'I wouldn't understand why somebody would lie': Trump official with dubious resume appears to have even skipped a 6-day leadership seminar she'd claimed

Mina Chang

  • A State Department official discovered to have embellished her work history also appeared to have fabricated her educational experience, which is limited to attending unaccredited universities and seminars.
  • Mina Chang, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, has made misleading claims about her education at Harvard Business School, according to NBC News.
  • Business Insider has learned that she did not complete a six-day program at the Southern Methodist University in Texas, where she claimed to have taken a leadership course.
  • "Anyone with basic due diligence would have been able to catch this," a former State Department official said to Business Insider. "It's insane that someone with such flimsy credentials could get into the State Department."
  • In 2014, Chang claimed to have had a career in music, and that she recorded albums in Korean and English before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti - forcing her to forgo an opportunity to re-sign with her purported recording label.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A State Department official discovered to have embellished her work history also appeared to have fabricated her educational experience, which is limited to attending unaccredited universities and seminars.

Mina Chang, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, has made misleading claims about her work experience, according to an NBC News investigation.Advertisement

Chang, who joined the Trump administration in April, was nominated to manage the US Agency International Development in Asia and its $1 billion budget. She was passed on the position and assumed her current position in the State Department.

According to her educational history on LinkedIn, Chang writes that she took part in an "Executive Nonprofit Leadership" program at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

The Non Profit Leadership Certificate Program is a six-day program with a $900 fee. The Center for Nonprofit Management in North Texas, in partnership with SMU, hosts the program that is designed for those who want to further their leadership roles in nonprofit groups.
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Mina chang

But Chang's enrollment information is absent, according to an employee from the Center for Nonprofit Management, which compiles all the details on prospective students. Although her basic information was found in the center's database, the employee familiar with the matter told Business Insider that it never received payment or course records on Chang since the program's inception in 2007. The employee noted that the center never included an "executive" designation for the program until this year, where the inaugural class is expected to complete the course in the upcoming weeks.Advertisement

"I wouldn't understand why somebody would lie about the program," the employee said, adding that the course is beneficial for those who are interested in the nonprofit sector.

Attempts to reach Chang were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Chang's educational experience appears to be limited to attending seminars and unaccredited universities. She claims in her official State Department biography to be an "alumna" of Harvard Business School, but the university told NBC News that she attended a seven-week program in 2016.Advertisement

According to her now-private LinkedIn profile, she also attended the University of Nations with a focus on "Development" and "Aid Practices."

The University of Nations, which describes itself as an international, Christian learning center founded on biblical principles, says its chosen not to apply for accreditation due to "major differences" in national accrediting agencies.

"Viewing the world as both its classroom and venue for ministry, the University of the Nations is committed to teaching and developing Christian men and women called to 'make disciples of all nations,' the University of the Nations's website says.Advertisement

The University of Nations, which provides no phone numbers on its website, did not immediately respond to a request for comment as questions emerged about Chang's credentials on Wednesday.

mina chang

It was unclear how Chang's misrepresentation of her education history was overlooked by government officials.Advertisement

"Anyone with basic due diligence would have been able to catch this," a former State Department official said to Business Insider. "It's insane that someone with such flimsy credentials could get into the State Department."

Chang, who was the CEO of nonprofit group "Linking the World" for nine years, worked to "break the cycles of poverty" and "build resilience and self-sufficiency," she wrote on her profile, which includes pictures of her travels around the world. In 2014, Chang claimed to have had a career in music, and that she recorded albums in Korean and English before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti - forcing her to forgo an opportunity to re-sign with her purported recording label.Advertisement

"I took a huge chance stepping away from something I thought was safe and such a huge opportunity but I knew this is where my heart is," she said to The Dallas Observer at the time.

"My work has given me such a perspective and it's taught me to walk through a period of my life," Chang added. "When you're in the field you're stripped of who you are. You're just existing together in that moment. It's not about your clothes, or your image, it's about what you're giving. This year is just one season on my journey."

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