Bonnie Sokol

Bonnie Sokol

Published: 16 Jul 2023


Susan Rice is a prominent figure in American politics and international affairs, with a career spanning decades. From her roles as National Security Advisor and United Nations Ambassador under the Obama administration to her work in academia and think tanks, Rice has consistently been at the forefront of shaping US foreign policy. In this article, we will explore 18 fascinating facts about Susan Rice, shedding light on her personal and professional life. From her educational background to her notable achievements and controversies, we will delve into the many facets that make Rice an intriguing and influential figure. So, let’s dive in and discover the lesser-known details about one of America’s most prominent diplomats and policy experts.

Table of Contents

Early Life and Education

Susan Rice was born on November 17, 1964, in Washington, D.C. She grew up in a politically active family, with both of her parents being highly accomplished in their respective fields.

Academic Excellence

Rice attended Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history with honors. She later pursued her studies at the University of Oxford, where she received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a Master’s and Doctorate degree in International Relations.

Diplomatic Career

Rice started her career in the foreign service and served in various roles within the State Department. She was known for her expertise in African affairs and played a key role in shaping U.S. policy towards the continent.

National Security Advisor

From 2013 to 2017, Rice served as the National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama. In this role, she played a crucial part in advising the President on matters of national security and foreign policy.

United Nations Ambassador

Prior to her position as National Security Advisor, Rice served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to She was known for advocating for human rights and working to strengthen international cooperation.

Controversy Surrounding Benghazi

Rice’s role in the aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi attack became a subject of controversy. She initially appeared on Sunday talk shows and provided information that later turned out to be incorrect, leading to criticism from some political quarters.

Board Memberships

Rice has served on the board of several prominent organizations, including the Brookings Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Supporter of Climate Change Action

Rice is a strong advocate for addressing climate change and has been vocal about the need for international cooperation to combat this global challenge.


Rice has authored several books, including “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” where she recounts her experiences in public service and shares her insights on leadership and global affairs.

Visiting Fellow at Harvard

Following her tenure in the Obama administration, Rice became a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and participated in various speaking engagements and research initiatives.

Family Legacy

Susan Rice’s mother, Lois Dickson Fitt, was one of the first African-American women to receive a PhD in history. Her father, Emmett J. Rice, served as a governor on the Federal Reserve Board.

Champion of Women’s Empowerment

Rice has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and empowerment, highlighting the importance of gender equality in all aspects of society.

Advisory Role in President Biden’s Campaign

Rice played a key role in advising Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign, utilizing her extensive knowledge and experience in foreign policy.

Clinton Administration Years

During the Clinton administration, Rice served in various positions, including as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and as a member of the National Security Council.

Accomplished Pianist

Aside from her political career, Rice is also a talented pianist and often incorporates music into her personal and public life.

The First African-American Woman to Hold the Position of National Security Advisor

Rice made history by becoming the first African-American woman to hold the position of National Security Advisor, breaking barriers and inspiring future generations.

Philanthropic Endeavors

Rice has been actively involved in philanthropy and has contributed her time and resources to various causes, including education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.

Role in the Iran Nuclear Deal

Rice played a significant role in the negotiation and implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, which aimed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons through diplomatic means.

Overall, Susan Rice’s career has been marked by her dedication to public service, her expertise in international affairs, and her commitment to advocating for human rights and global cooperation. Her accomplishments and contributions have left a lasting impact on the political and diplomatic landscape.


In conclusion, Susan Rice is a highly accomplished individual with a wealth of experience in the political and diplomatic arena. Her work in various administrations has shaped her into a prominent figure and a respected voice on national security and foreign policy matters. From serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to her pivotal role as National Security Advisor, Rice has demonstrated her dedication to public service and her commitment to protecting American interests.

As an African American woman, Rice has broken barriers and paved the way for others in her field. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring leaders, particularly those who belong to underrepresented communities. Rice’s intelligence, expertise, and strong advocacy for human rights have made her a formidable force in international relations.

Ultimately, whether one agrees with her positions or not, there is no denying the significant impact Susan Rice has had on American politics and diplomacy. Her dedication and achievements will continue to shape the discourse surrounding national security for years to come.


Q: What positions has Susan Rice held in the government?

A: Susan Rice has held several key positions in the government, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor under the Obama administration.

Q: What are some notable accomplishments of Susan Rice?

A: Susan Rice played a crucial role in formulating and implementing foreign policy, including leading efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, and advocating for the intervention in Libya.

Q: Has Susan Rice faced any controversies in her career?

A: Yes, Susan Rice faced scrutiny and criticism for her handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. However, multiple investigations cleared her of any wrongdoing.

Q: What is Susan Rice’s educational background?

A: Susan Rice has an impressive educational background. She earned her undergraduate degree in history from Stanford University and completed her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from New College, Oxford University.

Q: What role does Susan Rice play in national security policy?

A: As National Security Advisor, Susan Rice was responsible for advising the President on matters of national security and foreign policy. She played a crucial role in coordinating efforts across government agencies and shaping the administration’s policies and strategies.