Celebrating Women Leaders
Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon
Ambassador Susan Rice
US National Security Advisor
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Washington, DC
—On May 14, 2014, WFPG honored National Security Advisor Susan Rice at its Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon. The conversation focused on major national security challenges facing the US and was moderated by PBS NewsHour Co-Anchor and Managing Editor Judy Woodruff. Ambassador Rice addressed Russian intervention in Ukraine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian Civil War, the Iranian talks on nuclear weapons, the Benghazi investigation, tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, the efforts to recover the kidnapped Nigerian girls, and the current state of American foreign policy and America’s role in the world.

On the crisis in Ukraine, Rice reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to an internal dialogue that, she hopes, will allow the people to choose their own form of government and conduct peaceful elections resulting in a democratic transfer of power. She also reiterated that Putin’s annexation of Crimea was illegitimate and illegal and that the United States would consider enforcing sectoral sanctions on the Russian economy if Russian forces move further into Ukraine or if Putin takes any action to destabilize Ukraine’s election. According to Rice, the United States and Europe, not Putin, would determine the “price he pays” for his actions.

Rice discussed her recent visit to the Middle East and addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the US support for a two-state solution. In her view, blame for the deterioration of negotiations does not lie with one side or the other, citing Israeli continued settlement construction and Palestinian reconciliation with Hamas. She also spoke about Syria and the administration’s recent Washington meeting with the Syrian moderate opposition, where issues of humanitarian and financial assistance to rebel controlled territories and the challenges of fighting a two-front war—against Assad and extremists including Al-Qaeda—were discussed. On the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, Rice said the removal of identified weapons was successful, as 92.5% were already out of the country. Regarding negotiations with Iran on ending their nuclear program, Ambassador Rice said that it is “too soon to tell” what the future will bring but that she is hopeful. On Benghazi, Rice stated that she could not say what new evidence the House Committee would uncover, as the White House has already produced a multitude of documents. She reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to implementing the accountability review board’s recommendations to safeguard US facilities abroad.

Rice also discussed President Obama’s recent trip to Asia and its impact on US–China relations, particularly related to the current territorial disputes in the South China Sea. She praised China’s neighbors for seeking solutions to these territorial disputes through international bodies and criticized China’s “provocative and unhelpful” actions.

On the subject of Nigeria and the kidnapping of over 200 school girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram, Rice insisted that the first priority of the international community should be to locate the girls. She elaborated that the US role is to offer advice and military power to the Nigerian government, should such a request be made, but that the US must respect Nigerian sovereignty.

Ambassador Rice also reflected on the current state of US foreign policy and the US’s role in the world today. She emphasized the US’s role as a global leader, partner, and role model for other states in terms of our moral values, culture, technology and our economic strength. She said that during her recent travels in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the US’s partners and allies were continually impressed with US leadership and strength. The one criticism she heard of the US was of American political polarization, which she believes weakens the perception of US leadership.

As a woman leader in foreign policy, Rice strongly encouraged and advised young people considering careers in foreign policy and public service to just “do it,” and to pursue their passions. Rice believes that public service can be pursued through government, the non-profit sector, journalism, and even the private sector. Watch on C-SPAN


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From Left: PBS NewsHour Co-Anchor and Managing Editor Judy Woodruff,
WFPG Board Chair Ann Stock, and WFPG Mentee and Former Intern Kim Quarantello

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Judy Woodruff with WFPG Board Members Donna McLarty,
Elisabeth Bumiller, Isabel Jasinowski, Ann Stock,
Patricia Ellis, Theresa Loar, and Mary Catherine Toker

  Ambassador Susan Rice and moderator Judy Woodruff
discuss national security challenges facing the US

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WFPG Board Chair Ann Stock presenting the Celebrating
Women Leaders Award to Ambassador Susan Rice

  Hon. Ann Stock, Ambassador
Susan Rice, and Judy Woodruff

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Judy Woodruff, WFPG President Patricia Ellis and
Catherine Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for
Global Women's Issues

  Under Secretary for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller and
Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde of Finland

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Ambassadors Gudmundur Stefansson of Iceland,
Faida Mitifu of DRC and Hans Peter Manz of Austria

  Board Member Donna McLarty, Tara Sonenshine,
Ambassador Laurie Fulton, and Chair Ann Stock

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Hon. Ann McLaughlin Korologos with
Ann and Ashley Bazzarone


Ambassador Jadranka Negodic of Bosnia and
Herzegovina is recognized

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Stephenie Foster, Fran Holuba, Ashley Williams, and
Ambassador Catherine Russell

  Ambassador Jose Cuisia of the Philippines,
Board Member Diana Negroponte, and
Ambassador Diana Lady Dougan

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Board Member Isabel Jasinowski and
Ambassador Gary Doer of Canada

  Ambassador Oliver Wonekha of Uganda

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Event Benefactor CH2M Hill and guests

  WFPG Board Member Mary Catherine Toker

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WFPG Board Treasurer Dawn Calabia

  WFPG Board Vice Chair Gail Leftwich Kitch

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Secretary Kerry's Special Adviser on
Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman  

  WFPG Associate Director Kimberly Kahnhauser
with Ambassador Tom Korologos of DLA Piper

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Patricia Ellis greets Board Member Donna McLarty and
Bobbie Greene McCarthy of Vital Voices

  Ambassador Claudia Fritsche of Liechtenstein
with Board Member Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times

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Members Marina McCarthy and Donna Constantinople

  Ambassador Carolina Barco, Assistant Secretary
for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson,
and Vic Johnson of NAFSA

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Mary O'Connor and Ambassador Maguy
Maccario Doyle of Monaco

  Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos of Greece
with his daughter Margarita

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WFPG Baord Member Theresa Loar of
CH2M Hill, colleague Alonzo Fulgham, and
Alicia Shearers

  Hon. Ann Stock with Liz Allen of
the Department of State

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Ginny Mulberger of the Scowcroft Group
and her daughter Katie

  Maureen Bunyan of ABC7

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Ambassador Susan Rice with Odeh Aburdene

  Ambassador Susan Rice greets Patricia Ellis

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Ambassador Susan Rice with Jana Hertz of
RTI International and Patrica Ellis

  WFPG Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon