Appointed by President Bill Clinton
During his two terms in office William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president, was served by two secretaries of state. The second of these was Madeleine Albright, who was born Marie Jana Korbel on May 15, 1937, in Prague. On January 23, 1997, she made history by becoming the first woman secretary of state, after unanimous confirmation by the Republican-dominated Senate. Albright is the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government and was one of the most publicly recognized modern secretaries of state. Prior to achieving this position, her career service was primarily in academia and Democratic Party circles, and she served in relatively low-level positions in the Carter administration, the only Democratic administration between Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton. As Clinton's second secretary of state, she was the 64th in the history of the United States.
Her family background represents a reaction to two of the twentieth century's most terrifying regimes: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. Her great-grandfather escaped from a Polish Jewish ghetto by getting a job with a railroad. Her grandfather began his career as a railroad employee and became a prosperous Prague businessman. Her father dropped Judaism in favor of Catholicism, was a Czechoslovakian diplomat, and fled communism for the academic world of the University of Denver when Albright was 11 years old. Having experienced her family's struggles with these great pariahs influenced Albright's strong patriotism, incrementalism, and anticommunism.
Albright evidently was unaware of her Jewish roots until a reporter uncovered them at the time of her nomination to become Secretary of State, and it has been suggested that this obliviousness is part of a pattern of behavior, including her lack of awareness of the impending doom of her marriage of 23 years in 1982. More severe critics accused Albright of prevarication.
Albright earned a B.A. in political science from Wellesley College. She studied at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and received a Certificate from the Russian Institute at Columbia University. She also