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#SPA80for80: Anita McBride, Executive in Residence

Anita McBride
Anita McBride, executive in residence at the School of Public Affairs

Anita McBride serves as Executive in Residence at AU's School of Public Affairs. She applies her experience working with three U.S. presidential administrations, along with a global focus on women's empowerment, human freedom and public diplomacy to direct programming and conferences at the school.

McBride's distinguished career in government began in 1984 with the Reagan administration. From 1987-1992 she was the White House personnel director. From 2001 to 2004, she served President George W. Bush in White House management, at the State Department as senior advisor to the Secretary of State and White House liaison, and as senior advisor in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. She was also a U.S. delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Commission on Human Rights, and the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS. From 2005-2009 she served as chief of staff for First Lady Laura Bush.

After becoming an executive in residence at the School of Public Affairs in 2010, McBride launched The Legacies of America's First Ladies, an initiative and conference series celebrating the historical significance of the "significant others."

"Throughout our nation's history America's first ladies have influenced politics, domestic policy, and global diplomacy," McBride describes. "The attitudes and expectations of the role of First Lady of the United States continue to evolve –an evolution that mirrors the changing status of women in America."

McBride's interest in the role of first ladies has grown beyond the U.S. She co-founded the RAND African First Ladies Initiative and Fellowship program and helped promote the partnership role of African spouses during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014 in Washington, DC as well as a Summit of African First Ladies in Tanzania in 2013. Additionally, she is a long serving member of the US Afghan Women's Council (USAWC) and recently participated in the USAWC's Rising Afghan Women Leaders Initiative (RAWLI) in Doha, Qatar, a March 2014 workshop to promote leadership development for Afghan women. McBride is also a member of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board since 2009 having been appointed first by President Bush and reappointed by President Obama in 2014.

Today, McBride continues to champion human freedom and women's empowerment worldwide. She has participated in several international election observation missions and recently traveled to Ukraine for the October 2014 parliamentary elections. As a delegate with the International Republican Institute, McBride observed Ukrainians in the western part of the country head to the polls, seeking to consolidate democratic gains since the ouster of President Yanukovych last February. Throughout the process of observations, McBride kept viewers abreast of events in real-time through updates via Twitter.


"I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my experience in national government as well as a wide variety of experiences in global issues with SPA and the broader community at American University. AU has provided me with a unique platform to share my knowledge and network with partners both inside and outside the university."