There are numerous social challenges to overcome in order to achieve a society where women can actively and inclusively participate in. To achieve this goal, JSIE was founded particularly in order to develop and expand Asian women’s presence in global leadership roles in business, government, political, and social activities. It holds “Washington Women’s Dialogue” (WWD), co-hosted by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, featuring prominent female role models in various sectors, who share their life experience. WWD offers opportunities to frankly discuss various issues on social and international challenges and learn how to overcome such challenges.
At the 10th WWD, we welcomed Ms. Nobuko Sasae and Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun, who are each spouse of Ambassador and both successful in establishing own career. Nobuko is a high-level conference interpreter and undertook various conferences worldwide, including the IMF/World Bank meeting, the COP10 meeting, the East Asia Summit, etc. As the first wife of Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. who has professional career, Nobuko initiated her own women empowerment forum in DC. Melanie is an expert on negotiation and dispute resolution and holds adjunct professorship at Georgetown and Portland State Universities. Melanie is an enthusiastic promoter of the professional advancement of women, and she speaks to women’s associations around the world on finding their voice, including a Ted-X Women talk on “Breaking the Sound Barrier.” Both kindly shared their personal stories, and we are all very much inspired and encouraged.
Ms. Nobuko Sasae: Conference Interpreter and Wife of Ambassador Sasae
Ms. Sasae’s work as a high-level conference interpreter has taken her all around the world, most recently to the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Annual Meeting in Tokyo, the Nikkei Future of Asia and the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Japan, the COP 10 meeting in Nagoya, and the World Economic Forum in China, to name only a few. Ms. Sasae holds a degree in English from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, and a Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She loves mountain hiking and was a fencer, winning a silver medal for the All Japan Inter-High School Match when she was younger.
She is married to Kenichiro Sasae, the present Ambassador of Japan to the United States, and they have two sons.
Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun: University professor and Wife of Ambassador Yun
Author of Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships, is an adjunct professor at Georgetown and Portland State Universities and an international consultant on negotiation and dispute resolution. Her list of over 50 corporate clients includes the world’s leading financial institutions, consulting firms, and consumer brands. Formerly a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Melanie holds a Ph.D. from Harvard, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a BS from Portland State. She has lived in Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, France, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, and has worked throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Throughout her career Melanie has promoted the professional advancement of women: from heading the Women’s Institute on Continuing Education in Paris to founding the Professional Women’s Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. She speaks to women’s associations around the world on finding their voice—most recently giving a Ted-X Women talk on “Breaking the Sound Barrier.”
She is married to Joseph Y. Yun, Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan in the Bureau of East Asians and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, and the former United States Ambassador to Malaysia (2013-16).