About Us

Our Philisophy

At the Tai Initiative, we strive to educate the public through our three core lenses: Leadership, America-China relations, and the subnational level of relationship. The point of overlap of all three of these lenses allows us to provide focused, expert, educational material to our audiences. 

Leaders equipped with such knowledge and skills make lasting change. 

By empowering the individual, we create subnational leaders capable of bridging the gap between American and Chinese futures. 

Our Leadership

Executive Director

Carson Tavenner (泰卡森)is a member of the National Committee for US-China Relations and a retired US Air Force officer with thirteen years of experience serving the Pacific Command.  His association with China began much earlier, in 1986, when he  initiated one of the early sister-school relationships in Washington State, between Puyallup High School  and Nankai Middle School in Chongqing.  He is a 1991 graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a 2000  graduate of the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Masters  program. Currently he teaches Global Studies: China at Everett Community College. He has also taught world and East Asian history at the U.S. Air Force Academy, teaches leadership and teamwork in China through outdoor leadership programs, and is the Director of 爱世界 (Love the World), a non-profit bringing leadership and English training to needy Chinese communities.

Intern Team

Dianxiong Wang

Dianxiong Wang (王殿雄)  is a 4th year International Studies student from University of California, Irvine. He was born in China and came to the US in 2014. He has been actively contributing, volunteering, and interning in both China and America. He applied for this internship because of the school graduation requirement and his interest in America-China relations. He hopes to learn from the internship with the Tai Initiative and use them in the future.

Haodong Zhu

Haodong Zhu is student studying International Studies major in from University of California Irvine. Now is taking internship in Tai Initiative. Living and studied China until high school graduate and studied in US for 4 years. He have experience working and studying in both China and US. 2019 summer interned in investment banking department of Guodu Brokerage in China. 2020 summer Interned in Fortissimo Films, a famous European publisher now own by HEHE pictures. 


Board of Directors

Ann Schodde

Ann Schodde has held ann schodde squareleadership positions in higher education and international non-profit organizations for over 30 years. In 2007, Schodde was the first President of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy and currently serves as Senior Advisor. She has consulted or managed programs for more than 21 private foundations, professional associations, and government agencies including the Stanley Foundation, World Food Prize Foundation, National Council for International Visitors, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and USAID. She has directed educational exchange and technical assistance programs throughout the world.  She has worked with embassy staff from over 60 countries and garnered financial support from the U.S. government and the private sector including the Johnson Foundation, Coca Cola Foundation, American Express, Gallup, and VISA. She is a frequent speaker and consultant for international organizations throughout the world. Schodde holds a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin and M.Ed. from Cornell University.

Greg Waldrop

Greg Waldrop square

Greg is the secretary of the board for The Tai Initiative.  He is a legal services consultant based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he edits promotional and sales training tools for pharmaceutical training products of the Dezan Group and other independent clients.  Greg received his Doctor of Law (JD) from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2012, earned his Master of Arts in International Studies with a China focus from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in 2000, and attended SAIS’ Hopkins-Nanjing program in 1996.

Derek Linden

Derek Linden square

Derek is the President and Chief Technical Officer of X5 Systems, Inc. of Mountain View, California.  He has over 20 years of advanced electronicsengineering experience, particularly in the field of antenna design.  A 1991 graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a 1997 PhD graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Derek has nine years of military officer experience during which he became Chief of the Advanced Aerospace Technology Branch for the Office of Research under the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C.

Board of Advisors

Zhou Baolin, Chief Mentor, Beijing Exploration Cultural Development Holding Co. Ltd.; Co-Founder, China Green Marathon Action Consortium

Donald A. Bishop, Minister-Counselor, U.S. State Department Senior Foreign Service (Ret.); Board of Directors and Immediate Past President, Public Diplomacy Council

Larry Donnithorne, COL, US Army (Ret.): President Emeritus and Professor of Leadership and Ethics, Colorado Christian University; Author, “The West Point Way of Leadership”

Grace Guo, Strategic Consultant for Outbound Programs, The China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia

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