Dr. Joseph Kess is now retired from the University of Victoria, where he served as acting director and chair in Japan and Asia-Pacific relations at the Center for Asia-Pacific Initiatives. He was also professor and chairman in the Department of Linguistics, lecturing on the psychology and sociology of language, and the relationship between language, culture, and national identity. His early training includes a BSc from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and an MA and PhD from the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii.
Joe is an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada and is the recipient of a university-wide award for teaching excellence. He has been listed in the Who’s Who in Canada, as well as the Who’s Who in the Commonwealth, his work has been cited in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and he currently serves as an external adviser to Japan's National Academy for Japanese Language and Linguistics.
Joe was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government, the highest honor bestowed upon foreign nationals by Japan. He has worked with a wide variety of linguistic and cultural groups in diverse settings: for example, Tagalog and other languages of the Philippines; Japanese in Japan, Hawaii, and Canada; Motu from Papua New Guinea; Kuanuan/Tolai from New Britain; Slovene and other Slavic languages; and the First Nations languages, Ahousaht (a Nootkan language) and Haida in Canada’s western province of British Columbia.
He is responsible for 14 books and monographs, dozens of book chapters, hundreds of articles, reviews, and professional presentations in both professional and community settings on five continents, especially Asia and North America.