Nov 30 03:01 PM US/Eastern
Dr. Susan Rice, seen in July 2008, stands outside #10 Downin...
An ex-National Security Council member and former assistant secretary of state, Susan Rice brings the resume of a Rhodes Scholar-turned-diplomat to the team as she becomes the US face at the United Nations.
The Washington-bred Rice -- no relation to outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- served as member of the national security council during the administration of president Bill Clinton.
She worked as a top foreign policy advisor to the campaign of president-elect Barack Obama prior to her latest appointment; indeed despite far-reaching ties to the Clinton administration, she joined Team Obama when Hillary Clinton was widely seen as frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
Obama's selection of a close ally Rice to represent the United States at the world body may be a sign of how the incoming administration will prioritize strained US-UN ties.
Susan Rice, who received her doctorate from Oxford University in England, and who served as an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has had some on-the-job experience with Al-Qaeda. She was top US diplomat for African issues during the 1998 terrorist bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Often described as straight-talking, arguably not unlike her mentor former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the politically well-connected Rice in 1997 became one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state.
She was a Rhodes Scholar in 2000, and was honored with the NSC's Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between nations, and US security policy for global peace.
She may well come under some fire from lawmakers considering her for confirmation for her part in US policy toward Rwanda during the 1994 genocide; Bill Clinton's US administration stayed on the sidelines -- an experience she has said made her more committed to action in the face of crises.
Rice has been a firm and vocal critic of President George W. Bush's handling of the situation in Darfur.