John Holden


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  • Associate Dean for International Relations, Peking University
  • Professor, Peking University
  • Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Former President, National Committee on U.S. China- Relations


Associate Dean, Yenching Academy, Peking University, Beijing, China

He is helping create a research and teaching center for the study of China at Peking University called the Yenching Academy. The Academy will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of historical and contemporary China and its role in the world.

Professor of Management Practice, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing, China

He will be teaching a course in the Spring Semester on business ethics and corporate social responsibility. I will also be working on issues related to communications, which I will incorporate in my teaching.

Making the announcement, Carnegie Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Vice President for Studies Douglas H. Paal said: “John Holden has an extraordinary breadth of expertise and experience in China and East Asia. He has established a number of businesses during a total of twenty-five years in Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Kyoto. His understanding of U.S.-China relations and vast knowledge of China’s business sector and its place in the global economy will be of great benefit to our Asia Program.”

John L. Holden is the Beijing-based Senior Counsellor of Hill & Knowlton, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, and the first to enter the Chinese market (in 1984).  Previously he was chairman of Shaklee (China) Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shaklee Corporation that he established in Beijing in 2005.

From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Holden served as president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, working to promote understanding and cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Previously, he was Chairman and General Manager of the China holding company of Cargill, Inc., where he was employed from 1986 to 1998.

From 1980 to 1986, Mr. Holden served as general manager of BankAmerica World Trade Corporation’s PRC business; general manager of the Asia subsidiary of Alimenta S.A.; China trading manager of Unison International; and marketing manager of a translation company.  Early in his career, Mr. Holden worked as a translator for National Geographic Society delegations and Chinese scientists researching the Yellow River and Tibet for six months in 1981.

Mr. Holden has been active in the American Chambers of Commerce in both Hong Kong and Beijing, and served as chairman of the board of governors of the latter organization in 1997.

Mr. Holden is an experienced China veteran. He first visited China in 1974, and has personally witnessed the extraordinary progress China has made since the Reform and Opening policies were introduced 30 years ago.

Mr. Holden has been a featured speaker at universities, including Harvard, Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin,Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, Chicago, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Pacific Lutheran and Minnesota; business conferences; civic groups; and other venues.

Mr. Holden received a B.A. magna cum laude in Chinese Language & Literature from the University of Minnesota, and a M.A. in the same field from Stanford University.