Tuesday, December 18, 2018 | 5:00 PM EST - 7:00 PM EST

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP |, New York, NY

Following decades of enmity, on December 15, 1978, the United States and China announced the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries as of January 1, 1979. Diplomatic rapprochement offered hope that the countries would be able to look beyond their differences to cooperate on the global stage.

On December 18, 2018, the National Committee convened a panel representing the diverse fields of business, diplomacy, arts and culture, and academic exchange to reflect on where the bilateral relationship was 40 years ago, is today, and may be headed in the future.  

Cathy Barbash

Cathy Barbash is a specialist in cultural diplomacy and creative industry development and an independent producer, working primarily with the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba. Barbash has spent over 35 years managing and consulting to organizations including The Philadelphia Orchestra, the United States Department of State, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, Arts Midwest, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Juilliard School, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, and the China National Centre for the Performing Arts. She was the lead architect of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s current China tour/residency project. Since normalization of United States-Cuba relations, she has worked with La Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, Casa de las Américas, and the Festival Jazz Plaza Havana.

A graduate of Harvard University, Barbash is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. She received the 2018 Patrick Hayes Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts in recognition of her transformative leadership in the performing arts, and a 2015 Silver Magnolia Award from the Shanghai government in recognition of her longtime contributions to the economic and social development of the city.

Chas W. Freeman, Jr.

Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He is the former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (1993–1994), ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1989–1992), principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs (1986–1989), and chargé d’affaires in Bangkok (1984–1986) and Beijing (1981–1984). He served as vice chair of the Atlantic Council (1996-2008), co-chair of the United States China Policy Foundation (1996–2009), and president of the Middle East Policy Council (1997–2009).

He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon’s path-breaking 1972 visit to Beijing, the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica article on diplomacy, and the author of America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle EastInteresting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of PrestigeAmerica’s Misadventures in the Middle EastThe Diplomat’s Dictionary; and Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy.

Maurice R. Greenberg

Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg is chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. Mr. Greenberg retired as chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG) in March 2005. AIG was created by C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. Under his leadership, AIG became the largest insurance and financial services company in the world.

He serves on the President’s Council on International Activities of Yale University and is honorary vice chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the past chairman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is active on the boards of many other civic and charitable organizations working in the United States and Asia.

In 1990, Mr. Greenberg was appointed by Mr. Zhu Rongji, then mayor of Shanghai, to be the first chairman of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council for the mayor of Shanghai. In 1994, Mr. Greenberg was appointed senior economic advisor to the Beijing Municipal Government. He was awarded “Honorary Citizen of Shanghai” in 1997. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management, the International Advisory Council of the China Development Research Foundation, and the China Development Bank.

On June 6, 2014, at the 70th Anniversary celebration of D-Day at the Statue of Liberty in New York, Mr. Greenberg was awarded the French Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur for his service during World War II. He is also the recipient of The Bronze Star Medal from the United States. In addition, on November 9, 2015, Mr. Greenberg received the insignia of Commandeur de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur recognizing his leadership and contributions as chairman of AIG.

Mr. Greenberg received his pre-law certificate from the University of Miami and an LL.B from New York Law School in 1950 and has been granted honorary degrees from a number of universities. Mr. Greenberg is married and has four children.

David M. Lampton

David M. Lampton is Hyman Professor and director of China Studies Emeritus at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he currently is senior fellow at SAIS’ Foreign Policy Institute. He will be an Oksenberg-Rohlen fellow and research scholar at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific Research Center beginning in January 2019. Having started his academic career at the Ohio State University, Dr. Lampton is chairman of the Asia Foundation, former president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and former Dean of Faculty at SAIS. He now serves as a director of the National Committee. He is the author of Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989-2000 (2001); The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds (2008); and, The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy (editor, Stanford University Press, 2001).

He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University where, as an undergraduate student, he was a fireman. Dr. Lampton has an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies. His newest book, Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping, was published in January 2014 and will be reissued in paperback with a new preface.