My Statement on the Passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright

Photo by Chuck Kennedy

As the first woman to serve as America’s top diplomat, Madeleine Albright helped bring peace to the Balkans, paved the way for progress in some of the most unstable corners of the world, and was a champion for democratic values. And as an immigrant herself, she brought a unique and important perspective to her trailblazing career.

One of my favorite stories: At a naturalization ceremony, an Ethiopian man came up to Madeleine and said, “Only in America could a refugee from Africa meet the Secretary of State.” She replied, “Only in America could a refugee from Central Europe become Secretary of State.”

It’s because of people like Madeleine that the story of America is, ultimately, one of hope — an upward journey. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Albright family and everyone who knew and served with a truly remarkable woman.

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