The USJETAA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the Vice Chair of its board, Jim Gannon, will serve as USJETAA’s Interim Executive Director to help guide it through the transition to new leadership. Jim takes this role upon the departure of Executive Director Bahia Simons-Lane. Bahia held the role of Executive Director for four years and leaves the organization in an optimal position to continue its great work. She plans to stay connected to the JET alumni network as she pursues a new opportunity in U.S.-Asia relations and student exchange.
Jim recently held the role as Executive Director of the Japan Center of International Exchange (JCIE/USA), where he still serves as a senior fellow, and his involvement with USJETAA since prior to its founding positions him well to lead USJETAA through this transitional period. The Board, Jim, and Bahia are all committed to working hand-in-hand as we go through this next period of change. Please join us in welcoming Jim Gannon to this role. Learn more about Jim below.
James Gannon Bio
Jim Gannon taught for two years on the JET Program in Ehime Prefecture from 1992 until 1994, and he has worked in U.S.-Japan relations ever since returning to the United States in 1995. He currently is vice chair of USJETAA and a member of the JETAA USA Board of Advisors, and he previously served on the board of JETAANY.
For nearly 20 years, from 2001 to 2021, he headed the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA), a foreign policy institute that hosts high-level policy dialogues, legislative exchanges, and foreign policy research. He now is a senior fellow there, where he writes extensively on US-Asia relations, global health, development, and civil society.
Jim became reengaged in JET alumni activities in 2009, when the new Japanese government was debating whether to cut program funding. He helped mobilize an effort by alumni and US-Japan experts to advocate for the program and underscore the diplomatic value of investing in JET alumni. After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Jim helped manage the JETAA USA Earthquake Relief Fund and spearheaded alumni efforts to assist in the Tohoku recovery, including a disaster volunteer program in Rikuzentakata for JET participants and alumni. In 2011, Jimwas selected to represent alumni from around the world in delivering the keynote address in Tokyo for the Japanese government’s 25th anniversary symposium on the JET Program.
Jim lives in New York with his wife, Susan, an alumni of Rotary International’s Japan exchange program, and her two pet rats.
You can learn more about Jim’s work at JCIE here: https://www.jcie.org/bio/james-gannon-bio/