Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State
December 10, 2007 | Washington, DC
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Washington, DC—On December 10, 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave the keynote address at the Women's Foreign Policy Group’s Annual Luncheon, which was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC. The event was attended by over 400 guests, including senior officials from the government, corporations, and NGOs, as well as numerous ambassadors. A lively Q&A session, moderated by NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, followed the Secretary’s remarks.

This year’s luncheon highlighted the Women’s Foreign Policy Group’s commitment to promoting the next generation of women leaders and included many students and young professionals at each table. The program also included former intern, Carly Rush, who shared her WFPG internship and mentoring experiences with the audience. In her keynote address, the Secretary highlighted chief areas of concern for the U.S. around the world and called for “American realism” – which joins pragmatism to idealism – in U.S. foreign policy, pointing out the distinct character of the U.S. as a country united by ideals. She then discussed how free trade and foreign assistance serve as tools that support stability and foster democratic institutions. Dr. Rice also noted that a prerequisite for a successful country is respect for women and referred to a t-shirt she received from a group of Kuwaiti suffragettes, with the inscription: "Half a democracy is not a democracy".

The Secretary explained how the U.S. is using all elements of its power—from sanctions to full military muscle to diplomacy—in order to help states transform into stable democracies, and noted current efforts in Darfur, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The Secretary said she was confident of the United States’ ability to renew itself contrary to the mood of American decline often heard in media stories about the rise of countries, such as India and China. She pointed to her personal journey from a childhood in the segregated South to the office she currently holds, ". . . despite all these challenges, I stand before you as America's 66th Secretary of State, something that my first predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, undoubtedly could not have imagined."

The Secretary then joined Andrea Mitchell for an informative Q&A session. Ms. Mitchell led off the discussion with pressing issues of the day, such as the intelligence issues surrounding the destruction of CIA tapes and Iran’s disputed nuclear program. She then incorporated numerous questions from the audience on topics, ranging from the recent Annapolis Conference on the Middle East to U.S. relations with Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea. The program concluded with the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to Secretary Rice for her leadership in international affairs and her contribution as a role model for future women leaders by Maxine Isaacs (WFPG Board Chair), Ann McLaughlin Korologos (Luncheon Chair and Former Secretary of Labor), and Patricia Ellis (WFPG President).