Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed her latest book, “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington,” with University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala last Thursday.
The discussion, which was led by Shalala in a question-and-answer format, covered several topics including Russian politics, education and immigration. The questions were mostly submitted by students.
Eight years after serving as secretary of state for George W. Bush’s presidential administration, Rice wrote about that position in her book, which was released the same day as her appearance at UM.
Around 750 students, faculty and members of the community attended the event, which was held as a part of the Charles E. Cobb Lecture Series and put together in conjunction with local bookstore Books & Books.
Rice, who was the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state, also discussed her time in college, when she gave up a potential career as a pianist and changed her major.
Rice advised students to find something they are passionate about and stick to it.
“If you’re fortunate, your passion and talents will come together,” Rice said during the discussion. “Don’t worry too much about what happens to you.”
Rice spoke about how she wandered into an international studies class taught by Josef Korbel, the father of Madeleine Albright, a former secretary of state under the Clinton administration. Korbel’s class helped her become passionate about Soviet affairs.
She also spent a great deal of time discussing Russian foreign policy and other governments, including authoritarian regimes.
Rice went on to discuss the new age of social media and emphasized the importance for foreign diplomatic leaders to keep an eye on the communication that takes place.
“Social media gives the government less power, and the people more power than ever before,” she said.
Many students attended the event out of curiosity.
“I remembered her high profile involvement in the Bush administration,” sophomore Aaron Midden said. “I also wanted to learn about how she became successful, and I wanted to hear her justifications for some of the tough decisions the Bush administration had to make.”
Some students in attendance, were more personally interested in Rice’s comments.
“She was a little too radical on her opinion about Russia, but I expected her to say that,” said Karimov, who lives in Russia. “Even though what she said about it was true … I’m not too excited about the political situation in Russia either.”