Madeleine K Albright

Born:May 15, 1937 (age 82)
Career:U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001
U.S. Ambassador to U.N., 1993-1997
Professor, Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, 1982-1993
White House staff member, 1978-1981
Chief legislative assistant, 1976-1978
Education:B.A., Wellesly College
Ph.D., Columbia University

Madeleine Korbel Albright served as U.S. secretary of state from January 23, 1997 to January 20, 2001, the first women to hold that position. Prior to her appointment, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Clinton's cabinet and National Security Council. In 2012, Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Obama.

Albright was born May 15, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her father, Josef, was a member of the Czechoslovak Foreign Service and served as press attaché in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and later became Ambassador to Yugoslavia. The family immigrated to Denver, Colorado after the communist coup in 1948, with Albright becoming a U.S. citizen in 1957. She received a B.A. in political science with honors from Wellesley College in 1959 and her doctorate from Columbia University's Department of Public Law and Government in 1976.

Albright served as chief legislative assistant to Sen. Edmund Muskie from 1976 to 1978. From 1978 to 1981, she served as a staff member in the White House under President Jimmy Carter and on the National Security Council under National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. In 1982 she was appointed research professor of international affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and director of its Women in Foreign Service Program. In 1993 she was appointed ambassador to the United Nations by President Clinton and served in the position until her appointment as U.S. secretary of state in 1996.

Currently, Albright is a distinguished professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. She chairs the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, co-chairs the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. She serves on the boards of the Aspen Institute and the Center for American Progress.