Madeleine Albright speaks at the renaming ceremony for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, 2008
Madeleine Korbel Albright (1937-) was America’s first female Secretary of State. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Albright is the daughter of Czechoslovakian immigrants, Josef and Anna Korbel. Her father Josef was a professor and dean at the University of Denver (DU). Albright spent her teen years in Denver before moving to Long Island, New York in 1959. She is proficient in French, Czech, Russian, Polish and English. Albright was appointed to the United Nations by the Clinton Administration in 1992. She was a Chief Legislative Assistant, National Security Council Member, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, research professor and President of the Center for National Policy prior to her appointment to the United Nations.
Madeleine K. Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937. Two years after she was born, German troops invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. Her father, Josef Korbel, a Czech diplomat at the time, fled with the family to Britain until the war was over. The family then returned to their home in Czechoslovakia, but fled again in 1948 to the United States when a communist coup overthrew the democratic government of Czechoslovakia. Albright’s parents sought and received political asylum in the U.S. The family relocated to Denver where her father Josef Korbel started his career as a professor at the University of Denver.
Albright speaks at 2008 renaming ceremony for Korbel School of International Studies
As a former Czech diplomat Korbel specialized in Eastern European studies during his academic career. He helped found the Graduate School of International Studies in 1964, where he served as Dean until 1969. The graduate school was renamed the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2008. Albright attended Morey Middle School and Kent Denver School in Denver. She graduated from Kent in 1955, and left Denver for Wellesley College in Massachusetts on a full scholarship. Albright graduated with honors from Wellesley in 1959 with her bachelor’s degree in political science. On June 11, 1959, three days after graduating from Wellesley, Madeleine Korbel married Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, the heir and grandson of the founder of the New York Daily News. The couple had three children, Anne , Alice, and Katherine before their divorce in 1983. Albright earned her master’s in 1968 and Ph.D. in 1976 from Columbia University in New York. In 2007, Albright earned LL.D. Honors from the University of North Carolina.
Madeleine Albright’s political career started in Maine where she worked as the Washington coordinator for Senator Edmund Muskie in 1975 and1976. From 1976 to 1978 she served as the Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator Muske who was U.S. Secretary of State from 1980-1981. She was a staff member of the National Security Council at the White House under her former professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Adviser, from 1978 to 1981. Albright served as the senior fellow at the Soviet and Eastern European Affairs Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1981. Also from 1981 to1982 she served as a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellow in Washington, D.C. Albright changed careers and from 1982 to 1993, becoming a research professor in international affairs and Director of Women in Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She then served as a foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidates Walter Mondale (1984), Michael Dukakis (1988), and Bill Clinton (1992). She was president of the Center for National Policy in Washington D.C. from 1985 to1993. Albright also served as the vice chairperson of National Democratic Institute for International Affairs from 1984 to 1993 and chair in 2001. She joined President Bill Clinton’s Administration from 1993 to1997 as ambassador to the United Nations and from 1997 to 2001 as the U.S. Secretary of State. Albright is currently the founder and principal of The Albright Group, LLC founded in 2001.
Albright’s creative works include, Poland: The Role of the Press in Political Change, 1983; Madam Secretary: A Memoir, 2003 as well as Memo to the President Elect: How to Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership, 2008. She also co-authored with Bill Woodward in The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, 2006. Albright received both the John Heinz Award as well as the National Association of Elementary School Principals Distinguished Service to Education Award in 2001.
Christine Reid, “Going Back to School,” The Villager (May 22, 1997).
Donald M. Rothberg, “A Tough, Courageous Lady,” The Rocky Mountain News (December 6, 1996).
“Good Choice for Secretary of State,” The Rocky Mountain News (December 7, 1996).
Madeleine Korbel Albright, Who’s Who in American History, in the Penrose Digital Library, http://search.marquiswhoswho.com/executable/SearchResults.aspx?db=E (accessed May 7, 2010).
Nancy Gibbs, “Voice of America,” Time Magazine (December 16, 1996) p. 32-33.
Robert C. Toth, “U.N. Appointee a ‘Mean Democrat,” Los Angeles Times (December 23, 1992).
Romel Hernandez, “Clinton U.N. Nominee Albright Has Ties to Denver,” The Rocky Mountain News (December 23, 1992).
Stanley Meisler, “U.N. Work Honed Skills for Rise to Diplomatic Zenith,” Los Angeles Times (December 6, 1996).