Susan Rice Profile - Biography of Susan Rice

Susan E. Rice. Courtesy Brookings Institution


Susan Elizabeth Rice


Nominated as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by then President-elect Barack Obama on December 1, 2008


November 17, 1964 in Washington, DC


Graduated National Cathedral School in Washington, DC in 1982


Stanford University, B.A. in History, 1986.


Rhodes Scholar, New College, Oxford University, M.Phil., 1988

Oxford University, D.Phil. (Ph.D) in International Relations, 1990

Family Background & Influences:

Susan was born to Emmett J. Rice, Senior VP at the National Bank of Washington and Lois Dickson Rice, Senior VP for Government Affairs at Control Data Corporation.

A Fulbright Scholar who served with the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII, Emmett integrated the Berkeley Fire Department as its first black fireman while earning a Ph.D. at the University of California; taught economics at Cornell as the only black assistant professor; and was a governor of the Federal Reserve from 1979-1986.

A Radcliffe graduate, Lois was a former VP of the College Board and chaired an advisory council of the National Science Foundation.

High School & College Years:

At the elite private girls' school that Rice attended, she was nicknamed Spo (short for Sportin'); she played three sports, was student council president and valedictorian. At home, the family entertained distinguished friends such as Madeleine Albright, who would later become the first female Secretary of State.

At Stanford, Rice studied hard yet made her mark via political activism. To protest apartheid, she established a fund for alumni gifts with a catch - the funds could only be accessed if the university divested from companies conducting business with South Africa, or if apartheid were abolished.

Professional Career:

Senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Obama, 2005-08

Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Global Economy & Development, Brookings Institution, 2002-present

Senior adviser for National Security Affairs, Kerry-Edwards campaign, 2004

Managing Director & Principal of Intellibridge International, 2001-02

Management consultant, McKinsey & Company, 1991-93

Clinton Administration:

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1997-2001

Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council (NSC), 1995-97

Director for International Organizations & Peacekeeping, NSC, 1993-95

Political Career:

While working on the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis, an aide encouraged Rice to consider the National Security Council as a future career path. She began her stint with the NSC in peacekeeping and was soon promoted to senior director for African affairs.

When she was named Assistant Secretary of State for Africa by President Bill Clinton at age 32, she became one of the youngest ever to hold that position. Her responsibilities included overseeing the actions of more than 40 nations and 5000 foreign service officials.

Her appointment was regarded with skepticism by some US bureaucrats who cited her youth and inexperience; in Africa, concerns over cultural differences and her ability to deal effectively with traditional African male heads of state were raised. Yet Rice's skill as a charming but firm negotiator and her unflagging determination have aided her in difficult situations. Even critics acknowledge her strengths; one prominent Africa scholar has called her dynamic, a quick study, and good on her feet.

If confirmed as US ambassador, Susan Rice will be the second-youngest ambassador to the UN.

Honors & Awards:

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.

Awarded the Chatham House-British International Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the UK in the field of International Relations.

Personal Life:

Susan Rice married Ian Cameron on September 12, 1992 in Washington, DC; the two met while at Stanford. Cameron is executive producer of ABC News's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." The couple have two young children.


Berman, Russell. "Meet Obama's 'Tenacious,' 'Take Charge' Dr. Rice.", 28 January 2008.
Brant, Martha. " Into Africa." Stanford Magazine at, January/February 2000.
"Brookings Experts: Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice.", retrieved 1 December 2008.
"Emmett J. Rice, Education of an Economist: From Fulbright Scholar to the Federal Reserve Board, 1951-1979." University of California Black Alumni Series, transcript of an interview conducted 18 May 1984.
"Stanford Alumni: Black Community Services Center Hall of Fame.", retrieved 1 December 2008.
"Times Topics: Susan E. Rice.", retrieved 1 December 2008.
"WEDDINGS; Susan E. Rice, Ian Cameron." New York Times, 13 September 1992.