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  • A Day in the Life of Anita McBride 

    Anita is often asked what her job entails as Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University, especially when she’s not planning conferences for the American University First Ladies Initiative. Read below to find out what a typical day in the life of an American University Executive in Residence entails:

    On February 12, the day started off at the office, checking emails and making sure we have our files and power points ready for a full day of presentations and events ahead!

    We took the metro downtown to the National Press Club, where Anita spoke at the American Women Writer’s National Museum’s 2nd Anniversary event. The topic was First Ladies and the Press. She joined with Patricia Krider, the Executive Director of the National First Ladies Library in Canton, OH to discuss how first ladies handled the media. The audience asked many questions after the two presentations and we all learned new and interesting facts about first ladies through history. For example, did you know that Nellie Taft was afraid the press would find out she played poker and drank alcohol? She was first lady during prohibition time and held parties with alcohol at the White House! Did you know that Laura Bush made 24 trips to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina? Not many people do! The media affects a first lady’s legacy in part based on the way they cover – or don’t cover – her activities.

    Anita McBride at the National Press Club

    Anita McBride at the National Press Club

    After the event at the National Press Club, Anita gave a guest lecture in AU Professor Richard Benedetto’s “Politics of Mass Communication” class. Each year Professor Benedetto invites her to come in and talk to his students about first ladies and the press. Anita talked about examples of domestic and global activities first ladies have engaged in, how they were covered by the media, their approval ratings, their relationships with the press, and how the possibility of a woman president would change the role of the first spouse. The students had great questions and Anita looks forward to speaking to the class next semester.

    Anita McBride in Professor Benedetto's class

    Anita McBride in Professor Benedetto’s class

    Immediately following the guest lecture, Anita had a meeting with students interested in joining the US/Afghan Women’s Council Student Fellows program at American University. Anita is the faculty advisor for this student organization which provided students with an opportunity to get involved and raise awareness on campus about US/Afghan relations and issues dealing specifically with women. The students are planning on holding events on campus to help people understand how far Afghan women have come since the fall of the Taliban and how fragile their gains are in this time of the withdrawal of US forces. They will also get involved in research projects with the Council.

    Finally, Anita attended the 2014 DC Democratic Primary Mayoral Debate hosted by the Kennedy Political Union at AU. KPU is a dynamic organization with great leadership and since arriving at AU in 2010, Anita has worked with KPU to help secure speakers and collaborate on events. The mayoral debate was interesting and a was great way to showcase the enthusiastic interest of AU students in public policy and our elected leaders at all levels of government. American University is the only university that was chosen to host one of the primary debates.

    2014 Democratic Primary Mayoral Debate at American University

    2014 Democratic Primary Mayoral Debate at American University

    All in all, it was a busy day! Each day is different, but they are all packed full of fun and interesting activities that we connect to the First Ladies Initiative at AU.

    -Alexandra Thornton

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    Tags: , , First Lady, kpu, national press club, students   

     
     
  • The Library of Congress National Book Festival – Sept. 21 & 22, 2013 

    The Library’s estimate for attendance this year was about 200,000 people

    The Library’s estimate for attendance this year was about 200,000 people

    The Library of Congress National Book Festival is one of the legacies of First Lady Laura Bush. A former librarian and public school teacher, Mrs. Bush made reading initiatives for children a top priority of the Bush administration and held literary symposia and author-related events throughout her time in office. The National Book Festival is perhaps the best known of her many initiatives to promote books and reading.

    First Lady Laura Bush greets festival-goers in 2001 (Library of Congress Information Bulletin, October 2001)

    First Lady Laura Bush greets festival-goers in 2001 (Library of Congress Information Bulletin, October 2001)

    Mrs. Bush launched her first book festival in 1996 as first lady of Texas. The Texas Book Festival was so successful that when her husband, George W. Bush, became president, she decided to use her platform as U.S. first lady to introduce the book festival tradition to the entire nation. With the Library of Congress as partner, the first National Book Festival took place on September 8, 2001. The Library estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 people attended it.

    Mary Jordan of the Washington Post interviewed Linda Ronstadt about her memoir and asked about touring in the freewheeling ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘My addiction has always been reading,’ said Ronstadt.

    Festival-goers wait for a book signing by Linda Ronstadt. Mary Jordan of the Washington Post interviewed Ronstadt about her memoir and asked about touring in the freewheeling ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘My addiction has always been reading,’ said Ronstadt.

    The Library of Congress National Book Festival is a free event that takes place on the National Mall each year on a weekend in early autumn. This year’s festival was held on September 21st and 22nd. Participants had the opportunity to listen to in-depth interviews with authors like Linda Ronstadt, Lynda Barry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Khaled Hosseini and others. A tent was on premises where festival-goers could buy books to have them signed.

    -Lisa Moscatiello, Research Assistant

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    Tags: First Lady, Laura Bush, National Book Festival   

     
     
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