history. She has had an extensive career in international affairs and government service, beginning in 1964 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia, and culminating as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal in 1989. From 1981 to 1988, Ambassador Bloch served at the U.S. Agency for International Development as Assistant Administrator of Food for Peace and Voluntary Assistance and as Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Near East, positions appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. She also was the Chief Minority Counsel to a Senate Select Committee; a Senate professional staff member; the Deputy Director of the Office of African Affairs at the U.S. Information Agency; a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; and an Associate of the U.S.-Japan Relations Program of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard.
After 25 years in government service, Ambassador Bloch moved to the corporate sector in 1993, becoming Group Executive Vice President at the Bank of America, where she created the Corporate Relations Department, heading the bank’s Public Relations, Government Affairs, and Public Policy operations. From 1996 to 1998, Ambassador Bloch moved into philanthropy, serving as President and CEO of the United States-Japan Foundation, a private grant making institution, with $100 million in assets. Beginning in 1998, Ambassador Bloch shifted her focus to China, first becoming Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Relations and Executive Vice Chairman of the American Studies Center at Peking University, and subsequently affiliating with Fudan University in Shanghai, as well as the University of Maryland as Ambassador-in-Residence at the Institute for Global Chinese Affairs.
A native of China who came to the U.S. at age nine, Ambassador Bloch grew up in San Francisco and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and a master’s degree in Government and East Asia Regional Studies from Harvard University in 1967. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Northeastern University in 1986.