Condoleezza Rice’s biography shows how her goal of becoming a concert pianist fizzled away and lead her onto a political pathway. She could have had a career as a pianist with her successfully mastering the piano at the age of three, but she never pursued a musical career. Instead, she entered college at a young age, earned herself three degrees and became a National Security staff member under the Bush administration and the second female US Secretary of State.
Condoleezza Rice was born in November 1985 in Birmingham, Alabama. The origin of her name is Italian for an opera stage directive, “con dolcezza,” which means “with sweetness.” As an only child to a teacher and Presbyterian minister, Rice showed signs of giftedness. At the tender age of three, she mastered the piano and was told she could become a concert pianist. Her early education was fast-tracked. She didn’t enroll in first and seventh grades and went to college when she was only fifteen. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Denver and graduated in 1974. She went on to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame and graduated within a year in 1975. Rice didn’t stop there. She went to the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver for her Ph.D. in Political Science and successfully earned the degree in 1981.
With her impeccable credentials, Rice continued her academic career as a professor of Political Science from 1981 to 1999 at Stanford University. At the same institution, she also served as a provost whose responsibilities included overseeing the school’s financial matters and academic programs from 1993 to 1999. She was the first female as well as the first African-American provost at Stanford. Condoleezza Rice worked as an international affairs fellow in Washington D.C. during the mid-1980s, where her post was attached to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She served as a director for Soviet and East European affairs with the National Security Council in 1989 as well as George Bush’s special assistant when the Soviet Union was dissolved and Germany was reunified.
Additionally, Rice worked in the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military in 1997 before being appointed by George W. Bush as a National Security Advisor in 2001. When Colin Powell resigned as Secretary of State in 2004, Rice succeeded him. She is the second woman after Madeleine Albright to serve as the US Secretary of State. Condoleezza Rice is also the first African-American to serve as the Secretary of State, making her the only African-American woman to hold the highest position in a presidential cabinet.
Condoleezza Rice’s flagship during her time as Secretary of State focused on “Transformational Diplomacy.” Her mission was to build and sustain democratic, well-governed states all over the world, particularly in the Middle East. She acted upon this mission by relocating American diplomats to destitute locations such as Angola, Iraq and Afghanistan. These diplomats were required to gain fluency in two foreign languages. Also, she designed a high-level position to de-fragment foreign aids by the United States. Rice was recognized by Forbes as the seventh among the 100 Most Powerful Women in 2008.