Friday, December 5, 2008

Leadership & High Visibility: A New Rice

First, we had Condoleezza Rice, and now we'll begin hearing more about Susan Rice, who was introduced earlier this week as Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations.

In a NYTIMES article about Susan Rice, Peter Baker noted that "The choice of Ms. Rice to represent the United States before the United Nations will make her one of the most visible faces of the Obama administration to the outside world aside from Mrs. Clinton," who was selected as Secretary of State.

Baker went on to explain that "If confirmed, Ms. Rice at 44 would be the second-youngest ambassador to the United Nations. A Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in international relations at Oxford University, she joined Mr. Clinton’s National Security Council staff in 1993 before rising to assistant secretary of state for African affairs at age 32. When Mr. Obama decided to run for president, she signed up as one of his top advisers, much to the consternation of the Clinton camp, which resented what it saw as a defection."

We were certainly inclined to take notice of Rice's appointment given our developing thoughts about the representation of high profile professional black women in mainstream venues. Part of what's notable about this image, which our affiliate Adrienne sent along, relates to those two well known figures looming in the background. "Even though Rice is placed in the foreground of the photo," observed Adrienne, "her background seems to stand out more than her."

For now, that might be the case. But we'll see how Rice's image "to the outside world" begins to take shape.

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