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05/20/2021

Anita B. McBride

FLARE Member-at-large

Anita B. McBride is a top-level authority on first ladies impact and their legacies, White House operations, presidential transitions, and global policies on education, human rights and women’s empowerment.

 With service spanning three presidential administrations as a White House advisor including chief of staff to a first lady, and a public diplomacy advisor at the US State Department and human rights and women’s empowerment advocate, the influence of Anita McBride’s body of work is recognized in Washington and around the globe.  Since 2010 she serves as Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC, where she established and leads the First Ladies Initiative, a nationally recognized  convening authority of experts and institutions, to promote the legacies of America’s first ladies and their historical influence on politics, policy and global diplomacy.    McBride also serves on the Advisory Council of the University’s Sine Institute of Policy and Politics.

With a front row seat to the powerful platform of a first lady, including directing first lady Laura Bush's travel to 67 countries in four years to support U.S. foreign policy objectives in human rights, women’s empowerment, global health and education, and human freedom, McBride also co-founded the RAND African First Ladies Initiative and Fellowship program, working with African first ladies as they championed change in their countries and enhanced the effectiveness of their staffs and offices.   

McBride is active in numerous cultural and historical non-profit organizations including the Board of the White House Historical Association, where she Chairs the Education Committee. She also serves on the Government Relations committee of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission (America250) and served more than a decade on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board including as Vice Chair and Chair.  She was a consultant to HBO’s Emmy-award winning series, Veep; and has contributed to numerous documentaries and special series  on Presidents and First Ladies including for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Portrait Gallery, C-SPAN, National Geographic and The History Channel. She is also a frequent speaker, panelist, moderator, print source contributor and news commentator on first ladies and the operations and history of the White House and its occupants. 

She is currently working on the first college textbook on First Ladies for Cognella Press with fellow FLARE founders Diana Carlin and Nancy Smith.  In addition to numerous op-eds her published works include:  Southern First Ladies: Culture and Place in White House History (2020), Chapter 18, "Laura Bush: Texan by Nature"; A Companion to First Ladies (2016), Chapter 38: Laura Welch Bush: Strength and Serenity in Turbulent Times; The First Ladies - White House History - The Quarterly Journal of the White House Historical Association (Spring 2017), Number 45, "The Office of First Lady: Managing Public Duties, Private Lives, and Changing Expectations."    For more information on McBride's work please click here.  

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