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    Madeleine Albright, first female U.S. secretary of state, has died : NPR

    Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state, who served under the Clinton administration, has died.

    Politics

    Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become U.S. secretary of state, has died

    Updated March 23, 20226:11 PM ET

    Heard on All Things Considered

    FERNANDO ALFONSO III

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    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2017 in Washington, D.C.

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Madeleine Albright, the first woman to be U.S. secretary of state, has died, according to a statement from her family.

    Albright was 84, and the cause of death was cancer, her family said.

    "She was surrounded by family and friends. We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend," the statement said.

    She served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 during the Clinton administration.

    "Hillary and I are profoundly saddened by the passing of Madeleine Albright. She was one of the finest secretaries of state, an outstanding UN ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being," former President Bill Clinton said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "Few leaders have been so perfectly suited for the times in which they served."

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    Madeleine Albright Warns: Don't Let Fascism Go 'Unnoticed Until It's Too Late'

    Albright was born in what was then Czechoslovakia and fled with her family after the Nazis occupied the country in 1939.

    Albright's father Josef was part of the Czechoslovak Foreign Service and became ambassador to Yugoslavia, according to a biography from the State Department's Office of the Historian.

    President Biden commented on the challenges Albright faced as a young woman.

    "She was an immigrant fleeing persecution. A refugee in need of safe haven. And like so many before her — and after — she was proudly American. To make this country that she loved even better — she defied convention and broke barriers again and again," Biden said in a statement Wednesday. "Madeleine was always a force for goodness, grace, and decency—and for freedom."

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    Biden has also ordered flags at the White House and on U.S. public buildings and grounds to be flown at half-staff to honor Albright.

    Her family moved to Denver, Colo., after the communist coup in 1948 in Yugoslavia, the Office of the Historian said. Albright became a U.S. citizen in 1957 and earned her bachelor's degree in political science with honors from Wellesley College in 1959. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Law and Government from Columbia University in 1976, the office added.

    Albright's career in politics began as chief legislative assistant to the late Sen. Edmund Muskie, a Democrat from Maine, from 1976 to 1978. She would go on to serve as a White House staff member for former President Jimmy Carter and on the National Security Council from 1978 to 1981, the office added.

    Before serving as secretary of state, she was appointed ambassador to the United Nations by Clinton in 1993.

    "As secretary of state, Albright promoted the expansion of NATO eastward into the former Soviet bloc nations and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics to rogue nations," the Office of the Historian wrote.

    Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the current U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called Albright "a trailblazer and a luminary" during a Wednesday meeting of the General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine.

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    "She left an indelible mark on the world and on the United Nations. Our country and our United Nations are stronger for her service," Thomas-Greenfield said.

    Albright spoke with NPR last June ahead of a meeting in Geneva between Russian and U.S. leaders. Albright recalled the first time she met Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 1999. He was "trying very hard to ingratiate himself with President Clinton," she said.

    "Well, my first impression was that he was kind of trying to figure out who he was. But my impression in the second two meetings were that he very much liked the background of being in the Kremlin with all its history, that he was smart, that he was prepared and that he had a view about how things were going to go," Albright told NPR.

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    Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state, dies at 84

    The first female US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, has died at the age of 84. Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Albright never shied away from speaking her mind.

    NEWS

    Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state, dies at 84

    The first female US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, has died at the age of 84. Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Albright never shied away from speaking her mind.

    Albright remained active in international affairs for two decades after her term ended

    Madeleine Korbel Albright, the first woman to become US secretary of state, died Wednesday, her family said in a statement. She was 84 years old.

    She died of cancer, her family said, adding that she was "surrounded by family and friends" at the time.

    In 1997, following Bill Clinton's reelection as US president, Albright was sworn in as the country's first female secretary of state. By then Albright, a political science professor, had already made a name for herself as a foreign policy adviser to several Democratic presidential candidates — including Clinton. In 1993, during his first term in office, Clinton had made Albright the US ambassador to the UN.

    Albright had three daughters. She divorced her husband, Joseph Albright, in 1982. Albright died on Wednesday at the age of 84.

    During her first year as the top US diplomat, Albright — who spoke Czech, English, French, Russian, Serbian and Polish — set a record for foreign visits, with 98, only beaten by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, with 102. Most Europeans welcomed her nomination, expecting her to show a special interest in the countries of central and eastern Europe as well as former Soviet republics.

    Albright led the way for future Secretarys of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton

    "Back then, hardly anyone thought a woman could do this job," Albright said of the mood when she took office. As a supporter of Hillary Clinton's failed bid for the presidency in 2016, Albright said there was "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." And, despite different political worldviews, she was friends with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served under President George W. Bush.

    'Fascinating political figure'

    During her tenure, Albright focused on advancing the Middle East peace process, improving ties with China and Russia, and promoting NATO's eastern enlargement. She also upheld America's tough stance via-a-vis Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. In 1999, she pushed for a NATO intervention in the Kosovo conflict against Serbia to end massacres against the Albanian minority — even without UN backing. It was during this time that she met and ultimately befriended Germany's then-Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who later called her a "fascinating political figure and close personal friend."

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    Madeleine Albright dies: DW's Carolina Chimoy

    Albright was famous for practicing "jewelry-box diplomacy." She even wrote a book, "Read My Pins," about her fondness for using pins to convey subtle, or not so subtle, political messages. In 1994, Albright was called a serpent by the Iraqi press. In her meeting with Iraqi officials later that same year, she proudly wore a golden snake pin. In later years, the secretary of state would wear cheerful butterfly, balloon or flower brooches when in an optimistic mood. By the same token, she would sometimes wear pins expressing a more somber or combative outlook — such as when she donned a wasp brooch upon meeting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. After leaving office, she once recalled an encounter with Russian President Putin, who inquired about her three monkey pin, which is associated with the proverbial saying "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." Albright said she then lambasted Putin for Russia's stance on the war in Chechnya.

