Madeleine Albright: Leading Through the Glass Ceiling

Text Size

Former US Secretary of State, chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group and founder of the Aspen Ministers Forum, Madeleine Albright discussed American foreign policy and breaking boundaries as the first woman to head the US State Department.

On her legacy in Kosovo: “[After the bombing of the Chinese embassy in 1999], they called it Madeleine’s War. When we won they called it something else, but the bottom line is that there is now an entire generation of little girls in Kosovo whose first name is Madeleine.”

On the role of military force: “I believe in peace, but I’m not a pacifist. I do think there are times that it’s appropriate to use force. In Kosovo, we managed to save a lot of lives by using force. I happen to think that national interests are fairly broad, and I happen to think that we cannot let people die or be punished for who they are.”

On being first: “The seventh floor of the State Department is this mahogany-lined hall with the portraits of all my predecessors – all of whom were men only differentiated from each other by whether they were clean shaven or had beards. I thought to myself, well, when my portrait goes up, the walls will shake a bit. And they did.”