SIPA remembers groundbreaking alumna Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state.

A professor, author, diplomat, and businesswoman, Albright earned a certificate from the SIPA-affiliated Russian Institute and her PhD from Columbia. She visited the University frequently and was a featured speaker at SIPA’s graduation ceremony in May 2021.

As secretary of state from January 1997 through January 2001, Albright was, at that time, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She had previously served, from 1993 to 1997, as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and was a member of the president’s cabinet.

At the time of her death Albright was a professor in the practice of diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm; and chair of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She also chaired the National Democratic Institute, served as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation, and was honorary chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council.

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

Read the New York Times’ obituary of Madeleine Albright. 

Additional coverage is pending.