Susan Shirk

Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Program, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego


Susan Shirk is the Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California - San Diego. She is also director emeritus of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). Susan Shirk first visited China in 1971 and has been teaching, researching and engaging China diplomatically ever since.

From 1997-2000, Dr. Shirk served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia.
Dr. Shirk's publications include her books, China: Fragile Superpower; How China Opened Its Door: The Political Success of the PRC's Foreign Trade and Investment Reforms; The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China; Competitive Comrades: Career Incentives and Student Strategies in China; and her edited book, Changing Media, Changing China.

She co-chairs a task force of China experts that issued its second report “Smart Competition: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy,”  in February 2019.

Dr. Shirk also founded in 1993 and continues to lead the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), an unofficial “track-two” forum for discussions of security issues among defense and foreign ministry officials and academics from the United States, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea.

Dr. Shirk received her BA in Political Science from Mount Holyoke College, her MA in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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