Remembering Secretary Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state and long-time Georgetown University professor, passed away on March 23 at the age of 84. Across the university and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, her students, fellow faculty members, and colleagues remember her legacy and mourn her passing.
Joel Hellman, Dean of the School of Foreign Service:
“For all her accomplishments, Albright always said that first and foremost she was a professor. She began teaching at SFS in the Fall of 1982, and from that moment on, she was a fixture on campus and in the lives of our students. Her course on the foreign policy toolkit became a rite of passage for generations of our students. Its highlight was a role-playing simulation of a foreign policy crisis that inspired fear in all who came before her. Albright delighted in throwing curveballs into the exercises, challenging her students to think on their feet and to recognize the contingencies that shape real-world foreign policy crises. She taught this course every semester she was at Georgetown, and despite her many commitments around the world, she rarely missed a class and always made time to meet all of her students — over 2,000 throughout her career.”
Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Bodine, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and concurrent Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy:
“Secretary Albright was a consummate diplomat and committed teacher, a leader, and mentor whose wisdom, experience, and wit touched us all over the decades of her service to Georgetown and to the country she loved. She dealt with the world as it was, a reflection of her childhood as a Czechoslovak refugee from the Nazis and from communism. She was intolerant of the bully and the brutish, and equally committed to her vision that the world could be made better, safer, and more equitable. She sought peace, but understood the need for strength, and was a skilled negotiator not afraid to call out despots, liars, and other adversaries when required.
She cared deeply for her students, and they for her. Her “America’s National Security Toolbox” was a flagship course at the School of Foreign Service for decades, and her books and aphorisms will live on. She engaged and inspired generations of rising leaders who came to Georgetown from all over the world. […] Secretary Albright was a friend and a champion to many, and a role model for women everywhere — including to me and so many other women in the Foreign Service.”
The students of Professor Albright’s last graduate student cohort at Georgetown University:
“Just as she had for our predecessors, Secretary Albright left an indelible impact on our understanding of U.S. national security, teaching us how to combine five tools of statecraft together to implement policy. Between COVID-19, worldwide attacks on democracy, and innumerable other challenges, she conducted our class under unprecedented circumstances. Secretary Albright always highlighted the importance of the individual decision-maker and in turn took interest in each of us: our careers, our goals, and our evolution throughout the semester. She encouraged us to speak out, challenge each other, and share our diverse perspectives. Secretary Albright’s humor and wit made every seminar an unforgettable experience. Her engaging stories taught us how to rigorously use past examples to analyze the present and future — and the valuable insight and lessons we can learn from those who came before us.”