Ambassador J. Stapleton (Stape) Roy is a Distinguished Scholar and Founding Director Emeritus 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 China and spent much of his youth there during the upheavals of World War II and the communist revolution, where he watched the battle for Shanghai from the roof of the Shanghai American School. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service immediately after graduating from Princeton in 1956, retiring 45 years later with the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the service. In 1978 he participated in the secret negotiations that led to the establishment of U.S.-PRC diplomatic relations. During a career focused on East Asia and the Soviet Union, Ambassador Roy’s ambassadorial assignments included Singapore, China, and Indonesia. His final post with the State Department was as Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. On retirement he joined Kissinger Associates, Inc., a strategic consulting firm, before joining the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in September 2008 to head the newly created Kissinger Institute. In 2001 he received Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Public Service.


B.A., History, Princeton University; post-graduate study of Mongolian language, history, and culture, University of Washington; U.S. Army Russian Institute, Garmisch-Partenkirchen; distinguished graduate, National War College

Major Publications:

  • “Letter from Jakarta,” SAIS Review: A Journal of International Affairs, vol. 17(2), Summer/Fall 1997
  • “Deng’s Reform Movement and the West: An American Perspective,” China in the Era of Deng Xiaoping: A Decade of Reform, eds. Michael Yingmao Kau and Susan H. Marsh (M.E. Sharpe, 1993)
  • “Political and Economic Prospects for East Asia in the 1990s and Beyond,” The Pacific in the 1990s: Economic and Strategic Change, ed. Janos Radvanyi (University Press of America, 1990)
  • “The Internal Logic of China’s Political Development,” The Globalist, June 3, 2011
  • Review of “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China” by Ezra Vogel, The Wilson Quarterly (Autumn 2011).