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Remembering Madeleine Albright (1937−2022)

The American Academy in Berlin mourns the passing of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. We extend our condolences to her family and friends.

Madeleine Albright was America at its best: A refugee who passionately loved the country that took her in but never gave it a pass for its shortcomings; a strategist who understood that values had to be at the core of policy; a public educator who urged us to never take for granted democracy and human rights because she’d seen what happened to those who lost them.

As is true for so many in the American foreign policy community, Madeleine Albright was a major figure in my life. In one of our last exchanges, she said how much she admired the work of the Academy and how glad she was that I was working there. She last joined the Academy in fall 2013, for the German translation of her memoir Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, published by Bertelsmann as Winter in Prag: Erinnerungen an meine Kindheit im Krieg (2013). She spoke at the Bertelsmann Stiftung with former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and then-Academy executive director, Gary Smith.

Even with all the responsibilities she shouldered in public life, Secretary Albright had a boundless capacity for friendship and an ability to encourage and inspire that was like few others. I’m incredibly grateful to have known her.

— Daniel Benjamin

Photo: Madeleine Albright on stage at an Albright Institute event at Wellesley College, January 30, 2016. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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