Condoleezza Rice

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    Condoleezza Rice

    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, Friday, Oct. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    American diplomat and political scientist Condoleezza Rice was the first women to serve as head of the National Security Council and the second woman to be named Secretary of State, serving during the second term of President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009.

    Rice trained to be a concert pianist and it’s a talent she never abandoned, but in college she turned to the study of international relations, becoming a specialist on the Soviet Union.

    That led her to be a special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council. She then joined the faculty of Stanford University and eventually served as provost for six years.

    In 1999, Rice left Stanford to become foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush and continued as an influential voice on international relations and nuclear strategy during Bush’s two terms in office.

    When the Bush administration drew criticism for the Iraq War and the handling of terrorist threats prior to September 11, 2001, Rice proved to be an important and influential adviser to Bush and vigorously defended the president’s policy.

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