It is not often that two former White House cabinet members sit down for a chat in front of several hundred people in a college auditorium. But it happened on Thursday at the University of Miami, when Donna E. Shalala, who served Bill Clinton as Health and Human Services secretary and is now UM's president, and Condoleezza Rice, who was George W. Bush's secretary of state, got together for a repartee about politics, foreign policy and the world of diplomacy.
The discussion at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse came two days after the release of Rice's memoir, "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of my Years in Washington," an account of her experiences as Bush's national security advisor and, later, secretary of state. The UM event, which was sold out, marked Rice's first stop on a national book tour.
The first 300 students to arrive for the discussion were presented with a free copy of Rice's book, courtesy of Ambassador Sue Cobb, JD '78 and her husband, Ambassador Chuck Cobb, who were responsible for an endowment gift to the University of Miami School of Business Administration to finance annual lectures on leadership. Mr. Cobb is a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees.
Rice, the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state, is a native of Birmingham, Ala., and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1974 from the University of Denver. She received a master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975 and her doctorate in political science from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. Rice is now the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, professor of political economy in the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and professor of political science at Stanford University.
Her book describes eight years of service at the highest levels of government. In her position as America's chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies and forging agreement on divisive issues. "No Higher Honor" takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, and in East Africa.