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Madeleine Albright

1937 -

Madeline Albright-Secretary of State a Klos family project

 

Born in Czechoslovakia as Marie Jana Korbel on May 15, 1937, she and her family fled to a safer place when the Nazis invaded their homeland prior to WWII.  They lived in England until after the war and then returned to the Czech Republic where her father had been a diplomat prior to the war.  Life continued to be difficult in the war-torn nation so Marie and her family left a second time to emigrate to the U.S. in 1948.  She changed her name to Madeline in America and adopted a new last name in marriage.  Madeline was not aware until the 1990’s of her Jewish roots and that her grandparents had died in a German concentration camp. 

 Probably following in her father’s footsteps, Madeline became involved in politics beginning in 1972 when she aided in Senator Edmund Muskie’s presidential campaign.  She continued to be active in the Democratic Party working for President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor.  When the Republicans were in the White House from 1981-1993, Madeline stayed active as the president of the nonprofit Center for National Policy, teaching classes at Georgetown University, working for the Democratic party, and studying the changing dynamic of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. 

  President Clinton saw her potential and chose her to be ambassador to the United Nations in 1993, and then in 1997 Congress unanimously approved her appointment as the first female Secretary of State.  She has earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law, and she is fluent in five languages.  Raising three daughters of her own, Madeline Albright made woman’s rights an international issue during her tenure.

by Jane Y. Harter

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