Condoleezza Rice, Senior Fellow and Professor of Political Science Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  Selected to be the National Security Adviser by President-elect George W. Bush. Photo Credit:  Linda Cicero, Stanford News Service

Condoleezza Rice. Photo: Linda Cicero, Stanford News Service

Condoleezza Rice is a true trailblazer in the political world. She was the first African-American woman to serve as national security advisor in the United States of America as well as the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State (2005-2009). In a predominately male environment she showed that race and gender are irrelevant when you are as intelligent as she is.

She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950s and 60s at a time when racism and segregation was rampant. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver, she earned her Master’s degree and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Following the completion of her studies she became a political science professor at Stanford University.

In addition to being a professor she also worked with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington D.C. working as an international affairs fellow. Her first major position came in 1989 when she became director of Soviet and East European Affairs working with the National Security Council. Also at this time she was named as special assistant to President George H.W. Bush during an important time in the political world as Germany was reunified and the Soviet Union was dissolved.
In 2001 she was named national security advisor by President George W. Bush becoming the first woman to hold this position. In the first year in her role she had to deal with the horror of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 that followed these attacks. In 2005 she became the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. During her time in office her aim was to improve democracy around the world with a particular focus on the Middle East. This included deploying American diplomats to Iraq, Afghanistan and Angola as well as requiring those diplomats to become fluent in at least two foreign languages.

Throughout her political career and since she has stepped away from the limelight she has written a number of books relating to various international political issues as well as her own memoir.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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