Charles Jess is the consular section chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. Prior to his August 2006 arrival in Shanghai, he served as the senior desk officer for Vietnam. Before that, he served for two years as the deputy director of the Population Office in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. A career foreign service officer since 1989, Jess also served as U.S. consul to Western Australia and as U.S. consul to Laos, following consular and administrative positions at U.S. embassies in Bangkok and Tokyo.
Jess previously taught secondary mathematics, both domestically in the U.S. (Maryland, Georgia, and California) and overseas (Nepal, Indonesia, and Bolivia). He graduated from Duke University in 1972, received his master’s degree from Emory University in 1976, and did further post-graduate 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. During a January 2008 trip to Tanzania where he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his son, Skyler, Jess rediscovered his singing voice and later recorded a song called "Serengeti Sky" that “came to him in a flash of desperation.” He hopes that more will follow.