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Wikipedia Summary for Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová; May 15, 1937) is an American politician and diplomat who served as the first female United States Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.

Albright emigrated with her family to the United States in 1948 from Czechoslovakia. Her father, diplomat Josef Korbel, settled the family in Denver, Colorado, and she became a U.S. citizen in 1957.

Albright graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 and earned a PhD from Columbia University in 1975, writing her thesis on the Prague Spring. She worked as an aide to Senator Edmund Muskie before taking a position under Zbigniew Brzezinski on the National Security Council. She served in that position until 1981, when President Jimmy Carter left office.

After leaving the National Security Council, Albright joined the academic faculty of Georgetown University and advised Democratic candidates regarding foreign policy. After Clinton's victory in the 1992 presidential election, Albright helped assemble his National Security Council. In 1993, Clinton appointed her to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She held that position until 1997, when she succeeded Warren Christopher as Secretary of State. Albright served in that capacity until Clinton left office in 2001.

Albright has served as chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group since 2009. She is the Michael and Virginia Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. In May 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. Secretary Albright serves on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.

--Madeleine Albright

Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain: I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light.

--Madeleine Albright

A skilled diplomat rarely generates extreme reactions.

--Madeleine Albright

As strong as the United States is, we can't deal with terrorism alone.

--Madeleine Albright

While democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile.

--Madeleine Albright

If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.

--Madeleine Albright

People are finding it harder and harder to relate to foreign policy.

--Madeleine Albright

Life is grim, and we don't have to be grim all the time.

--Madeleine Albright

We live in an image society. Speeches are not what anybody cares about; what they care about is the picture.

--Madeleine Albright

Well, the thing that I learned as a diplomat is that human relations ultimately make a huge difference.

--Madeleine Albright

I think women are really good at making friends and not good at networking. Men are good at networking and not necessarily making friends. That's a gross generalization, but I think it holds in many ways.

--Madeleine Albright

The greatest thrill in my life was to represent the United States of America.

--Madeleine Albright

Whatever the job you are asked to do at whatever level, do a good job because your reputation is your resume.

--Madeleine Albright

China is in its own category -- too big to ignore, too repressive to embrace, difficult to influence, and very, very proud.

--Madeleine Albright

When Hillary served as Secretary of State, I watched her partner with President Obama to restore our country's reputation around the world.

--Madeleine Albright

I wasn't a normal professor. I had worked in government. I hadn't written nine zillion books. I was a hands-on professor.

--Madeleine Albright

For somebody who loves foreign policy, being Secretary is the best job in the world -- but it doesn't happen twice.

--Madeleine Albright

To be safe at the expense of the liberty of other people is a difficult equation.

--Madeleine Albright

And frankly, I don't understand -- I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat -- but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney.

--Madeleine Albright

I spent my life studying communism and Soviet systems.

--Madeleine Albright

History is written backwards but lived forwards.

--Madeleine Albright

When we're trying to solve difficult national issues its sometimes necessary to talk to adversaries as well as friends. Historians have a word for this: diplomacy.

--Madeleine Albright

What you have to be concerned about are the extremists. On the whole, we need to understand the more moderate Muslims before they become more radicalized.

--Madeleine Albright

When trouble arises among faraway people, we remain tempted to hide behind the principle of national sovereignty, to mind our own business when it is convenient, and to think of democracy as a suit to be worn in fine weather but felt in the closet when clouds threaten.

--Madeleine Albright

The purpose of foreign policy is to persuade others to do what we want or, better yet, to want what we want.

--Madeleine Albright

I do consider myself a feminist. I know the word has weird implications for people now, but I do think that its important to have women involved, whether its business or public service or...anything.

--Madeleine Albright

I have always seen the United States as a force of good. And I have learned that there is the idealistic part about what we can do at the U.N. and there is a doable part. And I have learned what is more doable.

--Madeleine Albright

For me, America is really, truly the indispensable nation.

