An official website of the United States government

Key Officers

Branch Chief Neil Gibson

Neil Gibson
Neil Gibson

Neil Gibson arrived in Kaohsiung in August 2023 to assume his duties as AIT Kaohsiung Branch Chief.

Since joining the U.S. Department of State in 2009, he has served at the U.S. Embassy to Japan, the American Institute in Taiwan in Taipei, the U.S. Embassy to the Philippines, the U.S. Mission to the OECD in Paris, and the U.S. Embassy to Iraq. Mr. Gibson is a recipient of two Department of State Superior Honor Awards and the Sinclaire Language Award.

Prior to his career in the Foreign Service, he was an International Investment Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. Gibson holds a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business from California State University, Fresno.

Mr. Gibson is from California and speaks Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. He is married and has three boys.

Deputy Branch Chief Samuel Goffman

Sam Goffman

Samuel Goffman assumed the position of Deputy Branch Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT’s) Kaohsiung Branch Office in August 2023.

Mr Goffman has been in the Foreign Service for twelve years and has served in Shanghai, Chengdu, Warsaw, and Washington DC.

Originally from Indiana, Mr Goffman holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from McGill University and a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from Duke University.  He is married and has two young children.

Public Affairs Officer Nelson Wen

Nelson Wen
Nelson Wen

Nelson Wen assumed the position of Branch Public Affairs Officer for the American Institute in Taiwan – Kaohsiung Branch Office in July 2023. He works to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan partnership through cultural and educational exchanges and media engagements in southern Taiwan.

Mr. Wen joined the U.S. Department of State in 2011, and has served at the U.S. Embassies in Sri Lanka, China, and Kuwait. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese. Nelson received his B.A. in History magna cum laude from Brown University, where he wrote a senior thesis about the history of Japanese immigrants in Brazil. After graduation, he obtained a J.D. from New York University School of Law and practiced corporate transactional law in New York City for five years. His passions for travel, languages, and cultures eventually led him to the Foreign Service.

In his free time, Nelson is an obsessive fan and amateur historian of jazz, hip-hop and electronic music. He also enjoys films, especially science fiction and documentaries. His wife is a nurse practitioner, and they have two young children.


Principal Commercial Officer Dave Averne

Dave Averne
Dave Averne

Dave Averne arrived in Taiwan in July 2020 to assume the position of Principal Commercial Officer of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT’s) Kaohsiung Branch Office.

Since joining the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2001, Mr. Averne has spent four years as a Commercial Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, preceded by three years at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai.  His first overseas tour with the Department was in the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Previously, Mr. Averne worked in three U.S. Department of Commerce offices in Washington, D.C.

Prior to entering public service, Mr. Averne taught English in a Japanese fishing village for two years as part of the Government of Japan’s Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.

Mr. Averne hails from the state of Virginia, and earned a Master’s degree in International Communication (with a related field of International Training and Education) from American University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.