Asia Society Texas Center

Texas Perspectives: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S.-China Relations

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 – Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

06:15 PM – 08:00 PM


In collaboration with Greater Houston Partnership

In January 1979, the United States and the People's Republic of China signed the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, setting the stage for the normalization of ties between the U.S. and China. The four decades since have seen a number of obstacles, but also many achievements, such as a bilateral announcement on climate change in 2014 and a 10-part agreement at the Mar-a-Lago summit in 2017. As China increases its global influence and its economy grows, the relationship between the world's two largest economies is rapidly shifting and evolving.

Join Asia Society Texas Center for a conversation about the last 40 years and the near future with local leaders who have been active in Sino-U.S. affairs in the fields of business, cultural affairs, and diplomacy.


6:15 p.m. | Registration
6:30 p.m. | Program

Neil Bush is an international businessman who is active in service. He serves as Chairman of the Points of Light Board of Directors, where Neil expands his father’s vision of inspiring, equipping, and mobilizing volunteers to increase capacity for vital social services and for finding innovative solutions that lift individuals, strengthen families, and renew communities. Neil chairs both the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, dedicated to helping all Houstonians realize their fullest potential through literacy, and the Bush China US Relations Foundation which convenes a conference that brings together leaders from the USA and China forging cooperation on issues of global importance. Neil serves on the Advisory Boards of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, the Houston Salvation Army, and the Asia Society Texas Center. In his professional life, Neil develops international business opportunities. He is Chairman of Singhaiyi, a Singapore company investing in U.S. real estate; Co-Chairman of CIIC, a property development business in China; and, Chairman of A&A Consulting, a global platform that attracts Asian capital for investments in health care, education, and food in the USA. Neil and Maria have six wonderful children and they are proud that the family passion for service has passed on to the next generation. Neil’s daughter, Lauren Bush Lauren, is founder and CEO of FEED Projects, a nonprofit that has provided over 93 million meals that are served in schools in Africa through the UN World Food Programme. His son, Pierce Bush, mentors an inner-city youngster and leads the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in the USA. Neil earned an MBA and a BA from Tulane University.

David J. Firestein is the founding executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and clinical professor at The University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As CPPC chief, David leads UT's institutional engagement with China and oversees innovative programming and policy advocacy efforts on China-related policy topics. Prior to joining UT, David served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute. A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, David specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China. A near native-level speaker of Chinese, he has interpreted for scores of U.S. and Chinese officials. He is also an advanced speaker of Russian. Throughout his career, David has played an active role advancing U.S.-China relations and U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, policy papers, scholarship, and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including the U.S.-China “trade war,” U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation, U.S. public diplomacy, and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict. David currently serves numerous China-focused, Texas-focused and business-focused U.S. non-profit entities in executive leadership and/or Board capacities including president and CEO of the Houston-based George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. A native of Austin, David holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and two master’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.

Charles C. Foster, who served as Chairman of Asia Society Texas Center for 20+ years, is Chairman of Foster LLP, one of the largest global immigration law firms. He received his Bachelors from the University of Texas and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Charles is a Board member and the founding Chairman of the State Bar of Texas Immigration and Nationality Law Section, the past national President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Chairman of the American Bar Association Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law. Charles served as the principal advisor to President Bush on U.S. immigration policy during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns and was an advisor on immigration policy issues to President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign. He is also Chairman of US China Partnerships, Americans for Immigration Reform, a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the Greater Houston Partnership and the GHP’s Immigration Task Force. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the GHP as well as its Executive Committee and on the Board of the Houston Ballet. He was designated a “Texas Super Lawyer” from 2003 to 2014 by Texas Monthly, the “Top Notch Lawyer in Immigration” in the Texas Lawyer “Go To Lawyers Guide,” the #1 Ranked Immigration Lawyer in Texas by Chambers USA, and he was listed as one of the nation’s “20 most powerful employment attorneys” in immigration by Human Resource Executive in June 2011. He was the 2013 recipient of the Houston Bar Association’s prestigious Leon Jaworski Award and was featured in the critically acclaimed movie Mao’s Last Dancer.

About the Moderator

Bob Harvey is President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. With a membership made up of the region’s major for-profit businesses, financial and professional services firms, and non-profit institutions, the Partnership serves as greater Houston’s principal business organization. The Partnership focuses on attracting investment and trade to Houston, advocating for sound public policy, and convening a diverse set of Houstonians when major issues arise. Prior to joining the Partnership, Harvey was active in the Houston business community, first as a management consultant in the Houston office of McKinsey & Company, Inc. for 17 years and then as Vice Chair/Executive Vice President with Reliant Energy. Harvey currently serves on the Community Foundation Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the boards of United Way of Greater Houston, Good Reason Houston, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Center for Houston’s Future, the Alliance for I-69, Houston Exponential and USCA All Terrain Fund. Previously, Harvey served on the boards of Concordia Theological Seminary (Ft. Wayne, Indiana); the Luther Academy; Central Houston, Inc.; Houston Zoo, Inc.; The Post Oak School; St. John’s School; the Texas A&M Foundation; The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University and Reasoning Mind. From 2007 to 2015, Harvey served on the Board of Directors of TRC Companies, Inc. (NYSE “TRR”), an engineering and environmental services company headquartered in Windsor, Connecticut. Harvey was raised in Houston, Texas, and attended Texas A&M University, graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1978. He obtained his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982.

Asia Society Texas Center Business & Policy Programs, Endowed by

Huffington Foundation

Bank of America, Muffet Blake, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and United Airlines are presenting sponsors of Business and Policy programs at Asia Society Texas Center. Lead support for Business & Policy programs comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, BP America, Cathay Bank Foundation, Anne and Albert Chao, Mandy and William Kao, The Southmore, and Wells Fargo. Generous funding also provided by the Friends of Asia Society Texas Center, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the best in public programming.



  • Tuesday - Friday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Closed Mondays and major holidays
  • $10 Members, $20 Nonmembers

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Parking in Asia Society Texas Center's lot is $5 for 1-24 hours. Entrances on Caroline and Austin. Limited free and paid street parking also available.

Special Offers / Dining

An India-Inspired Café
Enjoy breakfast and lunch at Pondi! Pondicheri's museum café is open for extended lunch hours Tuesday through Sunday with a vibrant and innovative menu featuring everything from butter chicken to saffron shrimp salad and roti wraps.
Tuesday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm


Events at Asia Society Texas Center

Join the Houston Museum District

Join our mailing list for sneak peeks to upcoming events and insider information on the best museum district in the world

I'm interested in memberships