facebook icon twitter icon youtube icon

President Byers to Host Conversation with Ambassador Branstad

The Future of the U.S. – China Relationship: A Conversation with Former Ambassador Terry Branstad


Simpson College will present “The Future of the U.S. – China Relationship: A Conversation with Former Ambassador Terry Branstad,” from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., on Tuesday, April 2, in Pote Theatre, Blank Performing Arts Center. Simpson President Jay Byers will serve as interview host for the event, which is free and open to the public.

Ambassador Branstad came to national prominence while setting the record as longest-serving governor in U.S. history with a pair of stints as Governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999 and 2011 to 2017, when he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China. While serving in that role from 2017 to 2020, his accomplishments included the signing of the historic Phase-One Trade Agreement in Jan. 2020, and successfully lobbying the Chinese government to stem the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. 

“I am honored to have this unique privilege to visit with Ambassador Branstad about the existing climate in U.S.-China relations, as well as the future opportunities and challenges that will shape the two countries’ relationship moving forward,” said Byers, who collaborated frequently with Ambassador Branstad during Byers’ previous service as CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Given his extensive personal experience in working with U.S.-China relations as both governor of Iowa and as U.S. Ambassador to China, he will have rich and rare insights to share. It promises to be a fascinating conversation illuminating the critical and vastly complex issues that will determine the path ahead for the U.S. and China.”

In 2023, Branstad became president of the World Food Prize Foundation. His connection to food and agricultural issues runs deep — dating back to leading the state of Iowa through much of the 1980s Farm Crisis. He was serving as Iowa’s governor in 1990, when the World Food Prize moved to Iowa and established its foundation. Branstad’s relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping dates back to 1985, when Xi visited Muscatine, Iowa as part of a Chinese delegation learning about farming technology. When Xi returned to Iowa in 2012, he met with then-Governor Branstad again and signed a five year cooperation agreement with the U.S. on food security and sustainable agricultural practices.

A native of Leland, Iowa, Ambassador Branstad is founding partner of the strategic consulting firm Branstad Churchill Group, LLC. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and holds a juris doctorate from Drake University, where he has served as “Ambassador-in-Residence” since 2022.