Many people wonder if Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice are related, given their similar last names and their prominent roles in American politics and diplomacy. Both women have served as the U.S. National Security Advisor and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, among other positions. However, despite their shared surname and achievements, Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice are not related at all. Here is what we know about their backgrounds, careers, and views.
Who is Susan Rice?
Susan Rice was born in Washington D.C. in 1964 to a well-educated and influential African American family. Her father, Emmett J. Rice, was an economist and a governor of the Federal Reserve System. Her mother, Lois Dickson Rice, was a corporate executive and an education policy expert. Susan Rice graduated from Stanford University and earned a Ph.D. from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
She began her career in government in 1993 as a staff member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. She later became the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997, making her the youngest person to hold that position at age 32. She played a key role in shaping U.S. policy toward Africa, promoting democracy, trade, human rights, and health initiatives.
After leaving the government in 2001, she became a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington D.C. She also served as a foreign policy advisor to several Democratic presidential candidates, including John Kerry and Barack Obama. In 2009, Obama nominated her as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a position she held until 2013. She was then appointed as the U.S. National Security Advisor, a role she kept until 2017.
As a diplomat and a policymaker, Susan Rice has been known for her strong advocacy of human rights, multilateralism, climate change action, and nuclear non-proliferation. She has also been involved in some controversial issues, such as the U.S.-led intervention in Libya in 2011, the response to the Benghazi attack in 2012, and the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.
In 2021, President Joe Biden appointed her as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, making her responsible for coordinating the administration’s agenda on issues such as immigration, health care, education, and racial justice.
Who is Condoleezza Rice?
Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1954 to a religious and conservative African American family. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a Presbyterian minister and a school administrator. Her mother, Angelena Ray Rice, was a music teacher and an organist. Condoleezza Rice excelled academically from an early age, graduating from college at age 19 and earning a Ph.D. in political science at age 26.
She became a professor at Stanford University in 1981 and specialized in Soviet and Eastern European affairs. She also served as a consultant to the National Security Council under President George H.W. Bush during the end of the Cold War. In 2000, she became the National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, making her the first woman and the first African American to hold that position. In 2005, she was appointed as the Secretary of State, making her the second woman and the first African American woman to hold that position.
As a diplomat and a policymaker, Condoleezza Rice has been known for her support of democracy promotion, free trade, military interventionism, and counter-terrorism. She has also faced criticism for her role in some controversial issues, such as the Iraq War in 2003, the use of torture against detainees, and the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After leaving the government in 2009, she returned to Stanford University as a professor and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, another think tank in California. She has also been involved in various public service activities, such as serving on the boards of several corporations and foundations, co-chairing a commission on immigration reform, and advocating for women’s empowerment and education.
Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice are not related by blood or by marriage. They have different origins, ideologies, and perspectives on various issues. However, they also share some common traits: they are both highly educated, accomplished, influential women who have made history in American politics and diplomacy.