Washington, D.C. — Radio Free Asia (RFA) today announced that Carolyn Bartholomew, a member of RFA’s board of directors, will serve as its Chair. Bartholomew, a Commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and its current Chairman, succeeds Ambassador Karen Kornbluh, who announced that she would be stepping down from the board after serving a tenure that began in 2014. Bartholomew was unanimously approved at the January meeting of RFA’s board of directors.
“Carolyn brings a deep knowledge base of China and Asia, as well as valuable experience serving on nonprofit and commercial boards,” said RFA President Bay Fang. “RFA will benefit immeasurably from her forward-thinking expertise. I could not be more thrilled to work with her and our board to achieve RFA’s goals and congressionally-mandated mission.”
“It’s an incredible honor to serve as RFA’s board chair,” Bartholomew said. “I have long admired RFA for its incisive brand of journalism that provides accountability and accurate information for millions in Asia who are in desperate need of a free press. I’m grateful for this opportunity to take over from the outstanding Karen Kornbluh and pledge to work tirelessly to help this organization, which just marked its 25th anniversary, be best positioned for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Bartholomew joined RFA’s board in Fall 2021, along with Asia policy expert Michael J. Green, the senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and veteran journalist Keith Richburg, the Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to her service on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Bartholomew held senior-level positions in Congress, including on key committees overseeing Asia foreign policy and funding foreign aid, and congressional leadership, as a long-time counsel, legislative director, and chief of staff. She has particular policy expertise on U.S.-China trade relations, security issues, and human rights, and has led efforts on the promotion of human rights and strengthening civil society in countries around the world. In addition, Bartholomew brings almost two decades of experience on nonprofit and corporate boards.
Ambassador Kornbluh and Ambassador Ryan Crocker both departed RFA’s board of directors after serving tenures that began in 2014 and 2013 respectively. They served until June 2020 and were reinstated in January of 2021. Michael Kempner, Founder, President and CEO of public relations firm MikeWorldWide (MWW), whose tenure began in 2014 and was reinstated in January 2021, remains on RFA’s board. RFA celebrated its 25th-anniversary last fall when its first broadcast in Mandarin Chinese was aired in 1996.
Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in 9 East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from USAGM.