Joseph Y. Yun (1954 – )

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, 2016 – 2018

Joseph Y. Yun is a Senior Advisor to the Asia Program at the United States Institute of Peace and a former U.S. Special Representative for North Korea policy, former U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, was previously the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Yun actively played a key role in elevating U.S.-Southeast Asian relations and policy (particularly with Malaysia and the US-Malaysia Comprehensive Partnership Agreement). He also led efforts to normalize relations with Myanmar and played a role in laying the foundation for “official participation by the U.S. prescient in the annual East Asian Summit (2011- present).

Some of Yun’s achievements include four Superior Honors Awards, nine Foreign Service Performance Awards, and the Presidential Meritorious Service Award.

Sources:

“Amb. Joseph Yun,” The Asia Group, accessed January 11, 2021, https://theasiagroup.com/staff/amb-joe-yun/.“Ambassador Joseph Yun,” United States Institute of Peace, accessed January 11, 2021, https://www.usip.org/people/ambassador-joseph-yun.

Geeta Pasi (1962 – )

U.S Ambassador to Djibouti 2011 – 2014, U.S Ambassador to Chad, 2016 – 2018, U.S Ambassador to Ethiopia, TBD

Geeta is an Indian American diplomat who has served as the U.S. ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014, U.S. ambassador to Chad from 2016 to 2018, and was recently confirmed by the Senate in 2020 to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia after President Trump’s nomination in June 2020.

Pasi has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State since 2018.

Since joining the Foreign Service in 1988, Pasi has served posts in Cameroon, Ghana, India, and Romania.

Sources:

“Geeta Pasi,” United States Department of State, accessed January 11, 2021, https://www.state.gov/biographies/geeta-pasi/.“Pasi, Geeta,” U.S. Department of State, accessed January 11, 2021, https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/264860.htm.

Vinai Thummalapally (1954 – )

U.S. Ambassador to Belize, July 28, 2009 – August 12, 2013

Vinai Thummalapally previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to Belize from 2009 to 2013. He is the first Indian American ambassador in U.S. history.

Originally from Hyderabad India; moved to the U.S. in 1974 to pursue engineering studies; received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University in 1977 and completed post graduate Business Administration courses at California State University in 1980 and University of Tennessee in 1995.

Ambassador Thummalapally has received several Outstanding Service awards for his professional accomplishments and speaks English, Telugu, Hindi, and Urdu.

Sources:

“Thummalapally, Vinai K.,” web.archive.org, October 9, 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20091009110519/http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/129357.htm.“Vinai K. Thummalapally – People – Department History – Office of the Historian,” history.state.gov, accessed January 11, 2021, https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/thummalapally-vinai-k.

Katherine Tai (1974 – )

Nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, 2021

Katherine Tai is President Biden’s nominee for United States Trade Representative. If confirmed, Tai would be the second Asian American woman to be named to a Cabinet-level position.

In 2017, Tai was appointed chief trade counsel for the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, which she has served on since 2014.

Tai helped direct the negotiations with the Trump administration on critical changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaced NAFTA.

Sources:

Amy B. Wang and David J. Lynch, “Biden Selects Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representative,” Washington Post, n.d., https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/09/biden-selects-katherine-tai-us-trade-representative/.

Gavin Bade, “‘Everyone Likes Katherine Tai’: House Trade Lawyer Emerges as USTR Contender,” POLITICO, accessed January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/19/katherine-tai-ustr-contender-437928.“Katherine Tai,” Ballotpedia, accessed January 11, 2021, https://ballotpedia.org/Katherine_Tai.

Sri Srinavasan (1967 – )

Chief Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit, February 2020 – Present

Sri Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh India and moved to the United States when he was 4. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and later graduated from Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Srinivasan serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed by President Obama in 2013 and began serving as Chief Judge in February 2020. 

Srinivasan is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a federal circuit court.

Sources:

Ann E. Marimow, “Merrick Garland Passes Gavel to Sri Srinivasan to Lead Influential Appeals Court,” Washington Post, n.d., https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/merrick-garland-passes-gavel-to-sri-srinivasan-to-lead-influential-appeals-court/2020/02/13/2bb5e316-4e77-11ea-b721-9f4cdc90bc1c_story.html.

“Asian American Judges on the Federal Courts | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/search/asian-american.

“U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit – Sri Srinivasan,” http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/content/VL+-+Judges+-+SS.

