Held in the Burns Auditorium at the Department of State, panelists included both ambassadors and 4 embassy employees who experienced the attacks firsthand in 1998 (2 from each embassy).

Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the East Africa Embassy Bombings

Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the East Africa Embassy Bombings 1024 576

Twenty years ago on a summer morning, two U.S. embassies in Africa fell victim to coordinated and nearly simultaneous truck bombs – later linked to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. Fifty-six U.S. government employees, contractors, and family members were killed. From the ashes, countless survivors pulled together and rebuilt strengthened and resilient communities.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (formerly the National Museum of American Diplomacy), working in collaboration with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell and Ambassador John Lange, hosted an event where survivors related their personal stories, acts of courage, and opportunities for leadership.

An audience member asks the panel a question from the audience.

An audience member asks a question to the panel during the discussion on the 20th anniversary of the East Africa bombings. Courtesy of the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

Held in the Burns Auditorium at the U.S. Department of State, panelists included both ambassadors and four embassy employees who experienced the attacks firsthand in 1998 (two from each embassy). They shared how they served their communities in the face of the ultimate tragedy. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). In conjunction with the commemoration, AFSA published personal accounts from several survivors from each embassy in their July/August 2018 edition of the Foreign Service Journal.

In opening remarks, Mrs. Susan Pompeo expressed the support of her husband, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. USAID Administrator Mark Green, who was U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from 2007-2009,  expressed the strength of the relationships we have today between the United States, Kenya, and Tanzania. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy reiterated the themes of remembrance, reflection, and resilience as the countries look ahead to continuing the partnerships and bonds that have been strengthened despite the attacks.

A visitor views the temporary exhibit of items related to the East Africa bombings

A visitor views the temporary exhibit of items related to the East Africa bombings in the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s collection. Courtesy of the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

Take a look at more photos of the event.

On September 23rd, 2018, C-SPAN aired a segment on the NMAD’s East Africa Bombings exhibit, complemented with interviews with Ambassadors Bushnell and Lange.

Watch C-SPAN’s “American Artifacts: 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings in Africa Preview”