New MAKER: Madeleine Albright


Madeleine Albright was sitting in her bathrobe the day she got the call from President Clinton, asking her to be his Secretary of State. This “magical moment,” as she puts it, was imbued with feelings of nervousness, pessimism and excitement. Her wariness was understandable – as the first female Secretary of State for the US, there was no precedent to help her figure out the ultimate outcome of this discussion in 1996.


Albright already had a lifetime of accomplishments by the time she was sworn into office in 1997. A graduate of Wellesley College in 1959, she was married and gave birth to twins soon after, but her ambitions were not satisfied by her new life as a wife and mother. In a letter she wrote to herself in her youth, her unrelenting determination is made apparent: “I must admit, I feel somewhat like a pioneer. I am not satisfied to sit back for the rest of my life and contemplate which order to clean the rooms. I want to find a solution and feel that somehow it must be possible to be a responsible mother, a good wife and have an intellectually satisfying job.”


She worked tirelessly toward her dreams. With two young children (and soon a third), she studied for over 15 years, eventually receiving a certificate in Russian, a Masters of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University in 1975.  In 1982, she began working as a professor at Georgetown University, specializing in Easter European Studies and directing the University’s program on women in global politics. She has served as a Democratic Party foreign policy advisor, and was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations in 1993.


Find out more about Madeleine Albright by visiting her profile.  Discover how Hillary Clinton played a role in Albright’s career, and why Albright feels that women should always be on each other’s side