LEAP Students attended an event hosted by World Affairs Council of Greater Houston that featured Susan Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor for President Obama and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Rice served the Obama Administration from 2013-2017, as Ambassador to the UN from 2009-2013 and served the Clinton Administration on the National Security Council. Located at the Ballroom at Bayou Place in the Theater District of Houston, the venue was very nice and it was a packed house! We really enjoy attending WAC events and we were honored when Sandija Bayot…
…who introduced the Speaker, also asked us to stand and be recognized as students from Sam Houston State University.
In a discussion moderated by WAC’s Ronan O’Malley, Ambassador Rice shared with the audience her experiences growing up in Washington DC, her impressive career, and her recently published book, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For.
Although her childhood had its difficulties and she faced a lot of obstacles, she said it gave her tenacity and shows that it does not matter how you grew up, but how you grow from it.
She then moved chronologically through her career, sharing important events in our nation’s history that she had a front row seat on such as Black Hawk Down and Benghazi. She even discussed some of the more political and difficult times in her career, as when she decided to be a part of Obama’s campaign instead of Hillary Clinton’s. She was told she was committing professional suicide. Ambassador Rice proved to be insightful on the Obama campaign and what it was like working for him. She also noted that she felt that President Obama was “the smartest person in the room” and always took time to consider important decisions, claiming he always took responsibility for events whether the outcome was good or bad.
As with almost all of our events, we brought a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to the event, so we really appreciated how bi-partisan she was. She explained that we needed to just stop and get to know each other so that we can get along and get things done.
I remember her saying that “it is really hard to hate someone that you know well.” She was a great speaker, and those of us who had heard her speak at Texas Tribune Festival enjoyed her even more the second time!
Following the event, we waited in a quick line to have our book signed by Ambassador Rice, who addressed each book personally.
As always, LEAP appreciated the hospitality of WAC and its staff, and thoroughly enjoyed the event!
After the event, we walked a block over to Birraporetti’s Italian Restaurant. When we walked inside, we were welcomed by a live cover band!
Our waiter, Felix, was fun and friendly, just like the vibes in the restaurant. Monday night is “happy hour” featuring, among other things, $5 appetizers that we took advantage of! We ordered calamari, spinach and artichoke dip, stuffed mushrooms, and bruschetta for our appetizers. Not long after we cleaned off the plates of the appetizers, our dinner arrived. I always forget how large dinner portions are at Italian restaurants, and I could have shared my plate with the whole table. Among the entrees at our table were Almond Encrusted Chicken Scaloppini, the Marco Pollo, and Pasta Poretti.
Despite Felix’s best efforts to encourage us to get an after-dinner sweet, we were all simply too full to order dessert!