My book "Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 US Embassy Bombings" was released on October 1st. This is the story behind why I wrote this book. -------------------------- Three years before … [Read More...] about Why I Wrote This Book
In times of crisis and in everyday life, leading with intention and integrity makes a difference.
Prudence Bushnell, a retired career Foreign Service Officer, served in leadership positions as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the Republics of Kenya and Guatemala. She also trained others in leadership as Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute.
After founding the Levitt Leadership Institute at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY in 2012, she expanded her interactions to include universities as well as public servants to advocate ethical leadership and innovative thinking.
She is an acclaimed speaker in topics ranging from diplomacy and national security; crisis management and resilience; leading as a woman; and transformational leadership.
Sharing Leadership Insights Learned Through Personal Experience
Drawing from experiences as a policy maker during the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and chief of mission during and after the al Qaeda attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya in 1998, she shares lessons and observations about managing and leading, doing things right and doing the right thing.
Speech topics include:
- S.M.A.R.T. Leadership: Strategic. Moral. Achievable. Reliable. Transformative.
- Crisis Management and Resilience
- Diplomacy and National Security
- Women and Leadership
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Former U.S. Ambassador and survivor of the 1998 embassy bombing in Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, tells that story in her gripping new book, "Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience." With the emphasis on resilience. - Rattling … [Read More...] about Rattling Teacups
Last winter, four people talked about how to bring remembrance and meaning to the anniversary of the August 7, 1998 al Qaeda bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. We each contributed what we had to offer over the spring and early … [Read More...] about Commemorating 20 Years Later
Terrorism, Betrayal, & Resilience
My Story of the 1998 US Embassy Bombings
On August 7, 1998, three years before President George W. Bush declared a War on Terror, the radical Islamist group al-Qaeda bombed the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, where Prudence Bushnell was serving as U.S. ambassador, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience is her account of what happened, how it happened, and its impact twenty years later.
About the Book
With heroes and villains aplenty, this riveting cold tale of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya has startling relevance. As today’s State Department struggles to survive gutting by its own government, Prudence Bushnell reminds us just how important and dangerous the job of diplomacy can be.
A gripping diplomatic thriller that tells the harrowing saga of the 1998 bombing of Embassy Nairobi, Ambassador Bushnell’s first-person account provides lessons of leadership, crisis management, and policy acumen. The tale dramatically illustrates the terrorism danger diplomats confront daily.
Ambassador Prudence Bushnell is a true professional with the toughness, grit, courage, and compassion that marks the kind of superb leader you want in charge during a crisis. I witnessed her remarkable composure, even when personally injured, and her take-command leadership. This book is important for many reasons. It vividly presents a profile in courage; an understanding rarely appreciated for our foreign service men and women working in difficult assignments; a set of valuable lessons learned; and a case study in leadership during crisis. Every American should read this book.
Prudence Bushnell’s name is not household familiar—but it should be. She was at the center of one of the most infamous terrorist attacks on American people and property in history. And she was a woman in the highest ranks of the State Department when such a thing was rare. She tells her story with integrity and intelligence—and gives lessons on leadership based on life experience.
A Story of Leadership and Fatal Missed Opportunity – Foreign Policy (on line); a review by Ambassador George Moose
Washington being Washington, the expectation is that books born in this city should focus on matters of high policy. On that front, Prudence Bushnell’s account of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya—and that of its counterpart in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania—on Aug. 7, 1998, does not disappoint. Indeed, her book, Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings, raises important questions about how the Washington policy establishment missed the clues that might have allowed it to foresee, and possibly prevent, those twin tragedies and asks whether a serious inquiry into those events might have avoided an even greater horror—that of 9/11.
But, Washington being Washington, many times books about policy are dry, academic treatises, as often written to showcase an author’s intellectual and analytical prowess as they are to advance an idea. The books in this category are often bloodless. To the extent actual people are featured, they mostly fall into that elite category of policymakers. If other people are discussed at all, it is often not as individuals but as nameless and faceless collectivities—the Afghans, the Europeans, the Africans. To her credit, this is not the book Bushnell, who was U.S. ambassador to Kenya at the time of the bombings, chose to write, a story about an incident that changed her life and should have changed U.S. foreign policy.
Ex-U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Laments Failure to Prevent 1998 Embassy Bombings by Paige Aarhus
Prudence Bushnell understands the curse of Cassandra. Serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 1993 to 1996, she issued an urgent memorandum on April 6, 1994, warning of imminent civil conflict in Rwanda. The U.S. government maintained its position — it would not send help — and the next day, the Rwandan genocide began. More than 800,000 were killed.
Appointed ambassador to Kenya in 1996, Bushnell found herself in a similar situation less than three years later. More urgent warnings followed — this time regarding sub-standard safety conditions at the American Embassy in Nairobi. These too were ignored.
On Aug. 7, 1998, she was one of thousands of victims of a coordinated al-Qaeda attack against American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Twenty years later, Bushnell, a maverick former diplomat who has often struggled to adhere to State Department protocol, is publishing an account of her experiences.
“Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings” details the lead-up to the attacks, in which 224 people were killed and 5,000 injured in simultaneous bombings at embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
The book offers a scathing critique of U.S government shortcomings both before and after the bombs went off, including during a January 2001 trial for four of 21 al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the attacks. Read more: https://www.washdiplomat.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18228:ex-us-ambassador-to-kenya-laments-failure-to-prevent-1998-embassy-bombings&catid=1575&Itemid=428
“The building swayed; a teacup began rattling; shards of glass and ceiling tile sprayed the area,” the book begins. “One thought swirled dreamily around my brain as every muscle in my body clenched in revolt. ‘I am going to die….’”
Former U.S. Ambassador and survivor of the 1998 embassy bombing in Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, tells that story in her gripping new book, with the emphasis on resilience, “Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience.” Her book – Terrorism, Betrayal & Resilience – is amazingly relevant to today’s world, and proof that often the dust must settle before you can see clearly the truth.
– by Rheta Grimsley Johnson