--Madeleine Albright

So there really was a whole series of things that took the women of my generation a little bit of time to push forward.

--Madeleine Albright

I'm for democracy, but imposing democracy is an oxymoron. People have to choose democracy, and it has to come up from below.

--Madeleine Albright

I am the only high-ranking U.S. official to ever meet with Kim Jong-il, and we are the same height and both wear high heels.

--Madeleine Albright

To be defenseless did not mean to be without honor.

--Madeleine Albright

The religious scholars I have consulted are passionate about the need for political leaders to educate themselves in the varieties of faith and to see religion more as a potential means for reconciliation than as a source of conflict.

--Madeleine Albright

I do not believe that things happen accidentally; I believe you earn them.

--Madeleine Albright

Mahmoud Abbas is a puppet.

--Madeleine Albright

As you go along your own road in life, you will, if you aim high enough, also meet resistance... But no matter how tough the opposition may seem, have courage still and persevere.

--Madeleine Albright

The reason I made women's issues central to American foreign policy, was not because I was a feminist, but because we know that societies are more stable if women are politically and economically empowered.

--Madeleine Albright

There are an awful lot of things going on that need understanding and explanation, but -- to put it mildly -- the world is a mess.

--Madeleine Albright

For me, being raised in a free America made all the difference.

--Madeleine Albright

The other thing that happened was that we have a tendency to project our own weaknesses onto another woman. I don't think men do that particularly.

--Madeleine Albright

The administration does not agree with those who suggest we should deploy hundreds of thousands of American troops to engage militarily in a ground war in Iraq.

--Madeleine Albright

Armageddon is not a foreign policy.

--Madeleine Albright

Really, I have to laugh because there was a whole set of stories that made me sound like the Dragon Lady, you know, 'tough this and tough that.' Then there is this business about 'gooey.' The bottom line is I am a pragmatic idealist.

--Madeleine Albright

When Hillary was First Lady, we went to the Beijing Women's Conference. She courageously stood up and spoke out on behalf of human rights and women's rights, inspiring millions to fight for a better future.

--Madeleine Albright

Every new president inherits headaches, but President Obama has inherited an entire emergency room.

--Madeleine Albright

I loved being Secretary of State, that's probably evident to everyone who watched me.

--Madeleine Albright

People didn't think that a woman could be the Secretary of State, when my name was out there...but then the Arab Ambassadors at the UN said 'We have no problem dealing with Ambassador Albright, and we would have no problem dealing with Secretary Albright.'

--Madeleine Albright

It is an unfortunate fact that in many parts of the world women are considered property. An awful lot of injustice is obviously due to that; not just women's status in the home, but all kinds of laws that are even more discriminating.

--Madeleine Albright

Libraries are fun, educational, and the biggest bargain on the face of the earth.

--Madeleine Albright

I get up every morning and I'm grateful for everything that has happened. I go through my list about being grateful for my children and grandchildren, and for the really remarkable life that I have been able to have.

--Madeleine Albright

I don't actually believe in a clash of civilizations. I believe in a clash of the civilized and the noncivilized.

--Madeleine Albright

I was struck by the joy of those pilots in committing coldblooded murder ... Frankly, this is not cojones. This is cowardice.

--Madeleine Albright

The main thing is to remain oneself, under any circumstances; that was and is our common purpose.

--Madeleine Albright

We have to understand where we have strategic relationships that require us to take a different approach. I guess the easiest way to describe it is: different strokes for different folks.

--Madeleine Albright

There were always jokes about Hillary Clinton channeling Eleanor Roosevelt, but Eleanor Roosevelt was really instrumental at the UN, and would want to meet with various other delegates.

--Madeleine Albright

I can't see democracy occurring by force -- after an Iraqi war, because of the fallout from that.

--Madeleine Albright

What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.

--Madeleine Albright

I have very set and consistent principles, but I am flexible on tactics. I like to get the job done.

--Madeleine Albright

A spoonful of sugar can be as helpful in dealing with foreign diplomats as it is in child psychology, for these are not unrelated fields.

