Ambassador and national security advisor Susan E. Rice was born on November 17, 1964 in Washington, D.C. to Lois Dickson Rice and Emmett J. Rice. Rice graduated from the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. in 1982, and received her B.A. degree in history from Stanford University in Stanford, California in 1986. She went on to earn her M.Phil. degree in 1988 and Ph.D. degree in 1990 in international relations, from the New College of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
From 1991 to 1993, Rice worked as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. In 1993, she was appointed director of International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council in President Bill Clinton’s White House, and later continued to serve on the National Security Council as special assistant to the President and senior director for African Affairs. In 1997, Rice moved to the State Department, serving as assistant secretary of State for African Affairs. From 2002 to 2008, Rice was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and became a senior foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Once elected, President Obama nominated Rice to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In 2013, she was appointed national security advisor for President Obama’s second term. After leaving government in 2017, Rice became a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University’s School of International Service and a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She also became a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.
Rice served on numerous boards, including as an independent director of the Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA), Common Sense Media, the Beauvoir School in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She also served on the board of Netflix and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in addition to being a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, American Academy of Diplomacy, and Council on Foreign Relations.
In 2000, Rice was the co-recipient of the White House’s Sam Nelson Drew Memorial Award. In 2017, French President Francois Hollande presented Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations.
Rice and her husband, Ian Cameron, have two children.
Susan E. Rice was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 30, 2017 and December 4, 2017.