Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright (born May 15, 1937) is an American politician and diplomat. She is the first woman to have become the United States Secretary of State. She served from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.
Born Marie Jana Korbelová, her family emigrated to the United States in 1948 from Czechoslovakia. Her diplomat father, Josef Korbel, settled their family in Denver, and she became a U.S. citizen in 1957. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 and earned a PhD from Columbia University in 1975, writing her thesis on the Prague Spring. She worked as an aide to Senator Edmund Muskie before taking a position under Zbigniew Brzezinski on the National Security Council. She served in that position until the end of President Jimmy Carter's lone term.
After leaving the National Security Council, Albright joined the academic staff of Georgetown University and advised Democratic candidates regarding foreign policy. After Clinton's victory in the 1992 presidential election, she helped assemble Clinton's National Security Council. In 1993, Clinton appointed her to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She held that position until 1997, when she succeeded Warren Christopher as Secretary of State. She served as Secretary of State until Clinton left office in 2001.
Albright currently serves as chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and as a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. In May 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. Secretary Albright also serves as a director on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wikipedia