On the Importance of Civil Servants in Democracy

As the country thinks about the role of public sector servants in diplomacy this fall with discussions about trade, war, peace and the environment we want to focus on one civil servant and their take on the importance of civil servants in a democracy. Prudence Bushnell. She often noted:

“Remember there are no healthy democracies in the world where there is not a competent, independent, civil service.”

Prudence served as a US Ambassador to Kenya and Guatemala. Click here to learn more about her and her new book Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings, which discusses her perspectives on the US Embassy bombings and the role of foreign policy and those who lead as diplomats in the public sector. She was also deputy assistant secretary for African affairs during the genocide in Rwanda and charged with the day to day handling of that crisis.

What We’re Reading:

Responsibilities of Leadership:

“When your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help address the world you have helped create,” Write Smith and Browne in their new book Tools and Weapons the Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age. The book takes on how leaders are responsible for the systems that they create.

This read about leadership in the private sector pairs nicely with a recent article on Thrive global discussing The Value of Sustainable Leadership Practices in the public sector noting, “Public leaders in the US are typically rewarded for cleaning up after a crisis, but not for preventing problems that would have avoided the mess in the first place.”