Madeleine Albright made history in the 1990s when she became the first female Secretary of State in the United States. She was sworn in by Bill Clinton in 1997.

She was born in Prague and moved to the United Kingdom with her family. They later emigrated to the United States, settling in New York and later Denver. She studied political science at Wellesley College. After she graduated she worked as an intern for the Denver Post. After she married and had three children she continued her education. She earned her MA in Russian studies and a Ph.D. in public law and government.

She entered politics while working on her Ph.D. She worked as the chief legislative assistant to Ed Muskie. She began working in the White House as the National Security Council’s liaison to congress during the Jimmy Carter administration. After Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980 she moved into the private sector. She became professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. She also worked for a number of non-profit organisations in Washington D.C.

She became one of the key leaders within the Democratic Party on issues of foreign policy. During the 1988 presidential elections she served as an advisor to Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis. In 1992 Bill Clinton named her the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Some of her notable actions during this time included campaigning for more military involvement in the Balkans conflict of the 90s. She also urged for the U.S. to get involved in the Haitian coup in 1994.

Bill Clinton chose her as his Secretary of State in 1996 due to her expertise on foreign policy. During her time in this role she championed human rights and democracy. She also promoted the U.S. abroad focusing on business, trade and labour. She played a key role in the peace negotiations between Israel and numerous Arab countries.

She left the post in 2001 and since then she has gone on to write a number of best selling books. In 2012 Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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