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Susan Rice Speaks at First of ‘Exit Interview’ Series on Obama Administration

September 15, 2016 – National Security Advisor Susan Rice opened a new conversation series at Georgetown last night by sharing what she sees as Obama administration foreign policy achievements and calling for more collaborative among nations.

“American leadership is indispensible, but many of the most difficult and pressing problems that we face internationally … are not the kind of threats that are amenable only to the exercise of American power,” said Rice during the university’s first “The Exit Interview.”

Susan Rice and Joel Hellman speak onstage in Gaston Hall. Rice’s talk was the first of a six-part series, sponsored by the McCourt School of Public Policy’s Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics), that is designed to explore policy successes and challenges in the current administration and give advice to the next president.

School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman moderated the conversation with Rice, who said dealing with challenges such as pandemics, climate change, terrorism and proliferation calls for more unity among nations.

“While we must lead, we have to lead to the greatest extent possible with others, ” she said.


Rice predicted the next administration will face many of the same foreign policy and national security challenges.

“There’s no question that the challenge of ISIL (the Islamic State) and the counterterrorism challenges are going to endure,” she said. “Our aim is to shrink the problem, but it’s not going to be gone.”

A broader focus on cybersecurity is also essential, the national security advisor said.

“I’m not sure it has gotten the degree of public attention it necessitates,” she explained. “It’s a threat to our economic security. It’s a threat to our national security. And it is a threat that may emanate from states or non-state actors or teenagers in their bedrooms.”

The next “Exit Interview,” which takes place on Oct. 13, focuses on criminal justice and social justice and features U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Other upcoming guests include Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew (L‘83) and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.