Charles Jess is the consular section chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. He previously served as the State Department’s senior desk officer for Vietnam, and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. A career Foreign Service officer since 1989, Jess also served as the U.S. consul to Western Australia and to Laos, and as a vice-consul at both the Tokyo and Bangkok embassies.
Jess previously taught secondary mathematics both domestically in Maryland, Georgia, and California, and overseas in Nepal, Indonesia, and Bolivia. He graduated from Duke University in 1972, received his master’s degree from Emory University in 1976, and did further postgraduate study in mathematics education and human problem solving at Stanford University in the late 1970s. His foreign languages include Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Lao, Spanish, and Nepalese.
A violinist and singer, Jess enjoys all types of music, especially the blues. Musically speaking, 2009 was quite a productive year for Jess and a group he formed, called the Shanghai Shamans, who together recorded two albums—Songs from the Heart and Hearts on Fire—that cover a wide range of musical styles and genres. Jess is quick to add that he doesn’t plan on giving up his day job any time soon!