Tuesday
July 22, 2014

Diplomacy Under Pressure

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Diplomacy Under Pressure

Condoleezza Rice

Keynote Speaker
Saturday, Nov. 14  I  4pm – 6pm

Condoleezza Rice didn’t always have her sights set on foreign policy. In fact, the accomplished concert pianist was on path to a music career not long before she walked into an international politics course taught by Josef Korbel—a Soviet specialist who was also Madeleine Albright’s father.

The class marked the beginning of Rice’s decades-long fascination with Russia, which eventually led to her service as national security adviser and then secretary of state under President George W. Bush. As America’s chief diplomat, she became known for championing "transformational diplomacy" supporting the expansion of democratic governments around the world.

Today, Rice has gone back to school, though not as a student. She’s the senior fellow of public policy at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., where she taught political science and served as provost before joining the Bush administration.

Given the widely differing political views among the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ 1.13 million members, Rice is seen by some as a controversial choice to keynote the 2009 Conference & Expo. But Rice has no problem with criticism—in fact, in her role at Stanford, she’s quite open about her willingness to engage on the issues.

"It’s perfectly legitimate to be critical of what’s been a complicated and sometimes controversial last eight years," she says. "The only thing I ask is that people be respectful of listening to the views and what we faced and how we went about it. . . . It’s just not the case that there are any perfect policies. You’re always trying to balance complicated factors; you’re trying to balance competing interests."

Speaking to REALTORS® in San Diego in November, Rice will give her perspectives on current world events and provide a glimpse into her personal story—from growing up in Birmingham, Ala., to her years in Washington, D.C. "America is a place where you could come from humble circumstances and do great things," she says.

While she enjoys discussing her tenure under President George W. Bush and plans to write a book about her experiences, Rice says she makes a point of not dwelling too much on the past. "The most important thing is to spend your time moving on to the next chapter," she says. "I’ve never been a ‘former’ anything. I’ll be a ‘future’ something else."

Some quotes are courtesy of Stanford University News Service.

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