Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice was born on November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama. She moved to Denver when her father received a position as the assistant dean at the University of Denver where she began classes when she was just 15 years old. Although she intended to become a concert pianist, her plans changed after taking a class on international politics taught by Josef Korbel, the father of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Rice received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver in 1974 and her M.A. from University of Notre Dame in 1975. She first worked at the State Department during the Carter administration as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Rice received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. English, she speaks Russian, French, and Spanish

After receiving her PhD, Condoleezza Rice became a professor of Political Science at Stanford University where she won the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. While at Stanford, she served as Stanford University’s Provost for six years (1993-1999), a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. In 1986, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Because she was a specialist on the Soviet Union, she served in the George H.W. Bush Administration as Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council and as a Special Assistant to the President for National Security affairs. She helped to develop the President’s and Secretary of State James Baker’s policies in favor of German reunification.

During George W. Bush’s election campaign in 2000, Rice took a one year leave of absence from Stanford to serve as his foreign policy Advisor. In December of the same year, she was chosen to serve as the Assistant to the President for National Security affairs (also known as the National Security Advisor) and became the first woman and African American to hold the post. While serving her appointment, she became one of the most outspoken supporters of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She came under fire in March 2004 when she refused to publicly testify under oath before the National Commission of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission). When she did appear before the commission, she became the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy. She also became the first National Security Advisor to campaign for an incumbent president. On November 16, 2004 President Bush nominated her to be Secretary of State. She was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of State by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2005. With this confirmation Rice became the first African American woman to hold this top foreign policy position.

Recently Forbes Magazine dubbed Condoleezza Rice “the most powerful woman in the world.�? With the approval of President Bush, Rice has pushed for diplomatic activism in her role as Secretary of State. Notably, in her confirmation hearings, Rice voiced her emphasis on the public aspects of diplomacy and the importance that public diplomacy should play in the department of state: “If our public diplomacy efforts are to succeed, we cannot close ourselves off from the world. And if I am confirmed, public diplomacy will be a top priority for me and for the professionals I lead.�? Her emphasis on the importance of diplomacy has been underscored by her recent efforts to end the genocide in the Darfur region and her approach towards and encouragement of the six-party talks to disarm North Korea of its suspected nuclear weapons. Rice has also spent more time abroad in her first year and a half as Secretary of State than any other in history, visiting most regions of the world. Moreover, she has become a strong advocate of the undersecretary of state Karen Hughes and pushed for increased resources to be dedicated to public diplomacy initiatives. Rice’s excellent relations with President Bush, which developed throughout her service to the administrations, have strongly increased her influence and power in the conduct of American foreign policy.

Books and Articles

Rice, Condoleezza with Zelikow, Philip D. Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft. Harvard University Press. 1995.

Rice, Condoleezza & Dallin, Alexander (eds.) The Gorbachev Era. Stanford Alumni Association, 1986.

Rice, Condoleezza (1984). Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army. Princeton University Press, 1984.

Rice, Condoleezza. Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest. Foreign Affairs, January/February 2000. Available online:

Further Reading

Felix, Antonia. Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story. Newmarket Press, 2002.

Ditchfield, Christin. Condoleezza Rice: National Security Advisor (Great Life Stories). Franklin Watts, 2003.

Wade, Linda R. Condoleezza Rice: A Real-Life Reader Biography (Real-Life Reader Biography). Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2002.

Ryan, Bernard, Jr. Condoleezza Rice: National Security Advisor and Musician (Ferguson Career Biographies). Facts on File, 2003

Wade, Mary Dodson. Condoleezza Rice: Being The Best. Millbrook Press Lerner Books, 2003.

Richter, Paul. Rice Reshaping Foreign Policy. Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2005.

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