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Allies and Diplomats

Updated: May 3, 2021

A conversation between friends with Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Former Colombian Minister Carolina Barco

In a warm conversation, and with an introduction by the Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Claudia Blum, Dr Condoleezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State of the United States, and Carolina Barco, Former Colombian Foreign Minister, shared their experiences as diplomatic leaders in both countries.

With introductory words by Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Claudia Blum and a special welcome from Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Francisco Santos, the event highlighted some key moments in the professional lives of Barco and Rice while being the highest diplomatic representatives of their countries.

Moderated by Muni Jensen, Senior Advisor of Albright Stone Bridge Group, the dialog covered the challenges they faced while they were serving their countries, how they handled national security and commerce tasks, their friendship, and their influence in what has become a strong bilateral bond between Colombia and the United States.

Rice served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff as Director, then Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs, as well as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice also served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Barco served on President Alvaro Uribe Velez team as Ambassador of Colombia to the United States from 2006 to 2010 and was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia from 2002 to 2006.

Both diplomats were key in developing tools and strategies that helped both countries move forward in areas such as the fight against terrorism and narcotrafficking, and other international threats. Their friendship and skills were crucial in the advance of successful bipartisan efforts such as Plan Colombia and the Unites States – Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

About the panelists

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice is the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy. In addition, she is a founding partner of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, an international strategic consulting firm.

From January 2005 to January 2009, Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first black woman to hold the post. Rice also served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001 to January 2005, the first woman to hold the position.

Rice served as Stanford University’s provost from 1993 to 1999, during which time she was the institution's chief budget and academic officer. As provost, she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and an academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students. In 1997, she also served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military.

From February 1989 through March 1991, Rice served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff. She served as Director, then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs, as well as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice also served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As Professor of Political Science, Rice has been on the Stanford faculty since 1981 and has won two of the university’s highest teaching honors – the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

She has authored and co-authored numerous books, most recently To Build a Better World: Choices to End the Cold War and Create a Global Commonwealth (2019), co-authored with Philip Zelikow. Among her other volumes are three bestsellers, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom (2017); No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011); and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (2010). She also wrote Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (1995) with Philip Zelikow; edited The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin; and penned The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983: Uncertain Allegiance (1984).

In 1991, Rice co-founded the Center for a New Generation (CNG), an innovative, after-school academic enrichment program for students in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California. In 1996, CNG merged with the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, an affiliate club of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). CNG has since expanded to local BGCA chapters in Birmingham, Atlanta, and Dallas. Rice remains an active proponent of an extended learning day through after-school programs.

Since 2009, Rice has served as a founding partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. The firm works with senior executives of major companies to implement strategic plans and expand in emerging markets. Other partners include former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

Rice currently serves on the boards of Dropbox, Inc., an online storage technology company;, an AI software company; and Makena Capital Management, a private endowment firm. In addition, she is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and a trustee of the Aspen Institute. Previously, Rice served on various additional boards, including those of: the George W. Bush Institute; the Commonwealth Club; KiOR, Inc.; the Chevron Corporation; the Charles Schwab Corporation; the Transamerica Corporation; the Hewlett-Packard Company; the University of Notre Dame; the Foundation for Excellence in Education; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the San Francisco Symphony.

In 2013, Rice was appointed to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, formerly the Bowl Championship Series. She served on the committee until 2017.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice earned her bachelor's degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver; her master’s in the same subject from the University of Notre Dame; and her Ph.D., likewise in political science, from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Rice is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and has been awarded fifteen honorary doctorates.

Carolina Barco

Carolina Barco has over thirty-five years of leadership in senior public policy positions, including ten years of diplomatic service as Colombia’s Foreign Minister (2002-2006), Ambassador to the United States (2006-2010), and Ambassador to Spain (2019 and 2020) and over twenty years in economic development and urban planning positions leading large institutional or professional teams which developed new policies or programs.

