Nathaniel Ahrens is a non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is researching organizational challenges to dealing with complex problems through the lens of long-term futures of U.S.-China relations, and the effect that emerging technologies have on the moral and ethical aspects of the relationship.
Ahrens is the Executive Director and Founder of the American Mandarin Society and the president of Nimble Lingo, a Chinese language-learning technology company. He was previously the Director of China Affairs for the University of Maryland (UMD). Prior to joining UMD, Ahrens was deputy director and fellow with the Hills Program on Governance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and was formerly an adjunct fellow with the Freeman Chair in China Studies, also at CSIS. In 2010 he was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Previously, he worked for ten years in China. He was the Senior Product Manager and director of nternational sales for Intrinsic Technology, a Shanghai-based telecommunications software provider, and also founded Shanghai Pack Ltd., a luxury-brand packaging company based in Shanghai and Paris. Ahrens also spent a year managing cruise ships on the Yangtze River.
Ahrens is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and is a FinTech4Good Fellow. He holds a Master of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins SAIS with a concentration in international economics, an A.B. from Vassar College, and studied at Beijing Language and Culture University from 1995 to 96.