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J. Stapleton Roy

Director, Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy retired from the Foreign Service in January 2001 after a career spanning 45 years with the U.S. Department of State. A fluent Chinese speaker, Mr. Roy spent much of his career in East Asia, where his assignments included Bangkok (twice), Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing (twice), Singapore and Jakarta.

Ambassador Roy also specialized in Soviet affairs and served in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. Before taking up Russian studies, he was one of the first two Foreign Service Officers to study Mongolian. Mr. Roy rose to become a three-time ambassador, serving as the top U.S. envoy in Singapore (1984-86), the People’s Republic of China (1991-95) and Indonesia (1996-99).

In 1996 he was promoted to the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service. Ambassador’s Roy’s final post with the State Department was as Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. In 2001 he received Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Public Service.

In January 2001 Ambassador Roy joined Kissinger Associates, Inc., a strategic consulting firm, rising to become vice chairman of the firm. In 2008, Ambassador Roy was named director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Roy was born in Nanjing, China of American missionary parents. In 1956, he graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where he majored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Articles by J. Stapleton Roy

The Internal Logic of China’s Political Development

Why is positive political change in China less likely to come from outside pressure than from continued economic growth?

June 3, 2011