Stanley Harsha is a former United States diplomat with 28 years of experience in the Foreign Service, focused on Asia, with expertise in education and cultural exchanges. During his 28-year diplomatic career, in positions that included United States Consul General for Sumatra, interim Chief of Mission in Timor Leste, and Executive Director of the Fulbright Scholarship Board, his work ranged from managing performing arts and educational exchanges, to crisis management and interacting with youth at hundreds of schools.
He now divides his time between the United States and Asia, dedicating his time to writing, advancing international educational exchanges between Asia and the United States and promoting international tolerance and understanding. He is President of U.S.-Asia International Education Exchanges, with focus on bilateral educational ties with Indonesia and Vietnam. In addition, he is the Asian Regional Director for the American Consortium of Universities, promoting the six ACU member universities in Asia. In Indonesia, he is a founding partner of Marapi 7, an Indonesian political and security consulting company. He voluntarily promotes Colorado higher educational ties with Asia, in partnership with the Governor’s StudyColorado office. He supports several major Colorado universities in their efforts to increase academic ties in Asia. He is on the Board of the Foothills World Affairs Council and is a member of WorldDenver, the World Affairs Council branch for Denver, as well as the American Foreign Service Association.
His critically acclaimed book, Like the Moon and the Sun, was published in May 2015, comparing Indonesian and American societies, with analysis of culture, politics, religion and human rights, based on his 30 years of connection with Indonesia. Many universities in Indonesia and the U.S. have invited him to talk about the book and he has talked about the book on Indonesian television news shows. The book is a best seller in Indonesia, where he has participated in the Ubud International Readers and Writers Festival in 2015 and 2016. He has close relations with leaders across Indonesia.
Joining the Foreign Service in 1986, he spent most of his career in Asia, including 12 years in Indonesia. He served as Consul General in Medan, Indonesia (2009-2011), responsible for the Sumatran consular district (population 50 million), during which time he coordinated U.S. emergency response to numerous natural disasters and terrorist threats. He also was the Deputy Political Counselor and Labor Attaché in Jakarta (2006-2009), leading the Democracy Unit team responsible for issues such as politics, religion and human rights.
He also served as the Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Timor Leste (2007) during a time of turbulent civil unrest and mass internal displacement of citizens.
As the Information Officer in Jakarta (2001-2004), he led the public information campaign in Indonesia during the troubled post-9/11 period, acting as the U.S. Embassy spokesperson in the world’s largest Muslim majority country.
Before retiring as a diplomat in 2013, he served as a senior policy advisor for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at State Department (2011-2013), playing a key role in the U.S. “pivot to Asia” policy under Secretary Clinton, and as Director of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (2011-2012), a Presidentially-appointed board responsible for managing policy direction for the United States’ most prestigious scholarship program.
His Foreign Service assignments also included: Public Affairs Officer in Windhoek, Namibia (2004-2006); Information Officer in Kuala Lumpur (1991-1995); and Public Affairs Officer in Medan, Sumatra (1987-1990). He has received numerous State Department awards and is fluent in Indonesian, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
A Colorado native and University of Colorado-Boulder graduate with a BA International Relations (1980), Stanley Harsha was inspired to pursue an international career because of experiences studying abroad at the University of Veracruz, Mexico and University of Costa Rica. He started his career as a journalist, working for newspapers in Colorado as well as The Daily Journal and Reuters in Caracas, Venezuela, winning an award in the U.S. for his investigative journalism.