Essay on US Immigrant – Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright, “the first female Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. government” (Immigrant of the Day: Madeleine Albright-States Woman para. 1) was born as Marie Jana Korbelová in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1937. Among the several interesting biographies of US immigrants, the biography of Madeleine Albright stands distinct.

Madeleine Albright’s parents, the Korbels, were Czech Jews who converted to Roman Catholicism from Judaism. In 1939, the Korbels fled to England when Bohemia and Moravia were annexed by Germany. They later returned to Belgrade of the Czech Republic where Albrights “father Josef Korbel served as the countrys ambassador to Yugoslavia” (Albright para. 3) posts World War II. When the communists took power in Czechoslovakia, the Korbel family moved permanently to the US, in 1948, where Josef Korbel became a professor at the University of Denver.
‘Marie Jana Korbelová’ grew up in Denver and later attended a boarding school in Switzerland, where she adopted the new name of ‘Madeleine Korbel’. Albright “graduated from Wellesley College with honors in Political Science and received her master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government” (I Need 5 Famous Immigrants I have Houdini, Einstein, and Arnold Swartsaneigar? para. 3). She became a U.S. citizen in 1957. In the year 1959, she was married to Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, a Chicago newspaper journalist, with whom she had three daughters. They were divorced in the year 1982.

Albright is multilingual, as she is proficient “in English, French, and Czech and has good speaking and reading abilities in Russian, German, Polish” (Albright) and Serbo-Croat. She served as Chief Legislative Assistant to the U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie during 1976 – 1978. She became a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff from 1978 to 1981. She joined as a “Research Professor of International Affairs and Director of Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1982. Here, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international affairs, U.S. foreign policy, Russian foreign policy and Central and Eastern European politics” (Albright para 4). Later, Albright became the “President of the Center for National Policy from 1989 to 1992. She also served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of the Presidents Cabinet from 1993 to 1997” (Albright 1).

Albright was nominated by President Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed as Secretary of State by the U.S. Senate in January 1977.  She was sworn in as the 64th and the first female Secretary of State on January 23, 1997. Albright is also the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. government to date. While serving as Secretary of State, Albright learned about her Jewish heritage. “She discovered that her grandparents had been murdered at Auschwitz and Terezin” (Albright 3). After her retirement, Albright published her memoir, “Madam Secretary” in 2003. She published “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs” in 2006; “Memo to the President: How We Can Restore Americas Reputation and Leadership” in 2008; and “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomats Jewel Box” in 2009. (Albright 3). Albright currently serves as a chairperson of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Paul Kirk, co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and former chairman of the Democratic Party, observed: “Madeleine Albrights life experience and public service have personified the mission of [National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)] … As a diplomat, scholar and activist, she has been a forceful and consistent voice for the worldwide democracy movement”(Madeleine Albright to Assume Chairmanship of the National Democratic Institute para. 4).


Work Cited
Albright, Korbel Madeleine. National Democratic Institute. n.d. Web. 06 Nov.
Albright, Madeleine. Famous Multilingual and Their Stories. Multilingual Children’s Association. 2004. Web. 06 Nov.
Albright, Korbel Madeleine: Secretary of State. Biography. Department of State. United States of America. n.d. Web. 06 Nov.
Albright, Madeleine. Biography. 2009. Web. 06 Nov.
Immigrant of the Day: Madeleine Albright-States Woman. Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy. 2008. Web. 06 Nov.
I Need 5 Famous Immigrants I have Houdini, Einstein, and Arnold Swartsaneigar? Yahoo, Inc. 2011. Web. 06 Nov.

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