Madeleine Albright was a trailblazing political figure and feminist icon. She also served as the first woman to serve as US secretary of state.
She had three daughters with her husband Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, all of whom went on to have impressive careers. Her daughters Alice, Anne and Katherine Medill Albright spoke at her funeral Wednesday. Watch their full remarks below.
Alice Albright is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and a former U.S. Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. She is also a former Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, where she served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2013.
She was born Marie Jana Korbel in Prague, Czechoslovakia on May 15, 1937. She and her family fled Czechoslovakia in 1939, shortly after the Nazi invasion of their country.
Though she was raised Roman Catholic, Albright later converted to Episcopalian religion and learned about her family’s Jewish heritage. She was a lifelong opponent of totalitarian governments and fascism.
As a foreign policy expert, Albright fought to increase human rights and democracy around the world and was a leading advocate for halting the spread of nuclear weapons. She played a crucial role in efforts to end the “ethnic cleansing” genocide of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, and was one of the first high-ranking Western diplomats to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-il.
A prominent politician and diplomat, Anne Albright was the first woman to serve as secretary of state. She was also a feminist and a role model for women around the world.
Born in Prague, she moved to Denver with her parents when she was a child. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she met her future husband, publishing heir Joseph Albright.
She later received a certificate in Russian studies from Columbia University. She then earned her master’s degree and doctorate in international affairs.
In 1972, she began her career in politics, working as a fundraiser for Senator Edmund Muskie’s lost presidential campaign and eventually serving as his chief legislative aide. She then joined the National Security Council under President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
She negotiated with Yugoslavia to end the genocide of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and was one of the architects of efforts to shut down North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. She was a strong advocate of democracy promotion and served as a strong voice for the United States.
Katherine Medill Albright
The world was stunned to learn that Madeleine Albright passed away this week, aged 84. Her daughters Alice, Anne and Katherine shared a touching eulogy at her memorial service.
Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and came to the United States with her family when she was a teenager. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 and received a PhD from Columbia University in 1975, writing her thesis on the Prague Spring.
She worked as an aide to Senator Edmund Muskie in the 1970s before being recruited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor. She also served as a congressional liaison for the National Security Council.
She later became the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, which she did under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. She pushed for NATO expansion into former Soviet territory and the post-Gulf War sanctions on Iraq. Her pragmatism and strategic thinking earned her international fame.
Madeleine Korbel Albright
Madeleine Korbel Albright was a renowned diplomat and political leader. She was a key member of the Clinton administration and served as Secretary of State, becoming the first woman to hold that position.
The daughter of a Czech-born diplomat, she was born in Prague on May 15, 1937. Her family, including her parents Josef and Anna Korbel, escaped Nazi Germany in 1940, fleeing to England before returning to Prague for a brief time.
In 1948, when the Communist party seized power in Prague, the Korbels again fled for their lives. Eventually, the family arrived in America, where her father, Josef Korbel, became a distinguished professor at the University of Denver.
After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wellesley College, Madeleine continued her studies at Columbia University. She earned a Russian certificate, a master’s degree in international affairs and a doctorate.
She was a respected diplomat who advocated for democratic reforms and human rights in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. She fought against the use of chemical weapons and for the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and she was also involved in efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear program. She served as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was an advisor to the World Justice Project.
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