Firestein, David J. | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
  • B.S.F.S., Georgetown University
  • MPAff dual with Asian studies, The University of Texas at Austin

David J. Firestein is the inaugural executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As CPPC chief, Firestein leads UT's institutional engagement with China and oversees innovative interdisciplinary research on China-related domestic and foreign policy topics.

Prior to joining UT, Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute; there, he led the Institute’s work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.

A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers. Firestein speaks Chinese at the near-native level.

Throughout his career, Firestein has played an active role advancing U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, scholarship and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation, and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict today.  Firestein was also a principal architect of the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue.

Since 2001, Firestein has periodically taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, including at The University of Texas during the 2006–2008 academic years.

A native of Austin, Firestein holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and two master’s degrees from The University of Texas.


NewsFebruary 19, 2018
Biennial Crisis Simulation Event Provides Global Policy Students Firsthand Diplomacy, Negotiation Experience

LBJ School students in the Master of Global Policy Studies program take part in a biennial Crisis Simulation event, which provides an opportunity to experience a complex and high-level multilateral diplomatic negotiation under time pressure and uncertainty.

Read More
NewsNovember 17, 2017
LBJ School's China Public Policy Center Hosts Inaugural Event on the Future of U.S.–China Relations

The University of Texas China Public Policy Center (CPPC) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs hosted an inaugural event focused on prospects for U.S.–China relations. The event was co-hosted by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and featured guests Ambassador He Yafei and Daniel M. Slane.

Read More
Media MentionNovember 15, 2017
Why America Can't Rebuild Without China

President Donald Trump has pledged to create new, good-paying jobs for millions of American blue-collar workers, principally through a still largely undefined plan to inject $1 trillion in both public and private funding into America’s infrastructure. It’s a great idea, but there’s a major problem. There is not enough ready American capital to hire all the American hands and American labor that would be required to realize this vision. David Firestein explains.

Read More