Ambassador Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Service Award.
From 2006-2009, he served concurrently as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in India from 2003-2006, where he was named the worldwide DCM of the Year by the State Department.
Most recently, from 2013-2016, he was the US Ambassador to Indonesia, where he focused on building stronger business and educational ties between the US and Indonesia, while also developing cooperation to help Indonesia reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ambassador Blake has held a wide variety of key State Department positions as well, including Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001-2003, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Department of State from 2000-2001, and Senior Desk Officer responsible for economic and political relations with Turkey from 1998-2000. He has also served in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.
He is currently Chairman of the Board of the US-Indonesia Society, and he is a member of the board of the Asia Foundation and the Bhutan Foundation.
Ambassador Blake holds a BA from Harvard College, and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
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.
Douglas Herbert launched his journalism career from the bedroom of his childhood home on Manhattan's Upper East Side, hand-writing the Sunday weekly, House News, for a readership of two: his mom and dad. A decade and a half later, in the early 1990s, Douglas landed his first foreign assignment, drinking his way through the vineyards of southwest France as a writer and researcher for Harvard University's student-published Let's Go travel guide. Douglas subsequently freelanced in the Moscow bureau of The New York Times, chronicling the chaotic reality of a New Russia in the wake of Soviet collapse. After reporting stints in Tallinn, Estonia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Douglas joined CNN, initially at its financial desk in New York City and, later, at CNN International in London, covering the European Union and EU expansion. Today, Douglas is a Paris-based commentator on world affairs for France 24, an international news channel that he joined at its launch in 2006. Douglas has reported from nearly a dozen G7 and G20 summits, from Cannes to Québec to Northern Ireland; UN General Assemblies; the 2016 US presidential election campaign, from the national party conventions to Donald Trump's inauguration; and on the Ukrainian conflict. Douglas's guests on the France 24 Interview show have included Tony Blair, Samantha Power, Garry Kasparov and Stephen Breyer. For the past six years, Douglas has taught a graduate-level fact-checking course at Paris's Sciences Po Journalism School. Last November, he spent a week in Tashkent, Uzbekistan training a new generation of TV journalists in live reporting and breaking news. An avid Russophile, Douglas received his Master's Degree in Russian Studies from Harvard University. If Douglas could banish one term from the English lexicon, it would be: Fake News.
Ambassador Robert E. Whitehead retired in December, 2016 after a 33-year career in the United States Department of State. His final posting was U.S. Ambassador to the Togolese Republic. Prior to that he served as Chief of Mission/Charge d'affaires in Khartoum, Republic of Sudan from 2009-2012 and as the first U.S. Consul General in Juba, South Sudan in 2006. During his career. Whitehead served in an array of positions in mostly African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (then called Zaire), Zambia and Zimbabwe. He undertook assignments of varying length in four other Central Africa countries, including a period as Charge in Kigali, Rwanda in 1994 after the civil war.
Whitehead also served in Romania, Guyana and Belize and was twice the Director of the African Office of Intelligence and Research and was once as Senior Inspector in the Office of the Inspector General. Ambassador Whitehead received a B.A. at Taylor University and an M.A. as a university fellow at Southern Illinois University. He also attended the IFCADD language school in Brussels, Belgium. In the late 1970s he was a volunteer professor and subsequently a Fulbright Lecturer at the (then) National University of Zaire campus in Bukavu, Kivu Province. He is fluent in French and Romanian.
Over the span of his career, he received the Department's Meritorious and Superior Honor wards. In retirement, he has remained on the active rolls of the Department of State and has served stints as Charge d'affaries in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. When not working, he resides in Ft. Pierce, FL with his wife Agathe and enjoys sports, reading, writing and volunteer work in continuing adult education. The Whiteheads have a son, Wesley, who is employed by the Department of State.
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