The U.S. faces a range of rapidly evolving foreign policy challenges. The ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, strategic issues posed by China, volatility in the world’s energy markets, and U.S.-Mexico relations all create challenges for the U.S. and the American people.
Under President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has led the country’s foreign policy strategy since being sworn in on Jan. 27, 2021. He has overseen efforts to revitalize U.S. alliances, including NATO, and advance U.S. interests at home and abroad.
On Oct. 3, Blinken joined the Honorable David Satterfield, director of Rice University’s Baker Institute, for a wide-ranging conversation about foreign policy and U.S. national security interests. The Honorable James A. Baker, III, former secretary of state and honorary chair of the Baker Institute, delivered opening remarks.
This event was presented as part of the Shell Distinguished Lecture Series by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. It was free and open to the public via in-person attendance or livestream.
Shell Distinguished Lecture Series
The Shell Distinguished Lecture Series is the Baker Institute's flagship speakers program, reflecting the vision of our honorary chair, former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, and Shell's commitment to defining the role of statesmanship, integrity, and bold leadership in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
A full transcript of the event is available here.
Select photos from the event are available for download; if posting publicly, please include the credit line “Courtesy of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy” where possible.
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The Honorable James A. Baker, III
Honorary Chair, Baker Institute for Public Policy; Senior Partner, Baker Botts, L.L.P.; Former Secretary of State; Former White House Chief of Staff
The Honorable Antony J. Blinken is the 71st U.S. secretary of state. He was nominated by President Joe Biden on November 23, 2020, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2021 and sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris the following day.
Over three decades and three presidential administrations, Blinken has helped shape U.S. foreign policy to ensure it protects U.S. interests and delivers results for the American people. He served as deputy secretary of state for President Barack Obama from 2015-2017 and before that served as Obama’s principal deputy national security advisor.
During the first term of the Obama administration, Blinken was national security advisor to then-Vice President Biden. He also served as a member of the National Security Council (NSC) staff during the Bill Clinton administration, including two years as the senior director for European affairs and the president’s principal advisor on the countries of Europe, the European Union and NATO. He also spent four years as Clinton’s chief foreign policy speechwriter, and he led the NSC’s strategic planning team. Blinken’s public service began at the State Department, where he worked as a special assistant in what was then called the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs from 1993-1994.
Outside of government, Blinken has worked in the private sector, civil society and journalism. He was a founder of international strategic consulting firm WestExec Advisors and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2001 and 2002. Before joining government, Blinken practiced law in New York and Paris. He was also a reporter for The New Republic magazine and is the author of “Ally Versus Ally: America, Europe and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis” (Praeger, 1987).
Blinken is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.
The Honorable David M. Satterfield
Director, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; Janice and Robert McNair Chair in Public Policy; Former Ambassador to Lebanon and Turkey