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Fellow in Residence, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, Department of Government, American University

Anita B. McBride is executive-in-residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. She directs programming and national conferences on the legacies of America’s first ladies (the First Ladies Initiative) and their historical influence on politics, policy, and global diplomacy.

McBride's White House service spans two decades and three presidential administrations. McBride previously served as assistant to President George W. Bush and chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009, directing the staff’s work on the wide variety of domestic and global initiatives in which Mrs. Bush was involved. She had primary responsibility for the First Lady’s efforts to support US foreign policy objectives in human rights, women’s empowerment, global health and human freedom. She directed Mrs. Bush’s travel to 67 countries in 4 years including historic visits to Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Thai-Burma border. She served, as director of White House Personnel under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and as director of the U.S. Speaker's Bureau at the United States Information Agency.

Also under President George W. Bush, McBride served as a special assistant for White House Management; as senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Organizations and as the State Department's White House liaison.

McBride co-founded the RAND African First Ladies Initiative and Fellowship program, partnering with Africa’s first ladies to champion change for health and education, and to train their staff and advisors in strategies for establishing and managing an effective First Lady’s office.

McBride is an advisor to the George W. Bush Institute as well as a strategic consultant to global non-profit organizations. She is a member of several organizations, including the US Afghan Women's Council, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and the White House Historical Association.


  • –present
    CCPS Fellow in Residence, Department of Government, American University