Type: Seminar

Indo-Pacific Diplomacy


Ambassador Dan Shields

Date & time

Oct 28, 2019, 11:30 am-12:50 pm EDT

This opporunity is open to Ford School students, who will receive the sign up form in a separate email. A light lunch will be served.

Monday, October 28: Indo-Pacific Diplomacy:What to Look for at the November 4 East Asia Summit in Bangkok

The South China Sea. The Korean Peninsula. Trade tensions. Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the plight of displaced persons from the Rohingya community. These are among the many diplomatic issues expected to be discussed by the 18 leaders from around the Indo-Pacific Region participating in the East Asia Summit (EAS) to be held in Thailand on November 4. Retired U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shields, whose 33-year Foreign Service career in Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Washington included deep involvement in the 2013 EAS in Brunei and the 2017 EAS in the Philippines, will share personal insights, as an experienced diplomatic practitioner no longer speaking for the U.S. government, on what to expect from the 2019 EAS.

Monday, November 4: After the Bangkok East Asia Summit: Prospects for Diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific

Just as the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok concludes on November 4, Ambassador (Ret.) Shields will offer his personal views, not U.S. government policy positions, on what just happened diplomatically in Bangkok and what lies ahead for diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific Region in 2020. One of the unique things about the EAS system is the importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair/host country. Ambassador (Ret.) Shields will look at the transition from Thai chairmanship in 2019 to Vietnamese chairmanship in 2020. He will analyze what that might mean with regard to the South China Sea, trade uncertainties and other challenges that lie ahead for diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific in 2020.

About the speaker

Ambassador (Ret.) Daniel Shields consults, teaches courses and conducts simulations relating to diplomacy and U.S.-Asia relations. From 2015-18, while on detail from the U.S. State Department as the Diplomatic Advisor to the Commandant at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, he helped educate future strategic leaders on how to integrate the diplomatic, informational, military and economic (DIME) instruments of power to achieve national security objectives. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei from 2011-14, handling sensitive South China Sea-related issues in connection with Brunei’s hosting in 2013 of the various Summits involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ambassador (Ret.) Shields led two other U.S. diplomatic Missions in Southeast Asia as Chargé d’Affaires (at times when no Ambassador was in place.) In response to an urgent request from the State Department, he temporarily left the Army War College for six months in 2017 to serve as the Chargé at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, traveling to Manila to support participation by the President and Cabinet Secretaries in the ASEAN-related Summits. His other Chargé duty was for 15 months, mainly in 2009, when he led Embassy Singapore in supporting then-President Obama’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.

His early to mid-career assignments were mainly in Japan and China, including as Political Minister Counselor at Embassy Beijing from 2004-07. He speaks Japanese and Chinese. His first tour in the Foreign Service was as a Vice Consul at Embassy Manila from 1985-87, where he witnessed firsthand and reported on the People Power demonstrations and the fall of the Marcos regime.