The Global Council consists of global leaders who meet twice a year to advise the International House of Japan on its global impact and direction.


Yoichi Funabashi

Chairman, Global Council / Founder, Asia Pacific Initiative / Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence

Yoichi Funabashi is an award-winning Japanese journalist, columnist and author. He has written extensively on foreign affairs, the US-Japan Alliance, geoeconomics and historical issues in the Asia Pacific. He served as a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun in Beijing (1980-81) and Washington (1984-87), as US General Bureau Chief (1993-97), and later as Editor-in-Chief (2007-10). He was the first Japanese laureate of Stanford University’s prestigious Shorenstein Journalism Award (2016). He established Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, an independent Tokyo-based think tank, in September 2011, which expanded to become Asia Pacific Initiative in 2017. His English books include Meltdown (2021); The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism, ed. (co-edited with G. John Ikenberry, 2020); The Peninsula Question (2007); Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific, ed. (2003); Alliance Adrift (1998, winner of the Shincho Arts and Sciences Award); and Asia-Pacific Fusion: Japan’s Role in APEC (1995, winner of the Mainichi Shimbun Asia Pacific Grand Prix Award). He is a current member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Advisory Council.

Lionel Barber

Former Editor, the Financial Times

Lionel Barber is a writer, broadcaster, and former editor of the Financial Times. As editor, Barber led the FT’s successful transformation into a multichannel digital news organization, winning multiple global prizes for its journalism. Barber is the author of The Powerful and the Damned: Private Dairies in Turbulent Times (2020). He has lectured widely on US foreign policy, European security, and monetary union and appears regularly on TV and radio, including LBC’s new podcast, “What Next?”. As editor, Barber has interviewed many of the world’s leaders in business and politics, including: former US Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Barber has received several distinguished awards, including the St George Society Medal of Honour, the Légion d’Honneur, the Order of “Stella d’Italia”, and the Gerald Loeb award for lifetime achievement in journalism in the US. He is a Trustee of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, Chairman of the Wincott Foundation, and a member of the Chubb International Advisory Board.

Ronna Chao

Chief Executive Officer, Novel Investment Partners Limited / Chief Executive Officer, Bai Xian Asia Institute

Ronna is CEO of Novel Investment Partners Limited, Chairperson of Novetex Textiles Limited, and a Director of Novelpark Investments Limited. Her responsibilities in these various capacities cover investment and portfolio management, property redevelopment, and textile manufacturing.
Prior to joining the Novel Group, she began her career in New York first as a Mergers & Acquisitions financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, and then as an associate in the Licensing Department of the lifestyle and apparel company Tommy Hilfiger Corporation.
Ronna is also CEO of Bai Xian Asia Institute (BXAI). Initially funded by the Chao family’s Bai Xian Education Foundation (BXEF), and with the support of five founding members, BXAI was established in 2014 to oversee the development and implementation of the Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program (AFLSP). Today, BXAI supports up to 100 scholars each year to study away from their home country or region at one of its six partner universities.

Victor Chu

Chairman and CEO, First Eastern Investment Group

Victor Chu was born in Canton, China and came to Hong Kong at the age of four. He received his early education in Hong Kong and England, and took his law degree at University College London (UCL) where he is now Chairman of the University’s governing council. Mr Chu is Chairman and CEO of First Eastern Investment Group, a leading Hong Kong-based international investment firm and a pioneer of private equity investments in China. He is a Co-Founder and Director of Peach Aviation in Japan, as well as a Board Member of Airbus SE and Nomura Holdings. Over the last 30+ years, Victor Chu has at various times served as Director and Council Member of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Member of the Hong Kong Takeovers and Mergers Panel, Advisory Committee Member of the Securities and Futures Commission, and part-time member of Hong Kong Government’s Central Policy Unit. Mr Chu has also served as a Foundation Board Member (Trustee) of the World Economic Forum from 2003 to 2015 and currently co-chairs the Forum’s International Business Council. He is Chairman of the Hong Kong-United States Business Council and Chairman Emeritus of the Hong Kong-Europe Business Council…

Nobuyoshi Ehara

Trustee, International House of Japan / Co-Founder, UNISON CAPITAL Inc.

EHARA John Nobuyoshi co-founded Unison Capital in 1998. A pioneer in the private equity business in Japan, Unison Capital is among the region’s leading firms today. He has spearheaded the firm since its inception, building its team and operations. Mr. Ehara was instrumental in establishing the Private Equity Association of Japan, serving as Chairman from 2005 to 2007 and again from 2013 to 2015. From February 2017 to February 2019 he served as Chairman of the Asia Business Council, the first pan-Asian CEO organization formed by a group of prominent business people to understand and work toward the continued economic growth and competitiveness of Asia as a region. He has been on the board of Sumitomo Corporation since June 2016. In 2018 he was appointed as a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum. Prior to founding Unison Capital, Mr. Ehara spent 16 years as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, building its franchise in Japan. In 1988 he became the first Japanese national to be selected General Partner of Goldman Sachs. He worked at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company in New York and Tokyo between 1978 and 1980. Mr. Ehara holds a B.S. in Architecture and…

Dong-Bin Shin

Chairman, LOTTE Group

Dong-Bin Shin is the Chairman of LOTTE Group. Prior to joining LOTTE in 1988, he worked for Nomura International in London. With his interest on the Asian economy, he serves as Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Korea Industries, as Vice-Chairman of the Korea-Japan Economic Association, as Board Member of the Asia Business Council. To foster links between Western and Eastern society, he participates as a Global Trustee of the Asia Society. His contribution to the society was well recognized, in 2005, he has been honored with the Order of Civil Merit of Moran Medal by the President of the Republic of Korea, Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2006, the Officier de la Légion d’ Honneur by the President of France in 2007, the Commander of the British Empire, by the Queen of the United Kingdom in 2014, the Order of Friendship by the President of Russia in 2015 and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Isabel La Catolica in 2017, by the King of Kingdom of Spain. He earned M.B.A. from Columbia Business School after graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University with B.A. in economics.

James B. Steinberg

Dean, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

James B. Steinberg is the tenth Dean of The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Previously, he served as University Professor of Social Science, International Affairs and Law at Syracuse University, where he was Dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for five years. Prior, he served as Deputy Secretary of State to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, from 2009-2011. From 2005-2008, Steinberg was Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2005, Steinberg was vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. He served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 2000. Steinberg’s most recent books are A Glass Half Full? Rebalance, Reassurance and Resolve and Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: US-China Relations in the 21st Century. He has also authored Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Presidential Power (Brookings 2008) with Kurt Campbell. Steinberg received his A.B from Harvard College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

The Past of Asia Pacific Initiative (API)

Asia Pacific Initiative (API) was founded by Yoichi Funabashi, who became chairman of the Global Council. For more information on API's activities over the past 10 years before its merger with the International House of Japan, please click here (PDF).

International House of Japan

Asia Pacific Initiative