Jim Mullinax ’90 is building the framework for a better world through the Foreign Service.

It’s about 8:30 a.m. in Chengdu, China, and Consul General Jim Mullinax ’90 is at work in his home office, chatting with an interviewer via Skype. After two years in this post, he has made his home in the laidback capital city that serves as the nerve center and travel hub of the region.

Under the authority of the United States Embassy in Beijing, Jim is the highest-ranking American Foreign Service officer in Southwest China, which includes the Sichuan Province, Guizhou, Yunnan, Chongqing, and Tibet—about a quarter of the country’s total area—and more than 200 million people.

“My role here is to represent America and American values in China,” he says. “We’re trying to tell a story about what America is, how we want people to understand America, and what we’re doing out here.”

Jim oversees the operations of a full-service consulate, providing assistance to Americans visiting the region and Chinese citizens heading to the U.S., in addition to security and public affairs offices, political and economic analysts, cultural and educational exchange programs, and the activities of agencies such as the Commerce Department, Peace Corps, and Agriculture Department.