Madeleine Albright, previous U.S. secretary of state and feminist icon, passes away at 84 By Reuters

© Reuters. SUBMIT PICTURE: Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks prior to an interview in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2016. Picture taken November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts


By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Madeleine Albright, who ran away the Nazis as a kid in her native Czechoslovakia throughout World War Two then increased to end up being the very first female U.S. secretary of state and, in her later years, a popular culture feminist icon, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 84.

Her household revealed her death on Twitter (NYSE:) and stated she had actually passed away of cancer. Leaders, diplomats and academics remembered her as a trendsetter on the world phase.

Albright functioned as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993-1997 in U.S. President Bill Clinton’s administration. He then chose her to end up being the very first woman secretary of state and she served because function from 1997-2001.

“Madeleine Albright was a force. She defied convention and broke barriers again and again,” U.S. President Joe Biden stated. He directed U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal government structures, consisting of embassies, till March 27.

She was a tough-talking diplomat in an administration that was reluctant to include itself in the 2 most significant diplomacy crises of the 1990s – the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

She as soon as distressed a Pentagon chief by asking why the military kept more than 1 million males and females under arms if they never ever utilized them.

The plain-spoken Albright took a difficult line on a 1996 occurrence where Cuban jet fighters downed 2 unarmed U.S.-based aircrafts, stating: “This is not cojones, this is cowardice,” utilizing a Spanish indecency significance “testicles.”

While at the United Nations, where Security Council members stood in silence on Wednesday to honor her memory, she pushed for a harder line versus the Serbs in Bosnia after Bosnian Serb military forces laid siege to the capital Sarajevo.

During Clinton’s very first term, a lot of his administration’s leading diplomacy professionals did not wish to get included since they strongly kept in mind how the United States ended up being slowed down in Vietnam.

In 1995, Bosnian Serb soldiers overran 3 Moslem enclaves, Srebrenica, Gorazde and Zepa, and massacred more than 8,000 individuals.

The United States reacted by dealing with NATO on airstrikes that required an end to the war however just after it had actually been going on for 3 years.

Albright’s experience as a refugee triggered her to promote the United States to utilize its superpower influence. She desired a “muscular internationalism,” stated James O’Brien, a senior advisor to Albright throughout the Bosnian war.

Early in the Clinton administration, while she unsuccessfully promoted for a quicker, more powerful reaction in Bosnia, Albright backed a U.N. war criminal activities tribunal that ultimately put the designers of that war, consisting of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leaders, in prison, O’Brien stated.

The uncomfortable lessons discovered in Rwanda and Bosnia served the United States well in Kosovo, when Washington saw the more effective Serbs start a program of ethnic cleaning of ethnic Albanians. NATO reacted with an 11-week project of air campaign in 1999 that encompassed Belgrade.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani stated on Wednesday she was “deeply shocked by the loss of Kosovo’s great friend,” including that the intervention “gave us hope, when we did not have it.”

During efforts to press North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, which were ultimately not successful, Albright took a trip to Pyongyang in 2000 to fulfill North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, ending up being the greatest ranking U.S. authorities to go to the deceptive Communist-run nation at the time.


Once the Clinton years and the 1990s were over, Albright ended up being an icon to a generation of girls trying to find motivation in their mission for chance and regard in the office. Albright loved stating: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Albright was a significant contrast to her predecessors and male associates in consistent fits. She utilized clothing and precious jewelry to send out tart, political messages. One favorite was a snake brooch, a referral to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein calling her an “unparalleled serpent.”

She composed a book about her signature precious jewelry, among a number of bestsellers, describing that the pins were a diplomatic tool. Balloons or flower pins would show she felt positive, while a crab or turtle would show disappointment.

Born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague on May 15, 1937, her household ran away in 1939 to London when Germany inhabited Czechoslovakia. She participated in school in Switzerland at age 10 and embraced the name Madeleine.

She was raised a Roman Catholic however after she ended up being secretary of state, the Washington Post collected documents revealing that her household was Jewish and loved ones, consisting of 3 grandparents, passed away in the Holocaust. Her moms and dads most likely transformed to Catholicism from Judaism to prevent persecution as Nazism acquired strength in Europe, the paper reported.

After the war, the household left London and went back to Czechoslovakia, then in the throes of a communist takeover.

Her dad, a diplomat and scholastic who opposed communism, moved the household to the United States where he taught global research studies at the University of Denver. One of his preferred trainees was Condoleezza Rice, who would end up being the 2nd woman secretary of state in 2005 under Republican President George W. Bush.

“It is quite remarkable that this Czech émigré professor has trained two secretaries of state,” Albright informed the New York Times in 2006.

Albright participated in Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and got a doctorate from Columbia University. She ended up being proficient or near to it in 6 languages consisting of Czech, French, Polish and Russian along with English.

In 1959, she wed paper successor Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, whom she satisfied while operating at the Denver Post, and they had 3 children. They separated in 1982.

She followed her dad into academic community however likewise ended up being associated with Democratic Party politics. Albright signed up with the personnel of Senator Edmund Muskie, a Maine Democrat, in 1976 and 2 years later on ended up being a member of President Jimmy Carter’s (NYSE:) National Security Council personnel.

Since leaving the Clinton administration, she has actually composed a series of books. One, “Hell and Other Destinations,” was released in April 2020. Others include her autobiography, “Madam Secretary: A Memoir” (2003) and “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box” (2009).

The plain-spoken Albright made ventures into pop culture. “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler’s character had a photo of Albright in her workplace.

In 2005, the “Gilmore Girls” tv series the character Rory dreamt that Albright, using a red match and an eagle pin, was her mom.

In 2018, she and fellow previous secretaries of state Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton informed an imaginary secretary of state in “Madam Secretary,” a television drama where she spoke passionately about the threats of violent nationalism.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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