Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy is Founding Director Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2001 after a career spanning forty-five years with the U.S. Department of State. A fluent Chinese speaker, he spent much of his Foreign Service career in East Asia, where his assignments included Bangkok (twice), Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing (twice), Singapore, and Jakarta. He also specialized in Soviet affairs and served in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. Before taking up Russian studies, he was one of the first two Foreign Service Officers to study Mongolian. Ambassador Roy rose to become a three-time ambassador, serving as the top U.S. envoy in Singapore (1984-86), the People’s Republic of China (1991-95), and Indonesia (1996-99). In 1996, he was promoted to the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service. Ambassador Roy’s final post with the State Department was as Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research.
Ambassador Roy was born in Nanjing, China to American missionary parents. In 1956, he graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where he majored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.