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Statement from President Clinton on the passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright

Leadership & Public Service | 2 Minute Read

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2022



Statement from President Clinton on the passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright


Hillary and I are profoundly saddened by the passing of Madeleine Albright. She was one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding UN Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being.


Few leaders have been so perfectly suited for the times in which they served.  As a child in war-torn Europe, Madeleine and her family were twice forced to flee their home.  When the end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of global interdependence, she became America’s voice at the UN, then took the helm at the State Department, where she was a passionate force for freedom, democracy, and human rights.


Because she knew firsthand that America’s policy decisions had the power to make a difference in people’s lives around the world, she saw her jobs as both an obligation and an opportunity.  And she made the most of them in advancing peace, security, and shared prosperity: ending ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo; supporting the expansion of NATO into Central Europe; fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons; broadening U.S. efforts to strengthen civil society, reduce poverty, and relieve debt in developing countries; elevating concerns about climate change and environmental degradation on the world stage; and much more.  And through it all, even until our last conversation just two weeks ago, she never lost her great sense of humor or her determination to go out with her boots on, supporting Ukraine in its fight to preserve freedom and democracy.


Hillary and I will always be deeply grateful for the wonderful friendship we shared and the unfailingly wise counsel she gave us over so many years.


Madeleine’s passing is an immense loss to the world in a time when we need the lessons of her life the most, but we know her legacy will live on through all the students she taught so well at Georgetown, everyone who was inspired by her remarkable journey from refugee to Secretary of State, and the many people around the world who are alive and living better lives because of her service.


Almost three years ago, we took our last trip together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kosovo’s fight for independence, when they dedicated a statue of her in downtown Pristina.  She had a richly deserved happy day.


Our thoughts are with Alice, Anne, and Katie; her grandchildren; her brother John and sister Kathy; and everyone who loved her as we did.