Adjourn in Memory of Madeleine K. Albright

March 31, 2021   Adjournment

The Senator from Second Middlesex and Norfolk, Ms. Spilka, and the Senator from First Middlesex and Norfolk, Ms. Creem, move that when the Senate adjourns today, it adjourn in memory of Madeleine K. Albright, the 64th United States Secretary of State and the first woman to serve in that role. Ms. Albright passed away on March 23, 2022, in Washington D.C., at the age of 84.

Madeleine Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937. Her father was a diplomat and her family was forced to flee Czechoslovakia twice in her early life. First, her family fled after the Nazi invasion in 1939. After World War II, her family repatriated. However, in 1948, Czechoslovakia’s government was overthrown and her family immigrated to the United States as political refugees.

Throughout her life, Ms. Albright was a gifted student. She studied political science at Wellesley College, graduating with honors in 1959 and subsequently received a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Ms. Albright had a decades-long career in government service and foreign affairs. From 1993-1997, Ms. Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations under the Clinton Administration. In 1997, she was appointed U.S. Secretary of State and served in that role through 2001. At that time, Ms. Albright was the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States government.

During her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, Ms. Albright worked to expand NATO, reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, and stop genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. Her experience fleeing tyranny in Europe informed her diplomacy and made her a tireless champion of human rights and democracy, as well as a strong advocate against oppression in all forms. As a diplomat, Ms. Albright was appreciated for her ability to engage in frank policy discussions and beloved for her skill at conveying complex ideas to the public in terms people could understand.

Following her tenure as Secretary of State, Ms. Albright taught at Georgetown University, and served as Chairwoman of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, Ms. Albright was selected by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her significant contributions to international relations and democracy. 

She is survived by her daughters; Anne, Alice, and Katie; her sister; her brother; and six grandchildren. She will be remembered for her unwavering commitment to democratic values and a lifetime of service to our country.