    The secretary of state's tenure ended when President Clinton was succeeded by George W. Bush in 2001 election. Albright was adamant that, despite leaving the administration, she would remain involved in foreign affairs, calling the United States an "indispensable nation."

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    Havel funeral held in Prague

    Havel funeral held in Prague Albright's post-secretary career

    Indeed, Albright did just that when she urged her successor, Colin Powell, to put down the phone and travel to the Middle East to promote regional peace talks. She similarly didn't mince when words when she said the Iraq war was "going to go down in history as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy because we have lost the element of the goodness of American power and we have lost our moral authority." She said the Abu Ghraib torture scandal and George W. Bush's policies had tarnished America's standing.

    Albright was also critical of President Donald Trump.

    "I'm very, very troubled by his unpredictability and his swinging back and forth on what he says," Albright said in April 2020. "In fact, it's important to deliver a message if you're president of the United States, one that makes some sense, and he's not doing that."

    Albright, who was raised Catholic and had wanted to become a priest as a little girl, only learned of her Jewish roots at age 59 — and that many of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust. She told her family history in "Prague Winter," her 2012 memoir. Born in the Bohemian capital on May 15, 1937, Albright and her family moved to London just before Nazi Germany invaded what was then Czechoslovakia. After the war, the family returned to Prague. Upon the Communist takeover, the family fled once more — this time to the United States. Albright became a US citizen in 1957.

    Source : www.dw.com

    Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of State, dies at 84

    In 1997, she became the highest-ranking woman in American history.

    FOREIGN POLICY

    Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of State, dies at 84

    In 1997, she became the highest-ranking woman in American history.

    Madeleine Albright: “The difference frankly between being an academic and being a policymaker is you all of a sudden have to put your money where your mouth is.” | Roger Cremers/laif/Redux Pictures

    By DAVID COHEN

    03/23/2022 02:43 PM EDT

    Updated: 03/23/2022 06:26 PM EDT

    Madeleine Albright, a refugee from both Nazi Germany and Soviet communism who became the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of State, died on Wednesday. She was 84.

    A statement from her family said the cause was cancer, and that she was surrounded by friends and family. The statement recounted Albright’s journey to public office, in which she “rose to the heights of American policy-making.” She was a “tireless champion of democracy and human rights,” her family said.

    As the world rearranged itself after the Cold War, Albright was a major figure in international diplomacy as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the United Nations and later his secretary of State.

    “As the first woman to serve as America’s top diplomat,” President Barack Obama said when presenting her with the Medal of Freedom in 2012, “Madeleine’s courage and toughness helped bring peace to the Balkans and paved the way for progress in some of the most unstable corners of the world.”

    Clinton, in a statement on Wednesday, called Albright “one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding U.N. Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being.” He talked about Albright’s vision for U.S. policy and the role it played in the world, citing multiple examples, including her work in Bosnia and Kosovo and her support for NATO expansion in Central Europe.

    “Through it all, even until our last conversation just two weeks ago, she never lost her great sense of humor or her determination to go out with her boots on, supporting Ukraine in its fight to preserve freedom and democracy,” Clinton said. “Madeleine’s passing is an immense loss to the world in a time when we need the lessons of her life the most.”

    Her approach to diplomacy was dubbed, by both admirers and critics, as the Albright Doctrine, and took to heart the notion of using U.S. might in support of both American strategic interests and moral values. In 1999, the Albright Doctrine was described by Time’s Walter Isaacson: “A tough-talking, semi-muscular interventionism that believes in using force — including limited force such as calibrated air power, if nothing heartier is possible — to back up a mix of strategic and moral objectives.”

    When sworn in as secretary of State in 1997, she became the highest-ranking female government official in American history. It represented a remarkable rise over a unique path.

    “It is possible to imagine a future secretary of state coming from outside the petri dish of the Foreign Service — many have,” Michael Dobbs wrote for The Washington Post in 1999. “But it is hard to conceive of another from as unusual a background as Madeleine Albright’s: escapes from Nazism and communism; a buried Jewish past; a marriage that brought her into the charmed circle of America’s elite; a divorce that spurred a new, career-driven focus to her life; and finally, the triumphant moment in January 1997.”

    Or, as Albright herself put it in her 2003 book, “Madam Secretary: A Memoir”: “The idea that a daughter of Czechoslovakia born shortly before the outbreak of global war would one day become America’s first woman Secretary of State once could not have been imagined.”

    President Joe Biden’s statement on Albright‘s death began with a short but powerful sentence about Albright: She was a “force.” Even after her time in government was up, Biden said, the “scholar, teacher, bestselling author, and later accomplished businesswoman” advised presidents and lawmakers with “matchless skill and diplomatic acumen.”

    “When I think of Madeleine, I will always remember her fervent faith that ‘America is the indispensable nation,’” Biden said in the statement. “Madeleine was always a force for goodness, grace, and decency — and for freedom.”

    In honor of Albright, the president ordered U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, federal buildings, military posts and elsewhere until sunset Sunday.

    Members of Congress remembered Albright as a “trailblazer.” Republican Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Chuck Grassley of Iowa called her a “role model.” Others recalled witnessing her work in action.

    “I had the pleasure of traveling with her and witnessed firsthand the respect people throughout the world had for Secretary Albright,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

    Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that she was a “dear friend” and that he would “miss her wise counsel.”

    Source : www.politico.com

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