Matthew Asada is a fourth generation Japanese-American and third generation public servant from Detroit. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer in 2003. In July 2013 he was elected by his peers to a two-year term as the State Vice President of the American Foreign Service Association – the professional association and public sector union for America’s 16,000 diplomats. There he serves as the elected union official for Foreign Service employees at the Department of State negotiating their terms and conditions of employment. He is the youngest State Vice President and first Asian-American to serve in the position.
As a Foreign Service officer he has served in border posts in South Asia (Kolkata, India; Kunduz, Afghanistan; and Lahore, Pakistan) and Europe (Munich, Germany). On the German led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunduz he helped expand the opening hours and maximize trade opportunities of the new U.S.-funded $49 million Afghan-Tajik Bridge. Two years later he staffed Ambassadors Marc Grossman and the late Richard Holbrooke domestically and overseas as they sought to forge a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan.
As an American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellow with his hometown Congressman Gary Peters (MI-9) he worked to facilitate greater trade and travel through the Detroit-Windsor corridor – the world’s most important trade link.
He graduated from the London School of Economics (MSc in European politics and policy) and the University of Pennsylvania (BS in economics, BA in international studies and German). He also studied at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Humboldt University in Berlin. He speaks fluent German and rudimentary Hindi, Urdu, Dari, and Spanish. He is an alumnus of the Atlantik-Brücke, Brussels Forum, and Japanese American Citizen’s League Young Leader programs.