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James Dean

James E. Dean manages international and diplomatic programs for The Heritage Foundation’s Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

Representing the Foundation, Dean works with officials from allied and partner countries around the world to advance the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, strong national defense, international security cooperation and more open international markets. 

Dean regularly works with dozens of Ambassadors/Embassies, mostly representing countries located in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific Rim. Most of Dean’s work is behind the scenes.  For example, he frequently initiates, hosts and moderates off-the-record roundtable discussions that bring together Capitol Hill and Embassy Row international allies and select partner countries.  Participants convene to share perspectives, seek common ground and work together going forward.   These are not academic discussions. They are action-oriented and frequently lead to positive outcomes. 

Dean has hosted dozens of parliamentary delegations to Washington, as well as foreign, defense, economic, energy and trade ministers visiting our nation’s capital.  

Policy topics discussed at these meetings range from securing international sea lanes to strengthening international energy markets, from advancing bi-lateral and regional trade and security to exploring emerging opportunities in the Arctic.

Dean first came to Heritage in 2004 to serve as deputy director of the think tank’s Government Relations team.  In that capacity, he worked to bring together administration officials, Capitol Hill staff and foreign officials and foreign dignitaries to strengthen understandings and alliances.  Early in the Obama administration, for instance, he worked with the Ambassadors of Colombia, Panama and South Korea and members of Congress to break out three bi-lateral free trade agreements that had been stalled for five years. 

Dean also played a key role in the drive to modernize export controls that had not been updated for nearly 20 years.  He brought together senior Obama Administration officials, Capitol Hill staff, representatives of U.S. industry and dozens of Embassy Row diplomats in a long series of discussions.  The resulting reforms to the U.S. export control system, which took effect in 2013, will strengthen defense trade and cooperation with 36 Strategic Trade Authorization allies and partner countries around the globe. 

Working with the Australian Embassy, British Embassy and Capitol Hill, Heritage also helped win ratification of U.S. bilateral defense trade treaties that had been stuck in the Senate since the George W. Bush administration.   

During the George W. Bush administration, Dean was active in numerous international initiatives, including:

  • the entry of Croatia and Albania into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
  • bringing eight new partner countries—the  Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and South Korea—into the Visa Waiver Program,
  • the Free Trade Agreement with five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, and
  • the Free Trade Agreement with Australia.

Prior to joining the Heritage Foundation team, Dean worked on Capitol Hill for nine years, the first two with Sen. Hank Brown, R-Colo.  Then, from 1997 to 2004, he served Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., rising to the post of senior legislative assistant.  He advised the senator in a variety of policy areas, including: foreign relations; international trade; banking and finance; defense; space, energy and natural resources; appropriations; judiciary, and homeland security.

From 1990 to 1994 Dean lived in Japan and worked as an international business skills trainer for rising young executives in major Japanese companies.  Client companies included: Fujitsu, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Marubeni Trading, Corp., Kirin Brewery, Kajima Construction and the Export-Import Bank of Japan.

Prior to that, he worked for CareerTrack, then one of the leading professional development training firms in the U.S.

Dean holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and International Business at University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. He has also completed graduate level coursework in comparative international political systems and economies. 

Dean was born in Minneapolis, Minn., and raised in Boulder, Colo.  He currently resides in Arlington, Va.

All Publications by James Dean