The World Food Prize Foundation

2017 Borlaug Dialogue Speakers

Christian J. Foster

President & CEO, CJ & Associates

Christian Foster, President & CEO of CJ & Associates based in San Francisco, founded the consulting firm in 2016 to provide specialized strategic support to clients engaged in global trade, agricultural market development, export promotion, trade capacity building, and partnerships with the Russian Federation and Eurasia.

The year prior, Foster retired after more than 30 years of senior positions in the U.S. federal government; including at the Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA’s Economic Research Service, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In 2015, Foster retired from the Senior Executive Service of the government as Deputy Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, where he led the agency’s trade development and export credit guarantee programs. These programs had budgets of over $250 million and $5 billion, respectively. In this position, Foster worked directly with over 70 U.S. agricultural commodity and trade associations, as well as the Secretaries of Agriculture of each of the 50 states.

Prior to that position, Foster was the Assistant Deputy Administrator of FAS’s Office of Capacity Building and Development. In that role, he provided oversight of the agency’s trade capacity building and technical assistance programs in emerging markets. The assistance was largely to support compliance with international standards-setting bodies, improve market institutions, and
participation in Free Trade Agreements.

Before his assignment above, from 1997-1999, Foster was a Senior Advisor at USAID. In that role he helped guide the agency’s work supporting the economic transition of the agricultural sector from centrally-planned to market-driven economies in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

For much of the previous decade, Foster worked at USDA’s Economic Research Service, where he last served as the chief of the research unit on the agricultural and food economies of the then-USSR. A primary objective of this unit was to provide Soviet food demand and trade projections. Foster first joined the federal government in 1982, as an economist for the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he produced strategic analysis on Soviet-bloc economic conditions.

From 1990-1992, Foster worked in the private sector at Bell Atlantic International, as the Director for Business Development for the USSR, based in Moscow. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the company closed its operation in that market.

Foster received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Georgetown University in
Washington, DC, and certificates from Leningrad State University and Harvard University. He
speaks Russian and German.

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