David J. Firestein is the EastWest Institute's Vice President for the Strategic Trust-Building Initiative and Track 2 Diplomacy; in this capacity, he leads EWI's China, Russia and United States programs. A career U.S. diplomat from 1992 to 2010, Firestein is an expert in China, Russia, public diplomacy and U.S. politics. In his Foreign Service career, he served at the U.S. embassies in Beijing (5 years) and Moscow (4 years). Firestein speaks near native-level Chinese and fluent Russian and has interpreted for senior U.S. officials in both languages.
Firestein is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published bestsellers: Pacific Reflections: Essays on Chinese and American Society and Culture (1997); and Here and There: 81 Conversations about China and America (2004). In 1995-1996, Firestein wrote a column for the Beijing Youth Daily; he was the first foreigner ever to have a column in a PRC newspaper. From 2000 to 2002, Firestein wrote over forty articles, mostly on U.S. politics and society, for Russian newspapers and magazines. In all, he has published some 130 articles in Chinese and Russian publications, including the Global Times, the China Youth Daily, the Legal Times, Noviye Izvestiya and other major periodicals. In the United States, Firestein's recent commentary has appeared in the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman.