As part of the ongoing “50 Over 50” partnership between Forbes and Know Your Value, Forbes’ editor and chief content officer Randall Lane joined NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski to recognize the most prominent women over 50 who helped shape the course of modern American foreign policy and human rights.
Condoleezza Rice, 66
Rice made history as the only the second woman and first African American woman to become U.S. Secretary of State in 2005. She previously served as Pres. George W. Bush’s national security adviser – the first woman to hold the position – and was provost at Stanford University, where she is currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
As Secretary of State, Rice helped negotiate an Israeli withdrawal from the opening of the Gaza border crossings in 2005 and the August 2006 ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.
“We talk about what’s happening in Gaza right now,” said Lane on "Morning Joe" Friday. “She was instrumental in working with Egypt to have the original withdrawal with Gaza in 2005, we see the ramifications playing out 15, 16 years later.”
“[Rice] was the Russia advisor at the NSC when I first met her, and then moved up the ranks…to NSC adviser,” Mitchell reflected. “[She] was really extraordinary in that job because of her relationship with George W. Bush, he really trusted her.”
Susan Rice, 56
A stanch advocate for international human rights since her days as an undergraduate at Stanford University, Susan Rice launched her political career working for Michael Dukakis, President Clinton and Madeleine Albright.
Her most notable role came when President Obama appointed her as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in 2009. He then went on to name Rice as his national security adviser in 2013, citing her ability to champion justice and human dignity, while exercising U.S. power wisely and deliberately.
“Watching Susan Rice, who, some say has sharp elbows … it takes sharp elbows to make it in the world of foreign policy and national security,” said Brzezinski. “Susan Rice has had to educate people around her that [women] can be tough too.”
Rice now serves in the current administration leading domestic policy.
Dr. Georgette Bennett, 74
Bennett is the founder of two organizations dedicated to religious tolerance: the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, an organization of more than 100 partner organizations that has focused on delivering humanitarian aid to hard-to-access parts of Syria.
“A real Renaissance woman, here’s somebody who’s a banker, NBC News correspondent, New York police department advisor, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Ph.D.,” said Lane. “But most importantly, this was somebody who was the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, a refugee, who was what was happening in Syria and helped guide over $170 million in aid to Syria in an interfaith way.”