As the top foreign policy agent of the United States, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright jetted across
the world to help settle violent disputes and improve diplomatic relations. In one week, Albright
traveled to Egypt and Saudi Arabia to deal with tensions in the Middle East, and then to North and South Korea
to help those countries reconcile old differences.
The first woman to be Secretary of State, Albright was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 and served until 2001.
She held the highest office of any woman in the history of the government.
Born in Prague in 1937, Albright's father was a Czechoslovakian diplomat to the United Nations. Her family
had to flee their country during World War II. They returned after the war, but were forced to leave again with the
communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948. Her family immigrated to the United States when Albright was 11 years old.
Living in different countries as a child fueled Albright's interest in diplomacy. She studied international relations
at Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University. She served on the National Security Council from 1978 to 1981.
Albright has also taught international affairs at Georgetown University. From 1993 to 1997,
Albright was the U.S. Representative to the United Nations. She speaks French, Czech, Russian and Polish.
Travels with the Secretary
Where did Albright go during her tenure as Secretary of State? In 2000, Albright flew 284,158 miles to travel to 46 countries. In her four years of service, she traveled a total of 958,128 miles.
President's Interagency Council on Women
Albright was appointed chairwoman of this council in 1997. The group aims to further women's progress by implementing
the recommendations of the United Nations Women's Conference. The site is no longer updated, but the existing links provide useful information.
Select statements made by the former secretary.