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With more than two decades of foreign affairs experience, Susan Rice has used her knowledge to serve as an adviser to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Rice developed an interest in diplomacy soon after graduating from college and went on to become the National Security Adviser for the Obama Administration.
Rice was born on November 17, 1964, in Washington, D.C., to a family that was well-known among the Washington elite. Her father was an economics professor and her mother was a researcher and scholar. Politics were a common topic in the Rice household and her mother’s job often brought many notable figures to the home, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
After graduating as class valedictorian, Rice attended Stanford University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1986. She furthered her studies at the University of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. She earned her degrees in international relations and completed her studies in 1990. Rice moved to Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and began working as an international management consultant.
The couple lived in Canada until Rice accepted a position with the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., under President Bill Clinton. Rice began working as the director of international organizations and peacekeeping, and in 1995 she became the president and senior director for African affairs.
In 1997, Rice’s mentor and friend, Madeleine Albright, recommended her for the post of assistant secretary for African affairs. This appointment made her one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state ever. Her ability to handle older male leaders was often questioned by elder politicians who disagreed with her appointment, but she soon began to build her own reputation.
Despite finding success in previous roles, Rice became a senior fellow in foreign policy for the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization. Her research focused on U.S. foreign policy, weak and failing states, as well as the implications of global poverty and transnational security threats.
Rice found herself back in government in 2008 when she was nominated to be the U.N. ambassador to the United States. She was the first African American woman to be the United States’ ambassador to the U.N. After winning a second term, President Obama named Rice the national security adviser in 2013.
Following her tenure as the national security adviser, Rice announced that she would be joining the board of directors for popular streaming service, Netflix, in 2018. She published her memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, in 2019.