- NAME: Madeleine Albright
- OCCUPATION: Diplomat, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: May 15, 1937 (Age: 76)
- EDUCATION: Wellesley College, Columbia University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Prague, Czech Republic
- Maiden Name: Marie Jana Korbel
- Full Name: Madeleine Korbel Albright
- AKA: Madeleine K. Albright
- AKA: Madeleine Albright
- AKA: Marie Korbel
- ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus
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Madeleine Albright became the first woman to represent the U.S. in regards to foreign affairs as the secretary of state.
Watch a short video about Madeline Albright and her journey from fleeing her home country as a child to becoming the first female Secretary of State.
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Madeleine Albright was born in 1937 in Prague. As a child, she left Prague with her family to the United States. After studying at Wellesley College and Columbia University, Albright entered politics under the influence of an old professor. In 1993, Albright became a U.S. representative of the United Nations, and three years later she was appointed as the United States secretary of the state, the first ever female to hold the position,
"For me, being raised in a free America made all the difference."
"I was raised Catholic, married an Episcopalian and found out I was Jewish."
"I'm for democracy, but imposing democracy is an oxymoron. People have to choose democracy, and it has to come up from below."
under the Clinton administration. She held the distinguished position for several years before leaving in 2001 to pursue other projects.
Born in Prague on May 15, 1937, Madeleine Albright made history 60 years later when she became the first woman to serve as the secretary of state for the United States. She grew up learning about world affairs from her father Josef Korbel. He was a diplomat for much of her early life.
When she was only a toddler, Albright and her family fled their native Czechoslovakia because the country was first invaded by the Nazis. She later learned that three of her grandparents died during the Holocaust. She was raised Catholic, but her parents had converted to the Christian faith from Judaism.
The Korbels left the country for good ten years later after the communists took power. The family settled in Colorado where her father became a distinguished professor at the University of Denver. One of his favorite students was another future secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
A bright student, Albright earned a scholarship to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. There she edited the school's newspaper and pursued her passion for politics. During one summer, Albright landed an internship at the Denver Post. She soon fell for a fellow intern, Joseph Albright, a publishing heir. The couple married in 1959.
While her husband worked as a journalist, Albright stayed home to raise the couple's three daughters. She also continued her education, waking up at 4:30 am to work on her graduate studies. Zbigniew Brzezinski was one of her professors at Columbia University where she earned in a certificate in Russian studies in 1968. In 1976, Albright completed her Ph.D. there.
Albright first entered the political arena as a legislative assistant to Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie in 1972. Four years later, she was hired by her former professor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to work for the National Security Council during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The Democrats fall from power in the early 1980s meant a move to the private sector for Albright. She became a professor at Georgetown University, winning its Teacher of Year Award four times.
Also around this time, Albright and her husband divorced after he left her for another woman. "It was a shock," she later told The Washington Post. She didn't let heartbreak put a damper on her career or her social life. Albright hosted numerous gatherings at her townhouse where the Democratic elite gathered to discuss the issues of the day.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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