Pru Bushnell promotes leadership to growing audiences in the public service, including women executives and foreign affairs and national security experts. Since 2012, when she founded the Levitt Leadership Institute as a two-week leadership training initiative at Hamilton College, she has become increasingly sought after as a speaker, mentor and facilitator.
A management trainer before she joined the U.S. Foreign Service, Pru introduced leadership training to the Department of State in the mid-1980s before moving into senior positions overseas and in Washington. What she learned from the policy failures to mitigate a genocide in Rwanda in 1994 contributed to her leadership response as U.S. ambassador when al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (1998).
Her written works on leadership & terrorism were published by the New York Times, the Cambridge University Press, & the Foreign Service Journal. Pru is sought out as a public speaker, she has frequently appeared as a guest on television & radio news programs.
Her efforts to bring attention to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda were featured in the 2005 film, Sometimes in April, in which she is portrayed by actress Debra Winger. She is one of three ambassadors highlighted in the National Geographic special, Inside an Embassy.
Born in Washington, DC & educated in Germany, France, Pakistan & Iran, Ambassador Bushnell currently lives in the Washington, DC area.
Awards & Recognition
- “20 All Time Greatest Feds,” Government Executive Magazine (2011)
- “Rising Voice of Women Award,” Women’s International Associates of Chicago (2010)
- Service to America Career Achievement Award (2002) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMIpKoW05MI)
- Peace through Commerce Award (1998)
- Nairobi Mission Award for Heroism (1998)
- Numerous internal awards from the Department of State (1981-2005)
- Hall of Fame, Vanity Fair Magazine (1998)
- Top Ten Women of the Year, Glamour Magazine (1998)
- Honorary Doctorates from Hartwick College, Russell Sage College, & Misericordia University
- B.A. in Liberal Arts, University of Maryland
- M.S. in Public Administration, Russell Sage College
- Leadership Consultant
- Dean of the Leadership & Management School at the Foreign Service Institute (2002-2005)
- Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala (1999-2002)
- Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya (1996-1999)
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1993-1996)
- “One Story, Two Events, Seven Leadership Lessons,” The Foreign Service Journal. Jan-Feb 2017
- “Leadership at State: A Work in Progress,” The Foreign Service Journal, November 2011
- “Leadership at State: The Neglected Dimension,” The Foreign Service Journal, September 1989
- “Our Diplomats Deserve Better,” The New York Times, September 13, 2012
- “Leadership in Disasters,” with Brian W. Flynn and Prudence Bushnell, Nicole Lurie, Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry. Edited by Robert J. Ursano, Carol S. Fullerton, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Maryland, Lars Weisaeth, Universitetet i Oslo, Beverley Raphael, Australian National University, Canberra. Cambridge University Press, 2017. pp 285-297
- Frontline (2003): Ghosts of Rwanda
- The Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training: The Irrepressible Prudence Bushnell
- The Washington Post, On Leadership (2013): Prudence Bushnell on Being a Diplomat