Condoleezza Rice was born on November 14 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama and became the 66th Secretary of State of the United States on January 26th 2005 replacing Colin Powell.
Rice was previously George Bush’s National Security advisor during 2001-2005.
Forbes magazine named her the world’s most powerful woman in 2004 and 2005.
Condoleezza Rice’s father was a Presbyterian minister and her mother was a music teacher.
Condoleezza Rice grew up during racial segregation and the BBC’s biography of Rice featured a quote from her that sums up her parents attitude during her upbringing:
“My parents had me absolutely convinced that, well, you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth’s but you can be president of the United States.”
At the incredibly early age of 15 Rice enrolled at Denver University. She had plans to be a concert pianist but after meeting Josef Korbel, the father of the former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, her interests turned towards World affairs.
She called Kordel ‘one of the most central figures in my life’.
At 19 Condoleezza Rice gained her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Denver and obtained her Masters degree in 1975 from the University of Notre Dame.
By the age of 26 she had received her PhD. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. In addition to English, Rice speaks Russian, French and Spanish.
During the 1989/1991 period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union she served in George Bush Snr’s administration as Director, and then Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council.
Bush Senior, according to a Salon profile of Rice, introduced her to Mikhail Gorbachev, by saying:
“This is Condoleezza Rice. She tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union.”
In the 1990s Rice returned to academia and was first Professor and then Provost of Stanford University.
She returned to politics and the world of international relations under President George W Bush. She led the difficult negotiations with Russia over missile defence during the first months of the George W Bush Presidency and came to prominence in the wake of 9/11.
Condoleezza Rice, widely regarded as a hawk, said shortly before the war in Iraq: “The United States has always reserved the right to try and diminish or to try to eliminate a threat before it is attacked.”
Rice was chosen by Barbara Walters as one of the ten most fascinating people of 2005.