Madeleine Albright, the First Female Secretary of State, Dead at 84

Kayla Koslosky | Editor | Published: Mar 24, 2022
Madeleine Albright, the First Female Secretary of State, Dead at 84

Madeleine Albright, the First Female Secretary of State, Dead at 84

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright passed away from cancer on Wednesday. She was 84.

Albright, who immigrated to the United States in 1948, was the first female secretary of state in U.S. history. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Albright, then Madeleine Korbel, fled to England with her family in 1939 after the Nazis invaded her home country. The Korbels were Roman Catholics by faith but Jewish by heritage. According to USA Today, three of Albright’s grandparents died in the Holocaust. After the war, the Korbels briefly returned to Czechoslovakia but moved to the U.S. after the nation fell under communist rule. 

After coming to America, Albright and her family settled in Denver, Colorado, where her father worked as the dean of the school of international relations at the University of Denver.

Albright graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 with a degree in political science, according to her alma mater. That same year, Albright married Joseph Albright of the influential Medill newspaper-publishing family. They had three daughters together but divorced in 1982. Albright never remarried.

Albright later earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government.

In 1972, she began working on Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie’s presidential campaign. Muskie’s run for president failed, but Albright later became his chief legislative assistant.

She then went on to work for Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter.

From 1982 to 1993, Albright worked as an international affairs professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. 

She then served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

In 1997, Albright made history when she became the first woman to serve as the U.S. secretary of state.

She served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under Clinton. As the head of the State Department, Albright urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to expand eastward into the former Soviet bloc. She also helped lead the 1999 NATO bombing campaign aimed at ending the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo.

Further, in 2000, Albright became the first U.S. official to meet with Vladimir Putin after he became Russia’s president. That same year she also met with Kim Jong Il in North Korea, making her the first U.S. diplomat to travel to North Korea.

Albright was hugely influential in shaping Clinton’s foreign policy strategy and leaves behind a legacy of feminism and political strength.

She is survived by her daughters, Alice, Anne and Katie, her siblings, Kathy and John, her six grandchildren, her nephews and her grandniece.


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff

Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to and

Madeleine Albright, the First Female Secretary of State, Dead at 84