BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, will deliver the keynote address at a November joint meeting of groups that seek to promote trade, investment and cultural exchange between seven Southeastern states and Japan.
Dr. Rice, a Birmingham native who served as the chief U.S. diplomat from 2005 to 2009 and held important national security roles, is the Keynote Speaker at the 38th annual joint forum of the Southeast U.S.-Japan and Japan-Southeast U.S. associations. Her address will take place in Birmingham on Nov. 16.
SEUS Japan 38 is expected to attract hundreds of business leaders, economic developers and political officials from across the Southeast and Japan as part of an initiative that aims to broaden economic and cultural ties. The joint meeting will take place Nov. 14-17 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said the groups traditionally line up top business leaders and experts from Japan and the Southeast to cover topics of shared interest at each annual meeting. He said Dr. Rice’s multi-faceted career and deep experience in international affairs make her an ideal speaker for this year’s conference, whose theme is “Initiative For a Sustainable Future – Through Continuous Innovation.”
“Alabama’s own Dr. Rice is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable people on global affairs, national security and education,” Secretary Canfield said. “Her perspectives on the evolving relationship between the U.S. and Asia, particularly Japan, will be the highlight of the conference.”
In January 2005, Dr. Rice became the second woman and first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. Prior to that, she had served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the first woman to hold the key post of National Security Advisor.
Between 1989 and 1991, Dr. Rice served in various high-ranking roles on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff.
Dr. Rice has long-standing ties to Stanford University, where she joined the faculty in 1981. She served as Stanford’s provost from 1993-1999, making her responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and an academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.
Today, she is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and a political science professor at Stanford. Dr. Rice serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards and is also senior advisor to Birmingham-based Regions Financial Corp.’s board of directors.
She is a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Silicon Valley, California, and Washington, D.C., that helps major companies expand into emerging markets.
In addition, Rice has authored and co-authored numerous books, including two bestsellers, “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington” and “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family.”
The SEUS Japan Association was founded in 1975 and is closely linked to its Japanese counterpart, the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association, which is made up of top Japanese business leaders and government officials. Joining Alabama in SEUS Japan are Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Two-way trade between Japan and the Southeastern states topped $30 billion last year, and Japanese companies have been active investors in the region, particularly in automobile assembly and auto parts manufacturing. Japanese companies in fields ranging from chemicals to advanced materials also have established manufacturing facilities in the Southeast.
Alabama illustrates the bond between the region and Japan. Alabama companies last year exported nearly $600 million in products to Japan, making it a top trade partner for the state. Since 1999, when automaker Honda announced plans to open an assembly plant in Alabama, Japanese firms have invested more than $4.8 billion in the state, creating nearly 16,000 jobs.
The Alabama Department of Commerce is helping to organize the 2015 joint meeting. Grayson Hall, chief executive officer of Regions Financial, is serving as co-chair of the Birmingham event.