Jacqueline Nguyen (1965 – )

Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, May 14, 2012 – Present

Jacqueline Nguyen was nominated by President Obama for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She was appointed in 2009 and served until 2012. 

She was once again nominated by Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and she has been serving as a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2012. 

With her appointment, Nguyen became the first Vietnamese American woman to serve on the California Bench and the first Asian American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge.

Sources:

“Choy, Herbert Young Cho | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/node/1379086.“Occidental College :: Jacqueline Nguyen ’87 Appointed to Federal Bench,” web.archive.org, December 13, 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20091213033455/http://www.oxy.edu/x9275.xml.

Denny Chin (1954 – )

Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, April 23, 2010 – Present

Chin was nominated by President Clinton to the Southern District Bench in 1994. He served as the district judge for the Southern District of New York until 2010.

In 2009, Chin was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Obama. He has been serving on the Court of Appeals since 2010. 

With his appointment to the Second Circuit, Chin became the first Asian American appointed as a District Judge outside of the Ninth Circuit. Currently, Chin is also one of two active federal appellate judges of Asian American descent.

Sources:

“Asian American Judges on the Federal Courts | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/search/asian-american.

“Denny Chin ’75 Profile,” http://www.princeton.edu, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.princeton.edu/~alco/CTNAT/2007/chin.html.

Denny Chin, “A View From the Bench: A Conversation With Judge Denny Chin,” Howard and Iris Kaplan Memorial Lecture, September 10, 2012, https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/lectures_kaplan/10/.“Hon. Denny Chin,” http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/judges/bios/dc.html.

Robert Takasugi (1930 – 2009)

Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, May 7, 1976 – August 4, 2009. Senior Status: September 30, 1996

Robert Takasugi was born on September 12, 1930, in Tacoma, Washington. Because he was of Japanese descent, his family was sent to an internment camp in Tule Lake, California following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Takasugi was 11 at the time, and his father passed away in the camp. 

Takasugi was nominated by President Ford to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 1976. Takasugi began serving in 1976 until his death in 2009. He assumed senior status in 1996.  

Takasugi was known for his strong stance in defense of “individual rights and for working to expand the presence of women and minorities in the legal system”. Notable cases Takasugi worked on are the 1980 case that led to the Los Angeles Police Department banning chokeholds and when he threw out an indictment against several L.A. residents accused of fundraising for an Iranian opposition group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2002.

Sources:

Bruce Weber, “R. M. Takasugi, Pioneering Asian Judge, Dies at 78 (Published 2009),” The New York Times, August 8, 2009, sec. U.S., https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/us/08takasugi.html.

Facebook et al., “Robert M. Takasugi Dies at 78; Japanese American Federal Judge Had Been Interned in World War II Relocation Camp,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2009, https://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-robert-takasugi7-2009aug07-story.html.“Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/takasugi-robert-mitsuhiro.

Herbert Y.C. Choy (1916 – 2004)

Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, April 23, 1971 – March 10, 2004. Senior Status: October 3, 1984

Herbert Y.C. Choy was born on the island of Kauai, Hawaii in 1916. His parents were Korean immigrants.

Choy joined the Army during World War II, and following the war, he began to practice private law with Hiram Fong. 

In 1971, President Nixon nominated Choy to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. When Choy was appointed, he made history as he became the first Asian American and Hawaiian to serve on the federal bench.

Sources:

“Herbert Y.C. Choy, First Asian American to Serve On Federal Bench, Dies at 88,” http://www.metnews.com, accessed January 10, 2021, http://www.metnews.com/articles/2004/choy031504.htm.“Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro.

Tammy Duckworth (1968 – )

U.S. Senator from Illinois (D), 2016 – Present

Tammy Duckworth served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Illinois’s 8th Congressional District beginning in 2012. In 2016, Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Before her time in office, Duckworth served in the Iraq War. In 2004, her helicopter was hit and Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She received a Purple Heart for her service. Following her recovery, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs and later appointed by President Obama as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth is the first Thai American woman and the first person born in Thailand to be elected to Congress. She is also the first woman with a disability elected to Congress and the first senator to have given birth while serving in office. She is also the second (of three) Asian American women to have ever served in the United States Senate. 

Sources:

“About Tammy | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois,” Senate.gov, 2014, https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/about-tammy/biography.“Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress – Retro Member Details,” bioguideretro.congress.gov, n.d., https://bioguideretro.congress.gov/Home/MemberDetails?memIndex=D000622.