Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, dies at the age of 84

She entered politics in 1972 and raised funds for the losing presidential campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine, a family friend who called her his legislative aide. Following Jimmy Carter’s presidential victory in 1976, Zbigniew Brzezinski became a national security adviser, recruiting his former Columbia student, Ms. Albright, as congressional liaison for Mr. Carter’s National Security Council.

In 2001, she founded what is now the Albright Stonebridge Group, an international consulting firm, and in 2005, she founded Albright Capital Management with a focus on emerging markets. For years she lived in Georgetown and taught at Georgetown University and was director of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

In addition to her memoirs from 2003, Ms. Albright “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs” (2006), “Memo to the President-Elect: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership” (2008), “Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomats Jewel Box “(2009) and” Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 “(2012). Her latest book, “Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir”, was published in 2018.

Her book “Fascism: A Warning” (2018, starring Bill Woodward) placed President Donald J. Trump among the world’s autocrats. In a review for The Times, Sheri Berman wrote: “The problems of democracy, Albright assures us, can be overcome – but only if we recognize the lessons of history and never take democracy for granted.”

In the 1990s, Mrs Albright began receiving letters from Europe with brief information about her family background. Then, in 1997, The Washington Post published a profile of the new Secretary of State reporting that her parents had been Jews who converted to Catholicism and created a fictitious past to protect their children from the Nazis.

She accepted the evidence as the truth and told The Times: “I think my father and mother were the bravest people alive. They handled the hardest decision anyone could make. I’m incredibly grateful for them and it’s beyond Goal.”

Alex Traub contributed with reporting.

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