Governance and Corporate Leadership

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that is funded by the U.S. Government through an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency charged with overseeing all U.S. civilian international broadcasting.

Radio Free Asia’s corporate board is made up of all members of the BBG:

In addition to providing general oversight, the BBG serves as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of all broadcasters, which include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Martí, and the non-profit corporations that are BBG grantees: Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

RFA’s corporate officers are:

To learn more about the Broadcasting Board of Governors, please visit: http://www.bbg.gov/

Biographies of the RFA Corporate Board follow.

Jeffrey Shell

Jeffrey Shell is president of NBC Universal International, a position he has held since 2011. He previously served as president of Comcast Programming Group from 2005 to 2011. Prior to joining Comcast, Shell held a number of positions, including CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International and President of the FOX Cable Networks Group. As president of the FOX Cable Networks, he oversaw the operations of FOX's entertainment and sports cable programming businesses. He currently serves on the board of the National Constitution Center. Shell earned a B.S. in Economics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He currently serves as chairman of the BBG and RFA’s corporate board.

Dr. Leon Aron

leonaron.jpgDr. Leon Aron is Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a position he has held since 1993. He was a weekly Contributor at the Voice of America’s Russian language radio and television show Gliadya iz Ameriki (Looking from America) from 1990 to 2004. Dr. Aron was previously an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University from 1994 to 1996 and a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation from 1987 to 1992. He was awarded the Peace Fellowship from the U.S. Institute of Peace from 1992 to 1993. Dr. Aron received a B.A. from Moscow State Pedagogical Institute and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

He was confirmed as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on December 12, 2014.

Ryan C. Crocker

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker is dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University - a position from which he had taken a leave of absence to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. He is also the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia. Prior to resuming his position as dean, Ambassador Crocker was a Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University. His 37-year career in the Foreign Service included service as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of Trustees of Whitman College. Ambassador Crocker is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award, and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service. He earned a B.A. from Whitman College.

Michael Kempner

Kempner.jpgMichael W. Kempner is the Founder, President, and CEO of MWW, a public relations firm he founded in 1986. He is board member of Goodwill Industries International and a Founding Board Member of ConnectOne Bancorp. He served on the White House Council for Community Solutions from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, he was named Agency Leader of the Year by PR News, Executive of the Year by American Business Awards, and Agency Professional of the Year and Communications Professional of the Year by Bulldog Stars of PR. Mr. Kempner received a B.S. from American University.

He was confirmed as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on December 12, 2014.

Rex W. Tillerson

On February 1, 2017, Rex W. Tillerson became the 69th U.S. Secretary of State of the United States.

Previously, Secretary Tillerson served as ExxonMobil’s chairman and chief executive officer from 2006 to 2016. Mr. Tillerson is a former member of the American Petroleum Institute and the National Petroleum Council and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He formerly served as a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also a member of the Business Roundtable and the Business Council, as well as an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding, and a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He is a former director of the United Negro College Fund and a former vice-chairman of the Ford’s Theatre Society.

Ambassador Karen Kornbluh

karen-kornbluh.jpgAmbassador Karen Kornbluh is the Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Nielsen, responsible for global public policy, privacy strategy, and corporate social responsibility.

Prior to joining Nielsen, Kornbluh was the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2009 – 2012. Previously, she was Policy Director for then Senator Barack Obama. In the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Treasury Department and Director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission. Additionally, Kornbluh founded the New America Foundation’s Work and Family Program and is a senior fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

She was confirmed as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on December 16, 2014.

Kenneth Weinstein

Kenneth Weinstein has been President and CEO of Hudson Institute since 2011. Since joining Hudson Institute in 1999, he has held several other positions, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Fellow, and Director of the Washington Office. From 1996 to 1998, he was the Director of the Government Reform Project at the Heritage Foundation, and from 1994 to 1996, he was Director of Research at the New Citizenship Project. He served on the National Council of the Humanities from 2006 to 2012 and was appointed to the D.C. Advisory Board to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2010. Weinstein received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, an M.Phil. from the Institut d’ Études Politiques de Paris, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Kenneth Weinstein was confirmed as a member of the board on September 23, 2013.

Libby Liu

Office of the President

Libby Liu
President
Radio Free Asia

Appointed RFA President in September 2005, Ms. Liu provides the private non-profit grantee corporation with leadership, vision, and mission-based strategic and operational direction.  RFA’s congressionally mandated mission is to provide balanced, objective news and information to citizens in East Asia’s closed societies.  Under Ms. Liu’s administration, RFA has transformed from a radio broadcaster to a wholly digital multi-media interactive news organization.  As president, Ms. Liu sets the operational, editorial and administrative policies and procedures for the corporation.

She engages with and coordinates Radio Free Asia’s work with oversight by the RFA Board of Directors and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  She works with stakeholders at like-minded organizations, in Congress, in US government agencies, at press freedom groups and with other international broadcasters both US and of other western nations.  Ms. Liu facilitates effective and timely communications and broad-based collaboration between and amongst RFA’s bureaus and divisions as well as within the Human Rights and Press Freedom communities writ large.

In 2011, with federal funding granted through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Ms. Liu created the Open Technology Fund, a global internet freedom technology program housed within Radio Free Asia.   Although OTF is an RFA program, the program serves citizens anywhere in the world where government denies access, censors content, interferes or monitors online activity.  Due to the nature of RFA’s work, its in-house technologists and journalists have a long history of demonstrable success in combatting online censorship since the advent of the Great Firewall of China.  The OTF program expands the scope of this internet freedom work in a world that is becoming markedly less supportive of free speech, especially online and on mobile networks.

Prior to September 2005, Ms. Liu served as RFA’s Vice-President for Administration and Finance charged with maturing the corporation from a start-up to a sustainable long-term endeavor.  Her main focus was to put processes and structure into the operations of the corporation.  As such, she was responsible for negotiating the company’s first collective bargaining agreement, for correcting the underlying issues leading to the broadcaster organization campaign and to establish the company’s relationship with the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.

Prior to joining RFA, Ms. Liu served as the Director of Administration and Strategic Planning at the Baltimore headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  There she played a pivotal role in the Board’s establishment of the NAACP’s Five-Year Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives and in the implementation of the Plan.

Ms. Liu holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

A California native, Ms. Liu is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and has traveled widely in East Asia.  She currently resides in Northern Virginia with a teenage daughter, a dog and three cats.

Richard Smith

Richard Smith brings to RFA years of experience in finance, budget, and treasury. Much of his career has been spent working for non-profit organizations, most recently National Public Radio, Columbus Children's Hospital, and West Virginia Northern Community College. In addition to his role as an officer to the board, Mr. Smith serves as RFA’s Budget Director and Contracting Officer.

Bernadette Burns

Bernadette Mooney Burns has been RFA’s General Counsel since 2006 and was elected Secretary in 2008. Her legal career started in 1981 and includes service in the U.S. Navy JAG corps, private practice, corporate counsel and most recently as the Director of Legal Affairs with the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

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