At the age of 84, Madeleine Albright has passed away. For those of you who don’t know, she was the first woman to be appointed to U.S. Secretary of State. This country has been through a lot of change since, but that was unthinkable back then.
Her entire life story is phenomenal. She was born Marie Jana Korbelová in Czechoslovakia in 1937. But her family fled in 1939 during the Nazi occupation. After living in the U.K. for 9 years, her family finally landed on Ellis Island in November of 1948.
In 1957 at the age of 20, she became a U.S. Citizen. She was highly educated, earning her Doctor of Philosophy in 1975, which ultimately led to her career in politics from the connections she had made while in school. It was some of the best networking ever and that’s what it takes to make it in politics.
When her former professor Brzezinski was appointed National Security Advisor, he tapped Madeleine Albright to come with him. She started work in the West Wing as the National Security Council’s congressional liaison. Thus began a stellar political career where she served as the 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and then as the 64th United States Secretary of State.
She was appointed to the position of Secretary of State in 1997. While that doesn’t seem that long ago, it was a lifetime of change. She had broken a glass ceiling, setting the way for other women to follow.
She was “a trailblazer and a luminary,” says Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the current U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
When you have the president’s ear, you are a very important person. I remember the day Madeleine Albright was appointed Secretary of State. I remember nodding my head in admiration because I knew what she had been through.
Of course, her background and fleeing the country were hard enough. But having gone through all that to become the first woman Secretary of State with the president on speed dial, now that’s impressive. I don’t care who you are, you can’t help but be impressed.
RIP Madeleine Albright! You definitely were a trailblazer and a luminary. No doubt.