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NCSU > OIA > NC Japan Center > People > John Sylvester, Jr.

John Sylvester, Jr.

Director (1981 - 1996)


Mr. John Sylvester, Jr. assumed duty as Director of the North Carolina Japan Center on July 1, 1981.

Mr. Sylvester was born in Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1930. He accompanied his father, a naval officer on the Asiatic Station, to China and Philippines from 1936 to 1939. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952 with a B.A. in History. Subsequently he enlisted in the army and served in combat with the infantry in Korea. He then studied at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1954-55, receiving a B.S.

In July 1955, he entered the Foreign Service and assigned first to the Consulate General in Yokohama, Japan. In 1958 he commenced full-time Japanese language training at the Foreign Service Institute School in Tokyo, finishing in 1960. He then entered the Economic Section of the Embassy in Tokyo for a two-and-a-half-year tour. After that he served as principal officer and Consul at the American Consulate in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

Mr. Sylvester then returned to the Department of State for duty where he served as an International Relations Officer in the Office of Japanese Affairs, as a staff assistant in the White House, and as Deputy Director of the Office of Thai Affairs. In 1967 he commenced a year of Vietnamese language training and arrived for duty in Vietnam in August 1968. His first year was in the Delta provinces of Chau Doc and Kien Giang. He then was assigned for a year as Province Senior Advisor in Binh Long, north of Saigon on the Cambodian border. After that he served for two years, 1970 to 1972, as Chief, Internal Political Affairs Unit, U.S. Embassy Saigon.

After his Vietnam duty Mr. Sylvester received a Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University for the academic year 1972-1973.

In 1973 he was assigned as Consul General at the American Consulate General in Okinawa, Japan, where he served until 1976. He then returned to the Department of State and served as Deputy Director of the Office of Research and Analysis on East Asia for two years and then as Assistant Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research until he retired in August 1980.


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