Black History Month – Day 10 Spotlight: Ambassador Susan E. Rice
Ambassador Susan E. Rice serves as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and is a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. She was unanimously confirmed to this position by the U.S. Senate on January 22, 2009.
Ambassador Rice believes that the United Nations has a vital role in advancing international peace and security and is committed to working to make the United Nations a more perfect forum to address the most pressing global challenges: to promote peace, to support development and democracy, and to strengthen respect for human rights. She has outlined four primary areas of focus: strengthening the capacity of the UN to undertake complex peace operations effectively; addressing climate change; preventing the spread or use of nuclear weapons and working to meet the goals of the Nonproliferation Treaty; and combating poverty, disease, violence and genocide.
In nominating Ambassador Rice, President Barack Obama said, “Susan has been a close and trusted advisor. As in previous Administrations, the UN Ambassador will serve as a member of my cabinet and integral member of my team. Her background as a scholar, on the National Security Council, and Assistant Secretary of State will serve our nation well at the United Nations. Susan knows that the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work. She shares my belief that the UN is an indispensable — and imperfect — forum. She will carry the message that our commitment to multilateral action must be coupled with a commitment to reform. We need the UN to be more effective as a venue for collective action — against terror and proliferation; climate change and genocide; poverty and disease.”
From February 2007 through November 2008, Ambassador Rice served as a Senior Advisor for National Security Affairs on the Obama for America Campaign. She later served on the Advisory Board of the Obama-Biden Transition and as co-chair of its policy working group on national security. From 2002-2009, she was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution where she focused on U.S. foreign policy, transnational security threats, weak states, global poverty and development.
From 1997 to 2001, Ambassador Rice was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. In this position she formulated and implemented overall U.S. policy for 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, including political, economic, security and humanitarian issues. As Assistant Secretary, she oversaw the management of 43 U.S. Embassies and over 5,000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees, with a bureau-operating budget of over $100 million and a program budget of approximately $160 million annually. In 2000, Ambassador 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 1995-1997, Ambassador Rice served as Special Assistant to President William J. Clinton and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House. Prior to this position, she served as the Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff from 1993 until 1995.
Previously, Ambassador Rice was a management consultant with McKinsey and Company and also served on numerous boards, including the National Democratic Institute, the Partnership for Public Service and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Ambassador Rice received her M.Phil (Master’s degree) and D.Phil. (Ph.D) 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. Ambassador Rice received her B.A. in History with honors from Stanford University where she graduated junior Phi Beta Kappa and was a Truman Scholar. Ambassador Rice is married and has two children.
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