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With a globe-spanning diplomatic career and significant service in Japan, Jason Hyland has repeatedly met the challenge of acquiring new languages and putting them into use rapidly. In this interview, Hyland imparts remembrances, reflections, and wisdom accumulated from a lifetime in international affairs.
Jason Hyland is President of MGM Resorts Japan and a former American diplomat who served as the acting United States Ambassador to Japan. He was deputy to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and assumed the position of Chargé d'Affaires from the time of her departure from Japan until July 31, 2017. In addition to his other duties, as Deputy Chief of Mission for the United States Embassy to Japan, Hyland facilitated preparations for President Barack Obama's speech at Hiroshima. Hyland received a Group Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State for serving on the first Embassy team to enter Kobe in February 1995 to assist in the wake of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.
He previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia, and the U.S. Embassy Baku, Azerbaijan; as Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs; and as Special Assistant for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.
Hyland was born in New York and raised in New York and California. He obtained his AB in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and also studied at the National War College (Master of Science in National Security Strategy), The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy), and the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies. He was also Visiting Foreign Scholar at the University of Tokyo, from 1994 to 1995. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy appointed him Senior Strategic Fellow in September 2017. He became a Member of the Board of Overseers of Temple University, Japan Campus in March 2018. He is fluent in Japanese, and proficient in Ukrainian. He has received numerous awards from the Department of State, including Superior Honor Awards, Meritorious Honor Awards, the Expeditionary Service Award and the Sinclaire Language Award.
Hyland has worked and studied in Asia for more than 18 years, including 15 in Japan. He has lived in Tokyo, Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Osaka and has traveled extensively throughout the country.
Jason Hyland <Set A>
Set A, Clip 1:
Jason Hyland on his diplomatic career, and first encounter with the Japanese language
Set A, Clip 2:
On the challenges and delights of Japanese
and other languages
In clip Set A, Jason Hyland briefly discusses his academic and diplomatic background, including his intermittent periods of living in Japan. He shares remembrances of his initial, serendipitous encounter with the Japanese language at the University of California - Berkeley, and how that experience became a life-changing gateway to a wider world. Hyland also provides his views on the easy and difficult aspects of Japanese, and the gratifying similarities between Japanese and Azerbaijani.