As Ambassador of Colombia to the Kingdom of Spain Barco advanced and strengthened Colombia’s political relationship with Spain, and worked with the economic office to increase Spanish investment in Colombia. Worked with universities and foundations to increase access and provide more opportunities for Colombian students as Spain is now the first choice for Colombian students wanting to study abroad.

She was a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and worked as Co-Coordinator of the Emerging Sustainable Cities Platform, Advisor to the Director of Infrastructure, Environment, and Climate Change (INE) and more recently, Advisor to the Director of Climate Change and Sustainable Development where she helped develop a methodology for fast-growth, mid-size cities in Latin America to pursue sound policies in the areas of environment, climate change, urban development, fiscal sustainability, and governance. This methodology was applied in more than 70 cities.

As Ambassador of Colombia to the United States of America she supervised 30 diplomatic and administrative staff in Washington, D. C., and nine consulates around the U. S., focusing on increasing understanding and awareness of Colombia’s progress in improving security , fighting drug trafficking, enhancing economic and social development, and protecting human rights. The job included the support for Plan Colombia (A United States foreign aid, military aid, and diplomatic initiative aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and left-wing insurgent groups in Colombia, conceived in 1999 by the administrations of Colombian President Andrés Pastrana and U.S. President Bill Clinton, and signed into law by the United States in 2020); signing and securing passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement; and return of Peace Corps volunteers to Colombia after an absence of almost 30 years.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia Barco managed over 1200 people in Bogotá and in foreign capitals around the world to support President Alvaro Uribe to re-establish peace and security in Colombia and renewed economic development. Barco worked hand in hand with the United States in the fight against drugs, challenges in security, expanded trade and investment and engaged European countries and the European Union in greater understanding for the principles of collective responsibility in the fight against drugs, as well as the need for greater cooperation in economic development and institutional capacity-building;

As a Director of the Administrative Department of District Planning (DAPD) Barco was responsible for urban and regional planning and development, gathering and analyzing social indicators, and designing local and regional economic policies. Served under Mayors Enrique Peñalosa and Antanas Mockus. She developed a ten-year territorial and urban development plan, as well as a Regional Working Group for Bogotá and its surrounding municipalities.

Between 1988 and 1999 Barco did research projects at the University of the Andes on the growth patterns and dynamics of Bogotá and the surrounding municipalities as a basis for the formulation of urban and territorial growth policies that would lead to a more sustainable, efficient, and competitive city and region. As the Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development on international cooperation programs and Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) she worked on designing new policies to reduce the housing deficit for low-income families. Focused on land reforms and financial tools necessary to increase access to affordable housing.

Other jobs included Direction of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on “Historical and Urban Centers” at the Colombian Institute of Culture (later the Ministry of Culture), Co-Director of the study “Revitalizing Bogota’s Downtown Area, a Test Case for Other Large Colombian Cities,” with the National Development Fund (FONADE), the National Planning Department (DNP), and Bogota’s Administrative Department of District Planning UNDP as well as a Consultant and Co-Director in the Mayor’s Office of the Program for the Revitalization of the Downtown Area of Bogotá, Head of the Special Studies Unit at the Metropolitan Urban Planning Office of Caracas, Venezuela.

Barco was a Fellow in the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPUR) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and have two Masters degrees. One in Management and Business Administration from the Instituto de Empresa from Madrid, Span and one in City Planning from Harvard University. She earned her bachelors degree at the Wellesley Collège in Massachusetts.

The Moderator

Muni Jensen

Senior advisor with Albright Stonebridge Group, where she uses her experience and expertise as a political analyst and former Colombian diplomat to advise clients on issues related to Latin American politics, United States-Latin America trade, and public affairs. She hosts the world news podcast Altamar.

Muni co-authored the book “Trump, el triunfo del showman”, published in 2017. She is a frequent commentator, analyst and columnist of international affairs on radio, television, print and online media outlets.

For more information

Silvia Dangond


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