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born 1937

Madeleine Albright got the job that would permanently define her at a time most people would be thinking about retiring.

In 1997, when she was nearly 60, she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State. She paved a path for other women ~ including Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton ~ to assume high levels of power in matters of politics and diplomacy.

She's also known for sending powerful, even witty, messages simply by wearing the right brooch.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Madeleine Albright (20)

"Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice."

Commencement Address | may 2007

"[W]e sometimes misunderstand what leadership really is. We expect it to come from the outside. And so we wait and listen for the sound of some mighty voice coming out of a loud speaker. But real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing ... that the time has come to move beyond preparing to doing. That is why leadership is so often found in simple acts of self-expression, when, for example, we challenge a falsehood that has been advertised as truth, when we call injustice by its name, when we go out of our way to help another, or when we choose a career that is less about making money than about making a difference."

Commencement Address | may 2007

"We might have the right intentions, but instead of acting, we decide to wait. . . . We keep waiting until we run out of 'untils.' Then it is too late."

Wellesley College commencement address | may 2007

"You've got the guts to find your own purpose."

What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self | april 2008

"There is no formula…everybody must choose their own path."

Letters To My Younger Self | april 2008

"While democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile."

in support of the Warsaw Declaration | june 2008

"I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men's clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am."

Newsweek | september 2009

"Those who believe they are in full possession of the truth can be extremely dangerous."

Key Note Address Georgetown University Masters of Science in Foreign Services Tropaia awards | may 2011

"From my parents I had received a priceless inheritance: a set of deeply held convictions regarding liberty, individual rights, and the rule of law."

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War 1937-1948 | april 2012

"The best book, like the best speech, will do it all—make us laugh, think, cry and cheer—preferably in that order."

Madeleine Albright: By the Book | april 2012

"It took me quite a long time to find my voice, but I’m not going to be quiet now."

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom | may 2012

"When it comes to generating results, experience and character count far more than a wrinkle-free face."

US Central Intelligence Agency {CIA} Handbook | september 2013

"Whatever job you are asked to do, at whatever level, do it well because your reputation is your resume."

The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs | january 2014

"There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women."

WNBA's All-Decade Team Celebrating Inspiration Luncheon | january 2014

"Women’s issues are the hardest issues; they are the ones that have to do with life and death."

On Being a Woman and a Diplomat | february 2014

"No matter our race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, we are all equal shareholders in the American Dream...Living up to that principle, and valuing fairly the contributions of each other, is the great test our nation must pass in the 21st Century."

Tufts commencement address | may 2015

"When I tell you that the world needs you, I really, really do mean it."

Tufts commencement address | may 2015

"I insist that each of you . . . be more than a consumer of liberty."

Tufts commencement address | may 2015

"It is peculiar to live in a world where hunger is an endemic problem for half the planet while diet books are best-sellers in the other half."

The Moral Imperatives of Food Security | may 2015

"In a world where one-third of all edible food never makes it to the mouths of the hungry, we all have an individual moral responsibility to do our part."

The Moral Imperatives of Food Security | may 2015
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curated with care by Pauline Weger