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Susan Rice

Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and National Security Advisor to President Obama

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Susan Rice

Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and National Security Advisor to President Obama


Ambassador Susan E. Rice served President Barack Obama as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013 to Jan. 20, 2017.  In that role, she oversaw the National Security Council Staff, chaired the Cabinet level National Security Principals Committee, provided the President's daily national security briefing, and was responsible for the coordination and integration of all aspects of the Administration's foreign and national security policy, intelligence, and military efforts.

From January 2009 until assuming the role of National Security Advisor in July 2013, Ambassador Rice served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's Cabinet. At the United Nations, she worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world's common security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights. Under Ambassador Rice's leadership, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations helped win the stiffest UN sanctions ever against Iran and North Korea, unprecedented action to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, support for life-saving interventions in Libya and Cote d'Ivoire, cooperation on the referendum for independence in Southern Sudan, vital UN assistance in Afghanistan and Iraq, stalwart support for Israel’s security and legitimacy, and progress on reform of the flawed UN Human Rights Council. In a world of 21st-century threats that pay no heed to borders, rebuilding a strong basis for international cooperation has helped the United States tackle its foreign policy priorities and make the American people safer.

Prior to serving as U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Rice served as Senior Advisor for National Security Affairs on the Obama for America Campaign and later 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 U.S. policy for 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and oversaw the management of 43 U.S. Embassies and more than 5,000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees. 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. From 1993-1995, she served as the Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff. Previously, Ambassador Rice was a management consultant with McKinsey and Company in Toronto, Canada, and served on numerous boards, including the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), National Democratic Institute 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 was named junior Phi Beta Kappa and was a Truman Scholar.  She graduated as valedictorian from the National Cathedral School for Girls in 1982, where was president of the student body and she played varsity tennis and basketball.  Ambassador Rice is a native of Washington, DC, married to Ian Cameron, and the proud mother of two teenage children.

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.

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