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Ambassador Susan E. Rice to Receive AU's Cyrus A. Ansary Medal

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Head shot of Ambassador Susan Rice.

American University has bestowed the 2018 Cyrus A. Ansary Medal upon Ambassador Susan E. Rice for leadership and service. She will receive this top honor at AU’s 37th Annual President’s Circle Celebration on Thursday, October 18. 

The Cyrus A. Ansary Medal is awarded to members of the American University community who have displayed extraordinary commitment and leadership, both within the university and within their professions, and who have significant accomplishments, either in service to the university or for the benefit of the community at large. Cyrus A. Ansary has made a marked imprint on American University – as an extraordinary student, a loyal alumnus, a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees, and a wise and committed Chairman of the Board.The Ansary Medal has been awarded annually since 1990. The Ansary-Kerwin Scholarship for students will be awarded for the first time this year and was announced by the Ansary Foundation at the President’s Circle Celebration in 2017.    

“Ambassador Rice is the 2018 Cyrus A. Ansary Medal recipient because of her lifelong commitment to leadership and service,” said President Sylvia M. Burwell. “American University is proud to have our nation’s former National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations as a member of our community, as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow in the School of International Service.”

Most notably, Ambassador Rice has advised President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama on some of their most important policy decisions. She served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001 and, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2009-2013 and, later, as the 24thNational Security Advisor from 2013-2017. A native Washingtonian, she was the second youngest person and the first African American woman to represent the United States at the United Nations.In a world of 21st Century threats that pay no heed to borders, Ambassador Rice helped rebuild an effective basis for international cooperation that strengthened the United States’ ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives and made America safer.

In addition to her role at AU, Ambassador Rice is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and currently serves on the boards of Netflix and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ambassador Rice holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in International Relations from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Stanford University.

This year’s President’s Circle Celebration will include a special conversation between President Burwell and Ambassador Rice. The pair of Rhodes Scholars were classmates at Oxford. President Burwell and Ambassador Rice continue their commitment to leadership and service to the community here at AU.  Upon arriving at AU, Ambassador Rice expressed her delight in becoming a member of the AU community. “I am very pleased to become a part of SIS and the AU family,” said Ambassador Rice. “I look forward to joining this distinguished community.”

“American University is a community of scholars and changemakers known for excellence and impact,” said Courtney L. Surls, Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations. “We are grateful to the Ansary family, Ambassador Rice, and President Burwell for their commitment to expanding AU’s impact and helping us realize our aspirations.”