Matthew Asada speaks at HW Works Global Leadership Institute


Alexander Dinh and Nathan Wang

USC Public Diplomat In Residence Matthew Asada spoke to students on both the middle and upper school campuses as a part of the HW Works Global Leadership Institute, March 17. Asada joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2003 and most recently served as the Deputy Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Asada said attending the World Expo in 2000, where there was no United States pavilion, stuck with him after he joined the Foreign Service.

“I went to the 2000 World Expo in Hanover, Germany, and I was looking at all these countries that participated, but the United States wasn’t there,” Asada said. “Where we were supposed to be was a grassy lot that had been reserved for the United States, but we had never built it. That made a big impression on me.”

Head of HW Works Kwaisi France and World Languages Teacher Bin He co-founded the HW Works Global Leadership Institute. France said when He approached him with the idea of the Global Leadership Institute, he was instantly interested.

“When [He] came to me with the idea, I [had] already been thinking about different verticals at HW Works, one of them being global policy,” France said. “It’s wonderful that as a school we have all sorts of outreach and resources to be able to get principals from everywhere to come to [and] speak,to give [students] a perspective, from all sorts of angles on what it means to be a global player.”

Before becoming a teacher at the school, He worked for the state department as a language instructor. He said Asada allows students to learn more about global studies, a newly established institute without HW Works.

“After I started at Harvard-Westlake, I saw that we just established HW Works,” He said. “I thought to myself, this is exactly what I want. I want to just to give students more opportunities to try an internship or maybe just to get some experience about how to implement what they have learned from class into reality.”

Asada is fluent in German and English and speaks rudimentary Hindi, Urdu, Dari and Spanish. Asada said learning a foreign language early in his life provided more opportunities for his position in the Foreign Service.

“I started speaking German as a kid because we thought my father, in the US army, would be assigned to Germany,” Asada said. “I continued with German and then I studied it at [University of Pennsylvania]. Then when I entered the Foreign Service, I used German and a couple of different assignments.”

Archivist Alexis Arinsburg ’98 said Asada was eager to speak with students interested in diplomacy and international relations.

“[Asada] was really interested in coming to speak to high school students, and sharing what he’s done with an audience that is interested in doing this as a further career,” Arinsburg said. “So it seemed like a good fit for him.”