By Mary Whitfill
Former Secretary of State under the George W. Bush administration Condoleezza Rice traveled to Fort Worth on Wednesday to speak to influential council members and students regarding her time in office and the release of her new book, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington.
Present at the event were media students from Coppell High School, along with Junior World Affairs Council (JWAC) members from Arlington Martin High School and influential members of the region. Hosted by the World Affairs Council of Dallas and Fort Worth (DFWWAC), the event was an opportunity for residents to meet and have questions answered by Rice.
After an introduction by Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price, in which Rice was referred to as “the most accomplished woman in America,” Rice discussed what led her to writing her memoir, her personal accomplishments and her current stance on issues of foreign policy.
After her speech, the 10-time doctorate recipient opened up the room for questions and addressed topics including Texas senator John Cornyn’s stance on Taiwanese negotiations, relations with Latin America and the impact of the Bush Administration on the United States.
“I’ve been to a few of these events, and I think they open our eyes to who these people really are,” Martin High School JWAC President Heather Salah said. “We know what the press says about these people, and we know what others assume; but getting to listen to them actually speak is great. It gives us experience in dealing with public figures and people in politics. It’s cool, I mean these are the people running our country.”
After the speech and catered breakfast, guests were given the opportunity to purchase No Higher Honor and have their copies signed by Rice.
“These events are great for students because they really make history through political interaction for a student,” DFWWAC program coordinator Chelsea Marshall said. “I mean, how often to you get to meet a Secretary of State? It makes everything in history books seem more alive.”
KCBY seniors Liz Meyer and Madeline Daily covered the event for an upcoming segment and agreed that the program was an excellent learning opportunity.
“I actually really enjoyed listening to her speak,” Daily said. “I’m not big into politics but a lot of things she said I found interesting. I really liked the short talk she gave about how democracy and freedom weren’t necessarily the same thing – it was eye opening.”
By the end of the breakfast, participants knew much about both Rice as a politician in her various positions and her individual views on many of today’s problems.
When an audience member stood up and questioned the changes in her foreign policy stances since her work in the Bush administration, she responded with the following:
“One thing that I’ve heard said over and over about countries such as Afghanistan is this: ‘They aren’t ready for democracy.’ I now deeply resent people who say that. How patronizing to deny basic human rights. Those values are universal.”