Prudence Bushnell

Prudence BushnellAuthor, Ambassador, Deputy Assistant Secretary

Ambassador (Ret.) Prudence Bushnell is the author of the recently published story, “Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 US Embassy Bombings.” In it she recounts policy and leadership lessons acquired as a U.S. foreign service officer in India, Senegal, Kenya, Guatemala and Washington, D.C.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Africa Bureau (1998-96) and Ambassador to the Republics of Kenya and Guatemala (1996-2002) she practiced the leadership she “preached” as a management and leadership trainer before joining government service. Her efforts as a Washington policy-maker 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. As ambassador to Kenya, Pru led the community’s response to the 1998 Al Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which was recognized with the Department’s Award for Heroism. Glamour magazine named her one of the Top Ten Women of the Year and Vanity Fair magazine featured her in its Hall of Fame in 1998. During her final State Department assignment as Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute, she received the Service to America Career Achievement award (2004). After leaving the Foreign Service, Pru founded the Levitt Leadership Institute at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. She received the Rising Voice of Women Award from International Women’s Associates of Chicago in 2010 and was cited as one of the “20 All Time Greatest Feds” by Government Executive Magazine in 2011.

Pru was born in Washington, DC and raised in Germany, France, Pakistan and Iran, while her father was a member of the US Diplomatic Corp. She holds a BS from the University of Maryland, a MS from Russell Sage College and three honorary doctorates. She has written articles on leadership for the Foreign Service Journal and a co-authored “Leadership in Disaster” for the Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry, Cambridge Press, 2017.