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        Secretary of State's Role in Diplomacy

        Use the resources in this media gallery to learn more about the role of the Secretary of State of the United States. The Secretary holds the most senior position in the President's Cabinet and is responsible for managing the Department of State and all of its overseas missions, including some 67,000 employees in 2011.

        (Text Source: U.S. Diplomacy Center)

        Secretary of State: Colin Powell

        Colin Powell served as Secretary of State from 2001-2005 when George W. Bush was in office. The Secretary of State is the President’s chief advisor on foreign policy. He or she travels around the world to build good relationships, advance American interests, and negotiate treaties and agreements on a vast range of issues.

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        Secretary of State: Condoleezza Rice

        Condoleezza Rice served as Secretary of State from 2005-2009 during President George W. Bush's time in office. At official state dinners, the Secretary of State is the first Cabinet member to sit next to the President, immediately preceding any former Presidents and former First Ladies, who are followed by the rest of the Cabinet.

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        Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton

        Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State from 2009-2013 during Barack Obama's presidency. The Secretary is responsible for managing the Department of State and all of its overseas missions, including some 67,000 employees in 2011. The Secretary holds the most senior position in the President’s Cabinet. If the President were to resign or die, the Secretary of State is fourth in line of succession after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate.

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        Secretary of State: John Kerry

        John Kerry is the current Secretary of State. There have been 68 Secretaries of State in the nation’s history. Three have been women and two have been African-Americans. In early American history, the position of Secretary was seen as a steppingstone to the Presidency. Six of the early Secretaries of State went on to become President. Secretaries of State have also typically been highly educated. Four had doctoral degrees, and four have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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