Albright, Madeleine, 1937–, American government official, b. Prague, Czechoslovakia, as Maria Jana Körbel. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1948, and she attended Wellesley College (B.A., 1959) and Columbia Univ. (M.A., 1968; Ph.D., 1976). A lifelong Democrat, she was chief legislative assistant to Senator Edmund Muskie (1976–78) and served on the staff of the National Security Council and the White House (1978–81). When the Democrats lost the White House, Albright became a professor of international affairs at Georgetown Univ. (1982–93); her Washington, D.C., home was an informal meeting place for prominent Democrats and international leaders. Albright was an adviser to Bill Clinton (1992), and the newly elected president appointed her U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993. A forceful promoter of American interests, she encouraged increased U.S. participation in the United Nations, often in military actions. In 1997, President Clinton named her secretary of state; serving during his second term, she was the first woman to hold the post. Upholding the administration's "assertive multilateralism," Albright was a strong supporter of an expanded NATO and an advocate of an active U.S. foreign policy, including the use of U.S. forces to protect American interests and prevent genocide in foreign countries.
See her memoir, Madam Secretary (2003); biographies by A. Blackman (1998) and M. Dobbs (1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.