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Check out our FEATURED ORAL HISTORY: Joyce E. Leader
Ambassador Joyce E. Leader has played many a role in the development of American foreign policy. She served as Ambassador to Guinea from 1999-2000 and Associate Director for Education for the Peace Corps in Zaire from 1976-1979, amongst other positions.
On Shaba invasions I and II: "Twice while I was there, Shaba was invaded by people coming from Angola. They were generally people who had fled when Mobutu had taken over, somehow felt that they had to flee for their lives. They reconstituted themselves as rebel groups and had recourse to arms and came into Zaire. The first year, it affected my volunteers in Kamina. Kamina was an important location because there was a big airport there and the Americans, probably prompted by Shaba I, turned that into a very big base in Central Africa. I had been there just before the war started and then I went down to Lubumbashi and we called our volunteers into Lubumbashi. I went down there and talked with all of them. They felt that they wanted to stay in Zaire but they wanted to go to a different place. I reassigned most of them."
On reopening the Kigali Embassy: "I started my work as a deputy director in AF/W (Office of West African Affairs) in July. But at the beginning of August our ambassador, David Rawson, went 63 back to do an assessment of whether we should be reopening our embassy. This was after the killing, the genocide had stopped, the RPF Tutsis had captured Kigali, they had won the war militarily, the Hutu government was defeated, and had actually run into exile and taken a million people with them into Zaire. In the refugee camps in Zaire, cholera broke out and so now we are ready to respond. Now we have a humanitarian situation and we respond by sending in the military to set up some kind of safe water to stop the cholera from spreading. The embassy flag was raised and the military set up its headquarters at the airport in Kigali. But the ambassador had to come home because he didn’t expect to just start work out there, he was only on a reconnaissance mission. So they asked me to go back and I went from the middle until the end of August. I would say that has to be one of the hardest two weeks of my life, going back and finding a city that was totally emptied of most of the people I knew."
Read more about Joyce E. Leader HERE.
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TERRORISM, BETRAYAL, AND RESILIENCE: MY STORY OF THE 1998 U.S. EMBASSY BOMBINGS
by PRUDENCE BUSHNELL
“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 ROBERT E. GRIBBIN III (Ret.)”
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. She tracks national security strategies and assumptions about terrorism and the Muslim world that failed to keep us safe in 1998 and continue today. In this hard-hitting, no-holds-barred account she reveals what led to poor decisions in Washington and demonstrates how diplomacy and leadership going forward will be our country’s most potent defense.
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