Last week, Timothy Dwight College continued its streak of inviting high-profile diplomats to campus (for a recap of Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s visit check out my blog HERE), with a talk and dinner with Ambassador Susan Rice. Rice is the current National Security Advisor, and her impressive resume boasts a former stint as UN Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State under Bill Clinton. She came to Yale as part of Timothy Dwight’s prestigious Chubb Fellowship, joining previous Chubb recipients such as Power, Morgan Freeman, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
While the guests are certainly nothing to scoff at, the food at these dinners is simply amazing. This menu featured a salad with pomegranate dressing and grilled fennel, mahi-mahi with ginger mango salsa, and a chocolate tart to top it all off. Yummy.
Out of all the cool dinners and talks that I’ve attended at Yale, Rice was one of the most open and personable speakers. She took the time to go around and shake everyone’s hand, asking them their name and major. She showed genuine interest in every student, and even requested that one of my friends send her his thesis on counter terrorism. I’ve attended talks with all kinds of powerful people at Yale, but never has one shown so much interest in me. It was a reminder that Rice is a just another person and more real than any security briefing would indicate.
Rice’s talk focused on public service, encouraging Yale students to give back to their communities and home countries. She told students to follow their hearts, and to find what they are both passionate about and good at, “and then do that.” As a senior on the cusp of graduating (ah!), it was comforting to hear that I don’t need a life plan, and that things tend to work out if you follow your interests. After listening to Ambassador Rice, one thing is readily apparent. Attending Yale is an incredible opportunity, and I definitely owe the world some public service in return.