Jan Berris has been with the National Committee on United States-China Relations since 1971 – beginning as program associate, moving on to program director, and then vice president. She is responsible for overseeing all program activities of the Committee. This includes being actively involved in preparation and operations for the visits to the United States of hundreds of Chinese delegations (including the 1972 Chinese Ping Pong Team, the first PRC group to come to this country), and sending hundreds of American delegations to China (she has traveled to China over 165 times since 1973, with people and groups as diverse as a tennis team and a Supreme Court Justice). It also includes developing such ongoing flagship programs as the Public Intellectuals Program, U.S. Foreign Policy Colloquium, Young Leaders Forum, and the Committee’s Track II projects. At the request of the State Department, she coordinated Chinese press activities during Premier Deng Xiaoping’s February 1979 visit to the United States, and has been the lead for the Committee’s hosting of major welcoming events for all of the senior-most Chinese leaders.
Prior to her work at the Committee, Ms. Berris was a foreign service officer – stationed at the American Consulate in Hong Kong and in Washington, D.C. She held many part time jobs before joining the Foreign Service, among them assistant to Professor Richard H. Solomon, during which time she helped research his book Mao’s Revolution and the Chinese Political Culture.
Ms. Berris has a B.A. in Chinese studies (University of Michigan, June 1966) and an M.A. in Japanese studies (University of Michigan, June 1967). She speaks Chinese, Hebrew, and Spanish – in descending levels of fluency.
Ms. Berris has written articles for various publications and contributed chapters to several books on China.