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Sharon Yanagi

Associate Director, Asia Programs


Sharon Yanagi is the Associate Director of Asia Programs, and is responsible for the operations and administration of the school’s Japan, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia programs. She has extensive program management experience and a background in Asia policy from a career working in government and for international policy and business organizations.
She served in leadership roles for over ten years in government under five U.S. Secretaries of Commerce, advising on trade policies across the Asia region, and export control reforms and Congressional, press and industry relations. Most recently, she was Chief of Staff at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, where she directed Congressional and press relations, implemented the Under Secretary’s engagement with U.S. industry and foreign governments, and was part of a senior management team overseeing Bureau performance during a period of significant policy and organizational change. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia and the Pacific at the International Trade Administration, where she was policy lead for trade promotion, and market access issues for the countries of Asia, advised the Commerce Secretary on APEC, and was part of the U.S. government negotiating team launching the Singapore FTA talks.

She has also served in a range of business and policy organizations, including as Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Council, Deputy Director of the Brookings Institution’s East Asia Policy Studies Center, Associate Director for the U.S. office of the Japanese business organization Nippon Keidanren, Public Affairs Director at the Tokyo-based American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and as a consultant to the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.  She has an MA in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a BA from the Colorado College.