Ambassador Susan E. Rice
United States National Security Advisor, 2013 - 2017
Call 424.288.2898

Biography Print Bio

Ambassador Susan E. Rice is currently Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the School of International Service, American University, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Previously, Ambassador Rice served President Barack Obama as National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.  In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council Staff of approximately 400 defense, diplomatic, intelligence and development experts.  She chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the President daily national security briefings, and was responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the Administration’s foreign and national security policy, including all diplomatic, intelligence, homeland security and military efforts.

As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet (2009-2013), Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world’s security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.  In a world of 21st Century threats that pay no heed to borders, Ambassador Rice helped rebuild an effective basis for international cooperation that strengthened the United States’ ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives and made the American people safer.  As US Ambassador to the UN, she marshalled and oversaw all U.S. contributions to the UN, which account for 22% of its regular budget and 28% of its peacekeeping budget, and championed the UN management and reform agenda.

From 2002-2008, Rice was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she conducted research and published widely on U.S. foreign policy, transnational security threats, weak states, global poverty and development.

Ambassador Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001. In that role, she formulated and implemented U.S. policy towards 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and oversaw the bureau’s annual operating budget of $100 million and almost $800 million assistance budget.  She was responsible for the management of 43 U.S. Embassies and more than 5,000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees. Rice was co-recipient of the White House’s 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between states.  From 1993-1997, she served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, as well as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff.

Rice began her career as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company where she served natural resource, industrial and some consumer companies.

Ambassador Rice has previously served on numerous boards, including as an outside Director of the Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA), as well as Common Sense Media, the Beauvoir School in Washington DC, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  She is currently on the board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rice received her Master’s degree (M.Phil.) and Ph.D (D.Phil.) in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.  She was awarded the Chatham House-British International Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the United Kingdom in the field of International Relations in 1990. Ambassador Rice received her B.A. in History with honors from Stanford University in 1986, where she was junior Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar.  In 2017, French President Francois Hollande presented Ambassador Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

A native of Washington DC, Ambassador Rice is married to Ian Cameron, and they have two children.  She is a sports enthusiast, avid tennis player, and retired basketball player.

Speech Topics

  • National Security & Foreign Policy
    Ambassador Rice has served two Presidents in senior positions in National Security policy-making over the span of almost 25 years. She has deep knowledge of all aspects of National Security decision-making, the role of the President and the NSC, as well as military, defense and intelligence policy. She offers unique insights and extensive experience in formulating and implementing U.S. policy related to: China; the Asia-Pacific; Europe, NATO and the EU; Russia; the Arab world and the Middle East; South Asia; Africa; Latin America and Canada; the global terrorist threat, including efforts to defeat ISIL, Al Qaeda and their affiliates; Homeland Security; refugee policy; climate change; global development; global health security and pandemic threats; and non-proliferation.
  • U.S. Leadership in the World
    As America’s representative to the world at the UN, Ambassador Rice has unparalleled experience in complex diplomacy, high stakes negotiations, public affairs, and shaping international outcomes to serve U.S. interests. Through such work as negotiating tough sanctions against Iran and North Korea and winning international support for U.S. values of freedom, equality and tolerance, Ambassador Rice has collaborated with and confronted Russia and China, while working closely with America’s key partners the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and other allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia. For years, she has led U.S. diplomatic efforts and crafted the strategies essential to advancing U.S. interests through partnership and cooperation with other nations, where possible, and the use of hard power when necessary. Ambassador Rice is expert in analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. leadership and America’s key partners in a rapidly evolving and unsettled 21st Century world.
  • Now What?
    The election and early policy choices of President Trump have unsettled America’s friends and potentially yielded advantages to America’s adversaries. Ambassador Rice offers candid and incisive perspective on the key questions of the day: Where is the U.S. headed? What are the implications for the Post World War II liberal international order that America has built and led? What are the risks and implications of rising nationalist, populist movements in Europe, America, and elsewhere? Might we see the end of America’s alliances, the free, open trading system, respect for democracy, free press and human rights for all, as cornerstones of U.S. policy? What would these changes portend for America’s security, prosperity and global standing?
  • Leadership Lessons, Inspiration & Empowerment
    Throughout her life, Ambassador Rice has achieved extraordinary academic and professional success in institutions and fields where African Americans are few and women are still in the minority. Happily married for 25 years, Ambassador Rice is the proud mother of two teenagers with very distinct characters and opinions, and was a devoted daughter to her parents, whom she helped care for attentively as they suffered illness and death during her tenure at the highest levels of government. Committed to inspiring and motivating the next generation, as well as women and girls, Ambassador Rice openly shares her personal story and the lessons she has learned and imparted on: the keys to successful leadership of teams and complex organizations; work/family balance; the value of public service; the challenges faced by women and minorities in professional leadership positions; and the importance of diversity in American society.
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