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Jason is currently American Co-Director of the Hopkins–Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He has over two decades of experience with China, including over eight years living in China. His work has spanned the worlds of education, for-profit business, and non-profit organizations. Jason is deeply grounded in Chinese culture through a rare combination of blue chip education, language mastery, in-country experience, and scholarly research. He is known for his uncanny ability to teach, and to find practical uses for theoretical concepts. Jason is committed to using his talents to foster understanding and successful collaboration between people in the U.S. and in China.

From childhood Jason has had a deep connection to China. He grew up hearing stories from his grandparents about “the Shanghai years”: the nearly two decades they called Shanghai home. Stateless Jews from the USSR (grandfather) and Iraq (grandmother), in the 1930s they settled in Shanghai, one of the few havens for Jews at the time. Jason’s father Greg, born in 1939, bore witness to both the Japanese occupation and the Communist revolution, before emigrating to San Francisco in 1950.

Childhood trips from his hometown of Missoula, Montana, to San Francisco’s Chinatown, continued to spark in Jason a fascination with all things Chinese, especially the language. During his freshman year at Harvard, Jason chose East Asian Studies as his major, and never looked back. He attained a mastery of pronunciation rarely found in non-native speakers, so much so that to this day he is often mistaken as a native speaker over the phone.

In 1991, a year after graduating from college, and having signed on with Princeton-in-Asia, Jason arrived in Qiqihar (chee-chee-HAR), a medium-sized industrial city in China’s far Northeast, to teach English. One of only four Americans in the city, Jason struggled to make sense of the profoundly disorienting world in which he found himself. Though he didn’t know it at the time, his experiences that year planted the seeds of his passion for intercultural communication: while wrestling with intercultural issues is inevitable, and ultimately beneficial, Jason decided that it didn’t have to be so painful. Every person traveling abroad should have at least some exposure to intercultural education.

Jason continued his own intercultural explorations the next year, at the opposite end of the country: the bustling metropolis of Guangzhou, a.k.a. Canton, in the far South, near Hong Kong. He returned to the U.S. in fall of 1993 to earn an M.A in East Asian Studies from Stanford University. That year he met his eventual wife, M. Colette Plum, who shares his passion for China. Over the next decade, as they each pursued Ph.D. degrees — Colette in Chinese history at Stanford, Jason in linguistics at U.C. Berkeley — they frequently traveled to China together, sometimes for a few weeks to co-lead experiential education programs for American high school students, sometimes for a year at a time to pursue academic work.

In 2002, while living in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Colette and Jason became parents, adopting Mariette, who was born in nearby Chongqing. After a year and a half back in San Francisco, during which Jason finished his Ph.D., they returned to China, this time to Beijing, where Jason had been hired as inaugural director of Stanford’s Overseas Studies Program, based at Peking University. In 2005 they adopted their second daughter, Francesca, born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province.

For three years Jason built the Stanford program, until he decided to move into the business world. He was hired by Gap International, a consulting firm based near Philadelphia. There he led a team of linguists charged with investigating and innovating methods of using language to improve business performance. He also trained as a consultant, and had the opportunity to coach executives.

After a year and a half at Gap International, Jason left and began building a business as an intercultural consultant. In November, 2009, he was offered a position as Vice President, Communications & Marketing at Orchestrall, Inc., which was an extraordinary opportunity for Jason to apply his skills to connecting markets across the Pacific. Jason is a frequent speaker at organizations interested in learning more about Chinese culture from an American perspective.

View Jason’s LinkedIn profile here.