Madeleine Albright, The First Female Secretary of State, Dies at the Age of 84



Madeleine Albrigth

On January 23, 1997, the first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was sworn in. Throughout the course of her term, Albright fought for human rights, democracy, and equality. She paved the way for two other women to serve as Secretary of State and opened up more women to governmental jobs. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2022, the former Secretary of State passed away after a long battle with cancer. Albright was a strong, inspirational female figure and has inspired many people today.     

Born on May 15, 1937, Albright was christened Marie Jana Korbel in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She lived through World War II as a child. During the war, she and her family were forced to flee Czechoslovakia for England because of their Jewish heritage. At the end of World War II, they moved back to Czechoslovakia, only to be driven out again by communists taking over the country. The Korbels relocated in the United States in 1948 and thrived in their new country. Marie Jana Korbel changed her name to Madeleine, proceeded to have a family, expand her education, and eventually get a government job.

Madeleine Korbel married Joseph Albright in 1959, the same year that she graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She had three daughters: Anne, Alice, and Katharine Albright. While expanding her family and taking care of her children, Albright was working toward a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in public law and government. At Columbia University. After she got her Ph.D. in 1976, she worked for smaller politicians and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C. In 1993, President Bill Clinton made her the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Albright was praised for her determination and fervor, and after her years as Ambassador, she was elected Secretary of State by a unanimous vote from the U.S. Senate.           

During her term as Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright was an advocate for many world problems, working to solve them. She supported the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, sending American troops to other countries to provide food and protection, and much more. After her term, she still continued to fight for what she believed in. She wrote books, gave speeches, and broke down barriers. Madeleine Albright worked tirelessly to help people and the environment.   

Albright worked to make the world a safer place and accomplished many incredible and interesting feats. For example, she spoke five languages, allowing her to communicate and understand many different people because of her knowledge of English, Czech, Polish, French, and Russian. Another of her signature actions was wearing brooches and pins as statements. When she had been called derogatory names, she wore pins to represent them. Once, after being called a snake by Saddam Hussein, Albright responded by donning a gold snake pin. Sometimes her pins and brooches conveyed a statement or counterargument. After the Russians “bugged” the State Department, she brandished a bug pin at their next meeting. Though Albright was passionate and quick-witted in many subjects, she specialized in military affairs. She pushed for the U.S. to aid and support countries in need and made incredible efforts to make the world a better place.   

Sadly, Madeleine Albright lost her battle with cancer and passed away. She was a strong-willed advocate and role model who will never be forgotten.