The chance to hear a former secretary of state speak is rare enough, but to sit in a classroom with just 10 other students and ask unfiltered questions was the special opportunity afforded to students at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies last week during Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s visit last week.
In addition to speaking to over 600 attendees at the University of Denver’s Cable Center, Rice was also a guest lecturer in multiple classes, held meetings with the Middle East Discussion Group and the CENEX board as well as doled out career advice for students in an event hosted by the Office of Career and Professional Development.
With a mix of humor and directness surprising for a head diplomat, Rice entertained with stories of her encounters abroad, including the infamous Qaddafi crush and brief stint on NBC’s 30 Rock, as well as relating her views on current international trends and events.
Speaking to the recent policy shift towards Asia, Rice worried about the intent.
“I hope it’s not let’s pivot towards a place that’s not hard because the Middle East is really messy,” said Rice.
Relating her views on trends in the Middle East and around the world, Rice’s background as a professor at Stanford was clear. An academic at heart, according to Rice, she often referred to institutional theory in her answers.
“I love policy; I do not like politics,” said Rice.
“She’s very real, more than I expected,” said Josef Korbel School Master’s student Noelle Frampton.
“She was very open with us, allowing students to ask whatever we wanted and took the time to really answer,” said Sahar Yarjani, an MA in International Human Rights student.
Speaking with students was her favorite part of her trip, according to Rice, who gave career advice, asked about the old cafeteria and even spoke individually with one student writing a thesis on public diplomacy.
Listen to an interview with Dr. Condoleezza Rice speaking about her Josef Korbel School roots and views on international events with MA Candidate Daniel Green.
Watch the YouTube video of “An Evening with Dr. Condoleezza Rice” and Josef Korbel School dean, Christopher Hill.
Take a look at the Flickr photo album of Dr. Rice’s events and classroom visits.
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies