Every year Denison University tries to foster political dialogue on campus with their Lugar Program.

The Lugar Program was started by former United States Senator Richard Lugar ‘54. In a biannual event, the program brings a prominent speaker to campus to engage with the Denison community in different aspects of politics. Notable past speakers include former Secretary Madeleine Albright and Senator Olympia Snowe. This year, the Lugar Program hosted Ambassador Susan Rice. Miss Rice was an American public official who served as the 24th U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. She was on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton’s second term. She was confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on January 22, 2009. She currently serves as a Brookings Institute Fellow.

Rice joined Denison on Wednesday April 10th and spent the afternoon in class with students, engaging with the student body about politics, foreign policy, and the state of the nation. What followed was a private dinner with the Lugar Program scholars and administration.

Ambassador Rice welcomed the general Denison community with a speech in Swasey Chapel regarding values, morality, and companionship. She discussed in detail the state of the international world, and the need to build up relationships with American allies, while condemning known enemies. She focussed on her values, when discussing her decision making process as National Security Advisor, and the morality that went into her decisions while serving. She focused on her time in the Obama Administration in her speech, as it was the most relatable and topical.

Her speech was short and to the point, and lasted half an hour in length. She was joined by President Weinberg on stage for a discussion and question and answer segment. There she answered questions regarding her role in the administration, specific thoughts on certain aspects of foreign policy today, as well as her biggest accomplishments and regrets while in office. In her answers she again focused on her values and moral principles when answering and really showcased her ideal for an America that supports its allies, helps those in need, and regains its superiority over enemies abroad.

Ambassador Rice stressed the need for bipartisan support in foreign policy. She pushed for togetherness, and not divisiveness and gave a clear message of companionship that has been lost in American society. In her closing remarks, she highlighted that foreign policy and human rights should not be partisan topics, but rather a universal need for America to stand up against evil and ensure that all people are treated equal and that all people are given the opportunity to obtain life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.