The Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan announces the appointment of Ms. Therese Shaheen as Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan. Ms. Shaheen brings years of extensive experience in Asia to her new position. Prior to her appointment, she was President and Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Asia Commercial Development Corporation, a Washington D.C.-based business with offices in Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei. The company, which Ms. Shaheen co-founded in 1987, specializes in Asian market entry, international joint ventures, mergers/acquisitions, capital investment, and technology development.
Previously, Ms. Shaheen served as Asia Regional Director for Tokyo-based Refugees International. She managed refugee activities in Southwest Asia relating to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and in Cambodia during the Vietnam-Cambodia border conflicts of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her responsibilities included fund-raising, settlement camp quality-of-life control, and refugee expatriation. In this position, Ms. Shaheen resided in Japan and traveled extensively throughout Asia, including visits to refugee camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the region.
Active in Washington, D.C.-based non-profit activities, Ms. Shaheen is a former chairman of the International Committee of the National Women’s Economic Alliance, an organization of business executives committed to expanding corporate board membership opportunities for women. She is a member of the National Advisory Board of Independent Women’s Forum, a research and education foundation. Ms. Shaheen also has served as an overseas election monitor for the International Republican Institute, a non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide.
Ms. Shaheen is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She earned a Master’s Degree in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Her articles on Asian Affairs, U.S. politics, and other issues have appeared in various newspapers and journals. Ms. Shaheen resides with her husband, Lawrence Di Rita, and their daughter Isabelle in Potomac, Maryland.