Fri, Oct 25 | University of Southern Maine

A Conversation with Ambassador Susan Rice

Moderated by Maine House Representative Rachel Talbot Ross, this program will cover the themes of race, family, leadership, and diplomacy in Rice's new memoir, "Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For."
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A Conversation with Ambassador Susan Rice

Time & Location

Oct 25, 2019, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
University of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St, Portland, ME 04103, USA

About The Event

The World Affairs Council of Maine is pleased to present “A Conversation with Ambassador Susan Rice” at the Talbot Lecture Hall on the University of Southern Maine's Portland Campus. Moderated by Maine House Representative Rachel Talbot Ross, this program will cover themes in Ambassador Rice’s new memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” published by Simon & Schuster, October 2019.

Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—reveals her surprising story with unflinching candor.  

Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from World Affairs Council of Maine board members, the University of Southern Maine, and Lee International, this program is being offered to high school student leaders from around the Greater Portland area, as well as their teachers. These students have been identified by their teachers as leaders in their high schools with interest in the themes of race, family, leadership, and diplomacy explored in Ambassador Rice’s book. 

Participating schools and youth leadership groups to-date:

Casco Bay High School

Deering High School

Edward Little High School

Falmouth High School

Freeport High School

Greely High School

Gray-New Gloucester High School

North Yarmouth Academy

Portland High School

South Portland High School

Thornton Academy

Waynflete School

Yarmouth High School

Somali-Mainers Youth Network

Maine Youth Action Network


10:00AM: Moderated discussion begins

10:45AM: Q+A with the audience

11:15AM: Book signing

Books: A limited number of books will be available for sale at the event - cash or credit cards accepted. 


Limited tickets are also available for World Affairs Council of Maine members and their guests. To support gifting each student in attendance with a copy of Ambassador Rice’s book, ticket price includes sponsorship of one or more student books. 

$25 WAC MEMBER TICKET: Entry for one WAC Member, incl. sponsorship of a book for one student.

$50 WAC MEMBER TICKET WITH BOOK: Entry for one WAC Member, incl. a member copy of “Tough Love” and sponsorship of a book for one student.

$150 MAINE STUDENT CHAMPION TICKET: Entry for two, incl. a member copy of “Tough Love” and sponsorship of books for 5 students.

$25 WAC GUEST TICKET: Entry for one WAC Member guest (2 available per WAC member)

About the moderator:

Representative Rachel Talbot Ross is serving her second term in the Maine House. She is a member of both the Health and Human Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

A ninth-generation Mainer and longtime public servant, Talbot Ross has worked for the City of Portland and has led several nonprofit organizations dedicated to social justice. She is currently the director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellows and president of Maine Freedom Trails. She serves on the Maine State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is chair of the African American Collection Advisory Committee at the University of Southern Maine.

Talbot Ross is the recipient of numerous awards, including the University of New England’s Deborah Morton Award for exceptional civic leadership.

About the speaker:

Ambassador Susan E. Rice is currently Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the School of International Service, American University, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is also a Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

Previously, Ambassador Rice served President Barack Obama as National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.  In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council Staff of approximately 400 defense, diplomatic, intelligence and development experts.  She chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the President daily national security briefings, and was responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the Administration's foreign and national security policy, including all diplomatic, intelligence, homeland security and military efforts. 

As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's Cabinet (2009-2013) to which she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world's security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.  In a world of 21st Century threats that pay no heed to borders, Ambassador Rice helped rebuild an effective basis for international cooperation that strengthened the United States’ ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives and made the American people safer.  

Ambassador Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001. In that role, she formulated and implemented U.S. policy towards 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and was responsible for the management of all of the U.S. Embassies and more than 5,000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees. Rice was co-recipient of the White House's 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between states.  

She is currently on the boards of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ambassador Rice previously served as an independent Director of the Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA) and on many non-profit boards. Rice received her Master's degree (M.Phil.) and Ph.D (D.Phil.) in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.  She was awarded the Chatham House-British International Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the United Kingdom in the field of International Relations in 1990. Ambassador Rice received her B.A. in History with honors from Stanford University in 1986, where she was junior Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar.  In 2017, French President Francois Hollande presented Ambassador Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

A native of Washington DC, Ambassador Rice is married to Ian Cameron, and they have two children. She is an avid tennis player and retired basketball player.

  • WAC/OLLI Member Ticket
  • WAC/OLLI Ticket (with book)
  • Maine Student Champion Ticket
  • WAC Member Guest Ticket
  • USM Tickets

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