Nathaniel Ahrens is director of China affairs at the University of Maryland, as well as director of the Maryland-China Initiative. He is also executive director of the American Mandarin Society, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization composed of Americans who have studied, researched, and lived in Greater China, all whom have Mandarin capabilities and potential to become the future stewards of the bilateral relationship. Ahrens was formerly deputy director and fellow with the CSIS Hills Program on Governance and adjunct fellow with the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies, where he focused on issues relating to China's trade, industrial policy, and innovation. In 2010, he was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focused on climate, energy, and sustainable development issues in China, as well as Chinese national innovation policy and government procurement. Ahrens also runs Golden Road Ventures Ltd., a business development and strategic advisory firm that provides expertise and support for projects in China. Previously, he worked for 10 years in China, where he was senior product manager and director of international sales for Intrinsic Technology, a Shanghai-based telecommunications software provider. He also founded Shanghai Pack Ltd., a luxury-brand packaging company based in Shanghai and Paris. Ahrens is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Institute of Current World Affairs, and serves as an honorary ambassador for the state of Maine. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a concentration in international economics, an A.B. from Vassar College, and studied at Beijing Language and Culture University.