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A Conversation with Madeleine K. Albright

November 28, 2018

Madeleine K. Albright, Former US Secretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations
Moderated by Professor John McLaughlin, Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

As part of the Strategic Studies’ Defense Against the Dark Arts series, former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright visited students to discuss her experience in the field of national security policy.

After an introduction by Leonardo Balieiro, a second-year student in the Strategic Studies program who helped organize the event, Professor John McLaughlin shared opening remarks about Albright’s professional accomplishments to date.

Albright spoke about her journey to the United States and emigrating as a young girl from Czechoslovakia. She went on to complete her undergraduate studies at Wellesley, where she developed her aspiration to become a journalist and to become fluent in Russian.

Albright shared insights from her path navigating through the State Department, White House, United Nations and Congress. She described her journey as one that resulted from pursuing opportunities without an expected outcome, a reminder to the audience of the endless possibilities that may result from taking a chance. When inquired about how she managed to maintain contact with many of her counterparts after her term, she described the importance of developing personal relationships in the field in order to succeed as a policymaker and policy-doer.

Albright also spoke about her experience balancing personal and work life as a mother of three daughters. She encouraged women in the audience to help each other and lean on one another, noting that there is no single formula to accomplishing a perfect balance.

The floor opened up for a Q&A session beginning with questions about Albright’s challenges working with foreign leaders who were not receptive to collaborating with females.

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