Madeleine Albright: The First Female US Secretary of State

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 under Clinton who passed away on March 23, 2022

Recently, the US has suffered a tragic loss in its political community. Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, passed away on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 from cancer at the age of 84. Albright stands out as a political figure because she was the first woman to ever hold the position of Secretary of State. This meant that she was responsible for administrating the President’s foreign policies. However, there are many interesting things about Albright that made her very special as a political official.

Albright being sworn in as Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, February 17, 1997

First and foremost, Albright was only one of two Secretaries of State to be born outside the US, the other being Henry Kissinger. She was originally from Prague, Czechoslovakia, where she was born on May 15, 1937 as Maria Jane Korbelova. Throughout her growing up, she and her family suffered from oppression at the hands of the Nazi Party as well as Communists. In 1948, after spending her first ten years living with her family and constantly fearing for their lives, the Korbelovas then headed to Denver, Colorado in the United States of America, although they would move to Washington DC in 1962, a symbol of Albright’s future.

Before her tenure as Secretary of State, Albright worked in several political stints, such as US Ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997 where she was a strong advocate for American interests and increased involvement in the UN’s activities and a Democratic Party foreign policy advisor to 1984 vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferrero and 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. However, in 1997, Albright was chosen by the US Senate and President Bill Clinton to replace the retiring Warren Christopher as Secretary of State.

As the first woman in this political position, Albright took the role in stride, being an ardent supporter for military intervention and above all democracy and human rights. Some of her achievements include successfully leading a movement for NATO bombings in order to stop the Albanian genocide in Yugoslavia by Yugoslavians and Serbians (“Madeleine’s War”) in 1999 and partaking in failed attempts at a deal with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to end North Korea’s nuclear program; despite this she became the first highest ranking US government official to visit North Korea.

After Clinton’s presidency, Albright continued to be involved in politics; aside from starting her own DC based consulting firm, she also was involved in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Albright also wrote several books over her life pertaining to foreign affairs and was the 2012 recipient of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. Although Albright is now gone, she will forever be remembered as one of US politics’ most influential and respected figures, which is helped by the fact that growing up in a country under poor conditions and mistreatment of other groups of people helped shape her into the person that she would become.

Learn and Burn

While I was doing the tree pose on the mat, I realized that through standing strong and tall and tackling adversity while growing up, people can grow up and do amazing things, such as help citizens of other countries that are going through similar situations regarding what they had to endure earlier on in their life.

Note To Self

Women are one of the world’s greatest gifts!

Dr. Grimaldi’s Takeaway

As a positive psychologist, I am very proud of Jackson and his ability to always keep a half glass full, even in tough times. I admire his passion for current events and world news as he studies it every week. I also love to listen to his takeaway on each piece of news he is studying because he doesn’t favor one political party, but uses his own critical thinking to come up with his own opinions. He stands tall and is not influenced by social media, news channels, or others’ opinions. I love his ability to relate to successful and powerful women as he does not define them by their sexes, but their ability to do the right thing and stand up for others around the world. Jackson has a passion for learning as a neuroscientist. One of the ways to keep yourself and your brain healthy is to keep learning and be curious about all subjects, an ability which Jackson has.

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