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A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History:

Pakistan and the Population Problem in the Early 1960s

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Duty and Danger:

A Diplomatic Spouse Targeted For Assassination In Algeria See more Duty and Danger

Search Our U.S. Diplomatic Oral History Collection – – The World’s Largest!


ADST is proud to host the world's largest collection of U.S. diplomatic oral history.

Featured History:

Ambassador Shirley Elizabeth Barnes

Ambassador Shirley Barnes joined the Foreign Service in 1983. She served as Ambassador to Madagascar from 1998 to 2001 and as Director for the Office of Western European Affairs from 1996 to 1998.

Some excerpts:  

On the how she was introduced to the Foreign Service  . . . “had learned about the Foreign Service when I was in the Congo with the Ford Foundation. I’d been in the Congo and started getting into the diplomatic world and I liked it. This is nice. I met people from different institutes including a lot of contracted groups and administrations which I knew associated with the Ford Foundation in finances. We met lots of people from the U.S. embassy. A lot of activity centered on USAID giving loans, grants, etc. to the National School administration and a lot of the other multinational organizations; the donors as they’re called now were involved. So it was always, kind of an international setting that we found ourselves in whether we liked it or not."

Ambassador Barnes on her appointment as Ambassador to Madagascar "Well before I worked with the State Department I was at the African-American Institute, which is now called the Africa-American Institute. In AAI I worked in what was known as the Women’s Africa Committee. But there was a group–they used to bring groups over on what they called “leadership training programs.” These were women who were either leaders or potential leaders that were selected to come to the United States. They were programmed around the United States to meet with women leaders either through established organizations like the girl scouts. These women leaders, these African leaders were programmed. They would select a country every year to bring these women leaders and we did have the Malagasy women came over as a group. So I had some idea or notion of, there was a Madagascar and where it was located and more or less what the people looked like and some historical background. But that was just put into the recesses of my memory. So literally I had to educate myself on where it was. I knew it was off of the coast of East Africa. But to really become oriented ... I now know as much about Madagascar I think, or more than most Malagasies do."

Explore Ambassador Barnes' full oral history here.


For a list of oral histories by NAME, click here.  ADVANCED SEARCH:   click here.


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Poor Richard’s Podcasts


Podcasts are a great way to experience ADST's oral history collection --  the world's largest collection of U.S. diplomatic oral history.

Check out our featured podcast -- Mission Unspeakable: When North Koreans Tried to Kill the President of South Korea -- and the rest of our podcasts on either of the links below.

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Featured Publications: “The Man in the Arena” and “Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience”

by Rodger McDaniel

The Man in the Arena offers a political history of the United States from the late 1930s to 1980, told through the experiences of a U.S. senator who was deeply involved in the most crucial issues of the times and among the century's most renowned liberal senators. At the height of American liberalism, Gale McGee was elected to the U.S. Senate from conservative Republican Wyoming in 1958 and reelected twice. From 1977 to 1981 he served as Jimmy Carter's U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.


“Gale McGee was indeed an extraordinary person. He had three distinct careers and loved them all equally. During his service as a professor, a U.S. senator, and an ambassador, his powerful intellect and eloquence reached the young minds in his classroom and reached out across the globe, where he shared his energy, knowledge, and brilliance––all to the common good.”

                        —from the foreword by former U.S. senator Alan K. Simpson

Click HERE to order "The Man in the Arena" through ADST.

by Prudence Bushnell

On August 7, 1998, al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya, where Prudence Bushnell was U.S. ambassador, and Tanzania. Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience is her account of what happened, how it happened, and its impact twenty years later. Congress held no hearings about the bombings, the national security community held no after-action reviews, and the mandatory Accountability Review Board focused on narrow security issues. Then on September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. homeland, and the East Africa bombings became little more than a footnote. This book is Pru Bushnell’s account of her quest to understand how these bombings could have happened, given the scrutiny bin Laden and his cell in Nairobi had been getting since 1996 from special groups throughout the U.S. intelligence community.

“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...vividly 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.”

—Gen. ANTHONY C. ZINNI, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

Click HERE to order "Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings" through ADST.

For more ADST publications:  click here.



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