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Donia Human Rights Center Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture. U.S. Race Relations and Foreign Policy

Ambassador (ret.) Susan D. Page, Professor of Practice in International Diplomacy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
4:00-5:30 PM
Off Campus Location
Please note: This event will be held virtually EST through Zoom. This webinar is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Once you've registered the joining information will be sent to your email.

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Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated in 1998 that one of her “most important jobs is to call attention to the dangers that still confront us and to the direct connection that exists between the success or failure of our foreign policy and the day-to-day lives of the American people.” In my talk, I will explore the presence and impact of race relations on U.S. foreign policy and U.S. actions at home. I will speak to these issues through the lens of the diplomatic profession, including through the unique challenges and experiences I faced as a Black woman, and first U.S. ambassador to the world’s newest independent nation, the Republic of South Sudan, serving under the first Bi-racial American President of the U.S.

Moderator: Monica Hakimi, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and James V. Campbell Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

This event is co-sponsored by: African Studies Center, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy International Policy Center and Weiser Diplomacy Center, and University of Michigan Law School.

Ambassador (ret.) Susan D. Page possesses deep expertise in international relations, particularly in Africa, excellent French language skills, and the political, legal and analytical acumen of a Harvard-trained lawyer – her first career.

Page was sworn in as ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan on November 16, 2011. Following her historic tenure as the first U.S. ambassador to the world’s newest nation, she served as Acting Permanent Representative to the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., to the U.S. Mission to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and later chaired the U.S. Government’s multi-agency Security Governance Initiative (SGI) team for Ghana. Among her numerous positions in international affairs, Ambassador Page was Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to Haiti, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Rule of Law, Global Focal Point (GFP) Review Implementation, deputy assistant secretary of State for African Affairs covering Central Africa, Southern Africa and Sudan, and Legal and Political Adviser to the Horn of Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat for Peace in Sudan where she co-drafted essential elements of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for Sudan. In addition, she was Director of the Rule of Law and Corrections Advisory Unit of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Regional Director for Southern and East Africa at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington, DC, and senior legal expert in Rwanda and Sudan for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ambassador Page is the recipient of several top awards from the State Department for her work on Sudan, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Africa, including the Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service for “leading the U.S. Mission to South Sudan under extremely challenging circumstances and advancing the President’s goals.”

Ambassador Page is a member of The Carter Center Board of Trustees and an elected member of the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD). She serves as a board member of Road Scholar, is on the Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) and on the Advisory Board of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. She is a member of the Association of Black American Ambassadors and numerous other professional organizations.

In August of 2020, Page joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as Professor of the Practice of International Diplomacy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy with a concurrent appointment as Professor from Practice at the University of Michigan Law School. She is also assisting with the growth of U-M’s Weiser Diplomacy Center. Ambassador Page was a Visiting Professor of the Practice at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in 2019-2020.

Ambassador Page began her foreign affairs career at the U.S. Department of State in 1991 as attorney-adviser for Politico-Military Affairs in the Office of the Legal Adviser following the conclusion of her Rotary International Postgraduate Fellowship to Nepal where she conducted research on women’s and children’s rights. Page was also a foreign service officer/regional legal adviser for East and Southern Africa for USAID, based in Kenya and Botswana, and political officer in Rwanda.

Originally from the Chicago area, Ambassador Page received her Juris Doctor (JD) from Harvard Law School, her A.B. in English With High Distinction from the University of Michigan, and Certificates of Distinction (English) and Merit (Psychology) from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland before attending law school. She loves learning about other cultures, traveling, and playing euchre.


Monica Hakimi, the James V. Campbell Professor of Law, teaches and writes in the fields of public international law and U.S. foreign relations law. Her research ties together doctrine and theory to examine how international law operates and adapts to contemporary challenges, particularly in the areas of human and national security.

Professor Hakimi earned her JD from Yale Law School and her BA, summa cum laude, from Duke University. After law school, she clerked for The Hon. Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then served as attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. While at the State Department, she counseled policymakers on nuclear nonproliferation, efforts to reconstruct Iraq immediately after the 2003 war, international investment disputes, and international civil aviation. She also served as counsel before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and worked on cases before the International Court of Justice and U.S. federal courts and agencies.

Between 2013 and 2016, Professor Hakimi was the associate dean for academic programming at Michigan Law. She currently is a contributing editor of EJIL Talk!, the blog that is affiliated with the European Journal of International Law. She also serves on the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law, the executive council of the American Society of International Law, and the advisory board for the Institute of International Peace and Security at the University of Cologne, Germany.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Law, Public Policy, Race
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Donia Human Rights Center, Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, International Institute, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, African Studies Center, Law School, LSA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, International Policy Center, Weiser Diplomacy Center