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Director, Domestic Policy Council – no Confirmation needed

Dr. Susan Rice

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 15, 2021 0 comments

Dr. Susan Rice was selected by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the director of the Domestic Policy Council in the incoming Biden administration.

The position: Top adviser to the president on domestic policy and related decisions.

Susan Elizabeth Rice, born in 1964, in Washington D.C., to education policy scholar Lois Rice (née Dickson), who helped design the federal Pell Grant subsidy system and who joined the Brookings Institution in 1992; and Emmett J. Rice (1919–2011), a Cornell University economics professor and the second black governor of the Federal Reserve System.

Her maternal grandparents were Jamaican immigrants to Portland, Maine; her paternal grandparents were the descendants of slaves from South Carolina.

Her parents divorced when Rice was ten years of age.

In 1978, her mother married Alfred Bradley Fitt, an attorney, who at the time was general counsel of the U. S. Congressional Budget Office.

Rice said that her parents taught her to “never use race as an excuse or advantage,” and as a young girl she “dreamed of becoming the first U.S. senator from the District of Columbia”.

Rice was a three-letter varsity athlete, student government president, and valedictorian at National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., a private girls’ day school.

She attended Stanford University, where she won a Truman Scholarship and graduated with a BA with honors in history in 1986. She was also awarded a National Merit Scholarship and elected Phi Beta Kappa her junior year.

Rice attended New College, Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she earned Master of Philosophy (1988) and Doctor of Philosophy (1990) degrees, both in International Relations.

Her doctoral dissertation was entitled Commonwealth Initiative in Zimbabwe, 1979–1980: Implications for International PeacekeepingChatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, honored her dissertation as the UK’s most distinguished in international relations.

Rice married former ABC News executive producer Ian Officer Cameron on September 12, 1992, at the St. Albans School chapel. They met as students at Stanford. The couple have two children.

Rice served as a foreign policy aide to Michael Dukakis during the 1988 presidential election.

She was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, from 1990 to early 1992. Rice worked in McKinsey’s Toronto office.

Rice served at the National Security Council (NSC) from 1993 to 1997, as director for international organizations and peacekeeping from 1993 to 1995; as special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs from 1995 to 1997; and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997 to 2001.

On July 7, 1998, Rice was a member of an American delegation to visit detained Nigerian president-elect Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. During this meeting, Abiola suffered a fatal heart attack.[27]

Rice supported U.S. efforts to reach both the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in the Congo and the Lomé Peace Accord in Sierra Leone. Some observers criticized the Sierra Leone agreement as too indulgent of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and for bringing the war criminal Foday Sankoh into government, leading to the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1313, which blamed the RUF for the continuing conflict in the west African country.

Rice played a major role in peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea during the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, leading to the Algiers Agreement in 2000 ending the conflict.

For her efforts she was named a co-recipient of the White House’s Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for “distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between nations,” alongside Gayle Smith and Anthony Lake.

Rice’s tenure saw significant changes in U.S.-Africa policy, including the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, support for democratic transitions in South Africa and Nigeria, and an increased U.S. focus on fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Rice was managing director and principal at Intellibridge from 2001 to 2002.

Rice was inducted into Stanford’s Black Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002.

From 2002 to 2009, she was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where “she focused on U.S. foreign policy, weak and failing states, the implications of global poverty, and transnational threats to security.”

Michael E. O’Hanlon and Ivo Daalder, two Brookings colleagues of Rice at the time, said that Rice consistently opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the run-up to the war. In 2012, columnist Peter Beinart reviewed a series of NPR interviews with Rice in late 2002 and early 2003 and concluded that Rice’s position on war was equivocal.

In her memoir, Rice wrote, “Long experienced with the menace of Al Qaeda, I was one of the very few scholars at Brookings to openly oppose the Iraq War. From the start, I viewed that war of choice as a dangerous diversion from the main objective of defeating Al Qaeda globally and in Afghanistan.”

Shortly after the war began, Rice warned that the U.S. commitment to rebuilding Iraq would likely last for many years.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Rice served as a foreign policy adviser to John Kerry.

Rice went on leave from the Brookings Institution to serve as a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign.

On November 5, 2008, Rice was named to the advisory board of the Obama–Biden transition.

On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama announced that he would nominate Rice to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations, a position which he restored to cabinet level.

Rice was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on January 22, 2009.[48][49] Rice became the second-youngest person and the first black woman to represent the U.S. at the UN.

During her tenure at the United Nations, Rice championed a human rights and anti-poverty agenda, elevated climate change and women’s rights as global priorities, and committed the U.S. to agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation TreatyConvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

Rice led the fight to advance LGBT rights at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Rice was picked to succeed Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor following Donilon’s resignation on June 5, 2013. The position of National Security Advisor does not require Senate approval. Rice was sworn in on July 1, 2013. During her tenure, she supported major U.S. efforts on the Iran nuclear deal of 2015Ebola epidemicreopening to Cuba, fight against the Islamic State, and Paris Agreement on climate change.

In a 2015 speech on China–United States relations, Rice noted the problems of Chinese intelligence operations in the United States, saying, “This is not a mild irritation. It is an economic and national security concern to the United States. It puts enormous strain on our bilateral relationship, and it is a critical factor in determining the future trajectory of U.S.–China ties.

In 2017, President François Hollande named Rice a commander of the Legion of Honour for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

Rice criticized the United States’ close relationship with Saudi Arabia despite murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic dispute with Canada, Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen and Saudi Arabian-led blockade against Qatar.

Rice also criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which critics say gave Turkey the green light to invade and occupy northern Syria and attack Kurdish forces who assisted the U.S. in the destruction of the Islamic State.

Rice has criticized Israeli proposals to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, stating that such a move would make it more difficult to sustain traditionally bipartisan support for Israel in the United States. Rice takes the view that a two-state solution is the only way to keep Israel both a Jewish and democratic state.

Rice is a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University’s School of International Service [since 2017] and non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

She is also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

Rice currently serves on the board of Netflix [since 2018] and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, American Academy of Diplomacy, and Council on Foreign Relations.

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