--Madeleine Albright

Glass ceilings have been broken, but more have to be broken.

--Madeleine Albright

US is a very religious country. Separation of church and state is part of our credo, but that it is hard to understand since our money says In God we trust and every President says God bless America.

--Madeleine Albright

The stunning part was that one time Neil McElroy the Secretary of Defense who was the father of one of our classmates spoke and basically at commencement, he told us all that our job after graduation was to get married and have interesting sons...and we all found that hard to believe.

--Madeleine Albright



I think there has to be the sense that once you have climbed the ladder of success, that you don't push it away from the building.

--Madeleine Albright

Today, I say that no nation in the world need be left out of the global system we are constructing.

--Madeleine Albright

It takes more than one dove to make peace in the Middle East.

--Madeleine Albright

When combined with information and communication technologies, microcredit can unleash new opportunities for the world's poorest entrepreneurs and thereby revitalize the village economies they serve.

--Madeleine Albright

The bottom line is, the more we have a cadre of women moving up the scale, and it doesn't seem threatening, and people realize that women actually work much harder than men, and realize that they need more women in these jobs, I think that goes away.

--Madeleine Albright

The process of education in the oldest profession in the world is like any other educational process, in that it requires time andeffort and patience; it can only be acquired by taking one step at a time, though the steps become accelerated after the first few.

--Madeleine Albright

Only in America could a refugee girl from Central Europe become Secretary of State.

--Madeleine Albright

I was not at all apprehensive about ... disease ... it had no terrors for me. The thing I most feared in the world was hunger. That was something of which I had personal knowledge.

--Madeleine Albright

I'm a problem-solver.

--Madeleine Albright

There's nobody who's had a resume like Hillary Clinton that's run for president.

--Madeleine Albright

I bought ... the pins with my three daughters in mind; the ships are beautiful, graceful, and moving along at full sail, having long since left home port.

--Madeleine Albright

I consider it my patriotic duty as an ordinary citizen -- not as Secretary of State -- to ask questions. I think we have to ask ourselves the tough questions.

--Madeleine Albright

I think that the Middle East is the largest piece of unfinished business that we all have. I happen to believe in the democratization process.

--Madeleine Albright

In diplomacy, clear-cut wins and losses are rare.

--Madeleine Albright

We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.

--Madeleine Albright

I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important.

--Madeleine Albright

And so I think that the idea of America working with other countries to solve problems is good for us, and it is part of digging us out of the my way or the highway approach that was evident in the previous eight years.

--Madeleine Albright

My deepest regret from my years in public service is the failure of the United States and the international community to act sooner to halt these crimes.

--Madeleine Albright

John Kerry actually stole my line because when I became Secretary of State, I said, 'I hope my heels will fill Warren Christopher's shoes.' So he reversed that.

--Madeleine Albright

John Kerry knows more about more subjects than an awful lot of people. But I think it's a very hard job Secretary of State.

--Madeleine Albright

We don't understand enough about the Islam religion and Muslim world.

--Madeleine Albright

The system President Hosni Mubarak is recommending would make it virtually impossible for truly independent parties to participate. Sham democracy should be exposed for what it truly is.

--Madeleine Albright

The capability of negotiating... is something that means you not only have to understand fully what you believe and what your national interests are but in order to be a really good negotiator, you have to try to figure out what the other person on the other side of the table has in mind.

--Madeleine Albright

Don't make me into this airy-fairy, moralist, idealist because I'm not.

--Madeleine Albright

When Hillary served in the Senate, I saw her work day and night as a member of the Armed Services Committee -- working with Republicans and Democrats to keep our military strong and protect our troops and their families.

--Madeleine Albright

Unfortunately for the Iraqi people, instead of meeting these requirements, for six years, Saddam Hussein has lied, delayed, obstructed and tried to deceive.

--Madeleine Albright

I enjoy wearing pins, and nobody tells me to do it.

--Madeleine Albright

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