Madeleine Albright became the first woman to represent the United States in foreign affairs as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton.
Who was Madeleine Albright?
As a child, Madeleine Albright moved with her family to the United States. After studying at Wellesley College and Columbia University, Albright entered politics at the urging of a former professor. In 1993, Albright became the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and three years later, she was appointed Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, making her the first woman to hold the position. Albright served in that capacity for several years before leaving in 2001 to pursue other projects.
Albright was born Marie Jana Korbel in Prague on May 15, 1937. When she was just a toddler, she and her family fled her native Czechoslovakia shortly after the Nazis invaded the country at the start of World War II, and became They settled in England for the duration of the war. Although Albright was raised Catholic, she would later learn that her parents had converted from Judaism to the Christian faith and that three of her grandparents had died in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
After briefly resettling in Czechoslovakia, in 1948 the Korbels fled again when the communists came to power. They settled in Denver, Colorado, and Albright’s father, Josef, who had worked as a journalist and diplomat, became a distinguished professor at the University of Denver. Albright grew up learning a lot about world affairs from his father. Among others who would benefit from Josef Korbel’s instruction was one of his favorite students, the future Secretary of State. Condoleezza rice.
A brilliant student, Albright earned a scholarship to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. There he edited the school newspaper and pursued his passion for politics. One summer, he got an internship at the Denver Mail, and soon fell in love with a fellow inmate, posting heir Joseph Albright. She graduated with honors from Wellesley in 1959, and she and Joseph were married shortly thereafter.
Over the next several years, the couple moved to various cities while Joseph pursued his career as a journalist. Albright began studying Russian and international relations while raising the couple’s three daughters, twins Alice and Anne (born 1961) and Katherine (born 1967). Madeleine completed her education at Columbia University, earning a certificate in Russian studies in 1968 and her master’s and doctorate degrees. in public law and government in 1976.
Counselor and Educator
While still a student, in 1972, Albright first entered the political arena as a legislative aide to Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie. Four years later, she was hired by national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski (one of her former Columbia professors) to work on the National Security Council during the president’s administration. jimmy carter. However, when the Democrats fell from power in the early 1980s, Albright went into the private sector, working for various Washington nonprofits and becoming a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University, where she won four times the Teacher of the Year Award.
Also around this time, Albright and her husband divorced after he left her for another woman. “It was a shock,” she said later. the washington post. But he refused to let heartbreak ruin his career or his social life, arranging numerous gatherings at his home where the Democratic elite met to discuss the issues of the day. On foreign policy issues, Albright quickly became one of the party’s leading figures and, among other honors, she served as an adviser to Michael Dukakis during his 1988 presidential bid.
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Leader in Global Affairs
In 1992, the president-elect Bill Clinton he chose Albright to manage the United States’ relationship with the United Nations. He officially assumed the role of United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations in January 1993 and quickly distinguished himself as a force to be reckoned with. During her four years in office, she became an advocate of “assertive multilateralism,” saying the new republic in an interview that “America’s leadership in world politics and in multilateral organizations is a fundamental tenet of the Clinton Administration.” Among other efforts, Albright lobbied for expanded US military involvement in the Balkans during their protracted conflicts in the 1990s, a move for which he would publicly clash with colin powell—and also prompted the US intervention in the 1994 Haitian coup.
In December 1996, Clinton once again turned to Albright for her foreign policy expertise and nominated her for secretary of state. When she took office the following January, she became the 64th Secretary of State and the first woman to hold that position. In her new role, Albright quickly lived up to her reputation as a determined and outspoken problem solver who gets involved in a wide range of issues.
During his tenure, Albright advocated for increased human rights and democracy around the world and fought to stop the spread of nuclear weapons from former Soviet countries to rogue nations like North Korea. A NATO champion, Albright also sought to expand the organization’s membership and in 1999 pushed for its direct military intervention during the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. As a diplomat, she was heavily involved in working to normalize US relations with countries like China and Vietnam, and in 1997, she was a major player in a Middle East peace mission, during which she brokered negotiations between Israel and various Arab nations. . In October 2000, Albright made history again when she became the first US Secretary of State to travel to North Korea.
Last years and book
Although he left office in 2001, for Albright life after government has been anything but calm. She has written several New York Times best-selling books, including Madam secretary: a memory (2003), The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006), Read My Pins: Stories From A Diplomat’s Jeweler (2009), and more recently, Prague Winter: A Personal History of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (2012). In 2007, Albright put his international experience to use when he launched the private investment fund Albright Capital Management, which seeks to make long-term investments in emerging markets for its clients. Albright also serves as Co-Chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Hague Institute for Global Justice.
Albright has received numerous honors for her contributions to diplomacy, democracy, and world affairs, including honorary degrees from various universities, and in 2012, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Despite this impressive resume, it’s not just “all work and no play” for Albright, who has always displayed an excellent sense of humor. In October 2014, she engaged in a Twitter war of good humor with a late-night talk show host. Conan O’Brien about their respective Halloween costumes, and in February 2015 he appeared in an episode of the popular comedy series Parks and Recreationoffering kind advice to Amy PoehlerLeslie’s character, with waffles.
albright died on March 23, 2022, from cancer. He was 84 years old.