Madeleine Albright: A Trailblazing Leader
Since March is Women's History Month, it is fitting to highlight a trailblazing woman in history, Madeleine Albright. Last night, Dr. Albright spoke at Butler University as part of the Celebration of Diversity distinguished lecture series, captivating the audience with a sincere, inspiring, witty, and thought-provoking presentation.
Dr. Madeleine K. Albright was the first female Secretary of State from 1997-2001. She also served as the U.S. Permanent Representative for the United Nations and as member of the President's Cabinet from 1993-1997. Born in Czechoslovakia, Albright's family fled from oppressive regimes to the United States when she was eleven years old. She ultimately earned degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University and has built a solid career, publishing several bestselling books and running her own consulting firm.
Dr. Albright is a champion for human rights worldwide. Her message last night focused the importance of diversity and understanding the truth from which people view the world. Some memorable quotes I remember from Albright's speech are:
* "The only open mind is an empty one."
* "We must use our opinions to start a conversation, not end one."
Dr. Albright encouraged audience members to understand the possibility that we might be wrong. She explained we should not downgrade our own perspective on life, but strive to learn more by studying those who make us most upset, talk to those whose life stories are unknown, and stop venting about the same things and take time to reflect. Incorporating examples of Nelson Mandela and Robert Kennedy, she emphasized peace, understanding, and lifelong learning. The breadth of Dr. Albright's life experience clearly informed her articulate and visionary message.
After Dr. Albright's presentation, she offered an opportunity for audience members to ask questions. One audience member insightfully asked how Dr. Albright balanced being a working mother, a student, and raising successful children (twin daughters). Dr. Albright said it was not easy and emphasized the importance of finding balance. She also said that women's choices are difficult, yet women must also take advantage of their ability to move around and live life in segments. Dr. Albright has shown she is a women who can "make it happen," and has stood up to any personal and professional adversity she has faced.
Madeleine Albright's story can be an inspiration to all women, no matter our circumstances. She is truly a role model and leader for women and young girls today. What women in history - past or present - have inspired you?
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