U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told university students Wednesday that finding one's ideal major in college or the perfect life's work is like falling in love. Rice struck an easygoing, sometimes jocular tone with an audience of mostly English-speaking students at Shevchenko University in the Ukrainian capital. She told a story about going off to college intent on studying to be a concert pianist but finding herself seduced by the study of the Soviet Union.
"I don't have any Russian blood that I know of. I had never been to the Soviet Union at that time and yet I became very, very interested in it," Rice said. "It's a little bit like love. You can't explain why it happens to you." She advised the students: "Find what it is you love. Find what it is you're just interested in because you're interested in it and you'll be better at doing it."
Rice, 51, is unmarried. She is sometimes accompanied to formal events by former pro football player Gene Washington. Asked by a female foreign language student about the special challenges of being a "woman politician," Rice shrugged. "Since I've never been anything else, it's a little hard to say. I don't know what it would be like to be a man in this position."
Rice didn't quibble with the characterization as a politician, but at another point in the exchange she addressed her own political ambitions. A young man asked if she intended to run for president. As she has before, Rice said she has no plans or desire to run, but she did not close off the option. Her name is sometimes mentioned as a possible Republican candidate in 2008, when President George W. Bush's term expires.
"I like what I'm doing. I like being secretary of state," Rice said. "It takes a special person to run for office ... in the United States or any place else, and I've just never seen myself as somebody who wanted to run for office."
She told the students she never even ran for a student government office in school. "And I most certainly don't have the desire to run for president because that's a really hard job." Rice's remarks were part of a State Department effort to present a more human face for the United States around the world. Rice often speaks at universities, a setting the former college professor finds comfortable.
There were a few serious moments, such as when Rice told the students they must work hard to secure the democracy their country won in last year's Orange Revolution. "Ukraine has won its democracy the hard way. You won it in the streets," Rice said. "People stood their ground and they insisted on a democratic resolution."
Now, Rice said "you have to defend it." That means voting, working in political campaigns and asking tough questions of candidates, she said. "It also means that you have to be really willing to accept that some people will be defeated and some people will win; that's the nature of democracy", reported AP. P.T.
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