By: Victoria Lopez Mozota
Professor, author, diplomat, businesswoman, and first ever woman to be nominated as Secretary of State; Madeleine Korbrl Albright led a memorable and inspirational life. The icon known today as Madeleine Albright was originally born as Marie Jean “Madlenka” Korbel. She was born in Czechoslovakia on May 15, 1937, but fled to England in 1939 after the Nazis invaded. According to Britannica, “she spent most of her life believing that they had fled for political reasons, she learned in 1997 that her family was Jewish and that three of her grandparents had died in German concentration camps.”
After WWII, the Korbels moved back to Czechoslovakia but later moved to the U.S. in 1948. Madeleine graduated from Wellesley College with honors in political science and got married to American journalist, Joseph Albright in 1959. She later obtained a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1968 and started working as a fundraiser for Senator Edmund Muskie’s presidential campaign shortly after. Unfortunately, Muskie’s campaign wasn’t successful. However, she began to work as his assistant and made many connections with influential people.
Picture Source: Diverse Education
While she had a lot of experience in the political field due to past opportunities, it wasn’t until Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 that Madeleine began to build a reputation for herself. According to Britannica, “Clinton named her ambassador to the United Nations in 1993. At the UN she gained a reputation for tough-mindedness as a fierce advocate for American interests, and she promoted an increased role for the United States in UN operations, particularly those with a military component. Her nomination to the position of Secretary of State was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1997.”
She was known to advocate for human rights and democracy often, and displayed it through frequently intervening. In 1999, she was involved in the Kosovo conflict and even talked to North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, in efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear project. Madeleine left her position in 2001 but continued to have an impact. She wrote many books and served on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was later awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom. She unfortunately passed on March 23, 2022. She inspired many and stood up for what was right. Madeleine Albright was and continues to be a representation of what democracy should be.
Picture Source: The Conversation