Senator James Sasser has spent more than a quarter-century in public life, as a Senator from Tennessee and Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China. During his time in Beijing from 1996 to 1999, he played a pivotal role in strengthening Sino-U.S. relations, developing close working relationships with President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji and the next generation of Chinese leaders.
Prior to his appointment as ambassador by President Clinton, Sasser served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1977-1995. During his three-terms in Washington, Sasser became a leader on budgetary matters and fiscal issues, chairing the Senate Budget Committee from 1989-1995. As Chairman, Sasser pushed through fiscal reform measures which erased the federal deficit for the first time in a generation.
After leaving the Senate and before assuming his duties in Beijing, Sasser was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Harvard University (1995). He was named the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Visiting Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs during the 2000 school year.
Sasser provides strategic advice to leading US and Chinese companies, serving as a senior advisor to FedEx Corporation and a senior counselor to APCO Worldwide. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, vice-chairman of the Committee on US-China Relations, vice-chairman of the US-China Foundation, and a member of the Yale University International Advisory Board of the Culture and Civilization of China. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Honors Seminar on Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.