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 15,000 diplomats. He is currently the project manager for the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai – the next World’s Fair. He recently returned from Embassy New Delhi, where he served as an Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer responsible for U.S.-India exchanges, alumni outreach, and higher education cooperation. In 2018, he was elected President of the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association, the Department’s employee group for Asian Americans.
As a Foreign Service officer he has served in border posts in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and 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 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 increase 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, APAICS, Japanese American Citizen’s League Young Leader programs and an International Career Advancement Program fellow.