Susan Thornton

Susan Thornton
Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale University

Biography

Susan A. Thornton is a retired senior U.S. diplomat with almost 30 years of experience with the U.S. State Department in Eurasia and East Asia.  She is currently a Senior Fellow and Research Scholar at the Yale University Paul Tsai China Center and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  

Until July 2018, Thornton was Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State and led East Asia policy making amid crises with North Korea, escalating trade tensions with China, and a fast-changing international environment.  In previous State Department roles, she worked on China and Korea policy and served in leadership positions at U.S. embassies in Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus and China. 

Thornton received her MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS and her BA from Bowdoin College in Economics and Russian.  She serves on several non-profit boards and speaks Mandarin and Russian.