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Madeleine Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, the daughter of a Czech diplomat. Her family fled from the Nazis to London when she was only two years old. Although she had been raised Roman Catholic, she learned in 1997 that her family had been Jewish and that her grandparents had died in German concentration camps. Her family returned to Czechoslovakia after the war but was forced to flee again from the Communists. They settled in Colorado when Albright was 11 years old.

Albright earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and studied at Johns Hopkins University before earning her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She married the newspaper heir, Joseph Albright, with whom she had three daughters, Alice, Anne, and Katherine. They were divorced in 1982. Albright entered politics in 1976 when she became the Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator Edmund Muskie. She left that post to become a staff member on President Carter's National Security Council. She spent the Reagan and Bush years teaching undergraduate and graduate courses as a Research Professor of International Affairs and Director of Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

When Bill Clinton became president, she served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She also served as a member of Clinton's Cabinet and National Security Council. When Clinton took a second term in office, he appointed Madeleine Albright to the position of Secretary of State of the United States. She is the first woman to ever hold this office and the is highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State she has had her hands full as there have been numerous hot spots in the world since she took office. She has made it her quest to focus attention on the conditions for women in foreign countries. She is known as a very tough woman to foreign leaders and diplomats. When the Iraqis called her a snake, she began wearing a gold snake pin. When they called her a witch, she began wearing a miniature broom pin on her lapel.

CHRONOLOGY

1937 She was born Madeleine Korbel in Prague, Czechoslovakia. (May 15)

1939 Her family fled from the Nazis to London.

1945 Her family returned to Czechoslovakia.

1948 Her family fled from the Communists and settled in Colorado, U.S.

1959 She married Joseph Albright.

1963 She moved with her family to Washington, D.C.

1976 She served as Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie until 1978.

1978 She was a staff member on President Carter's National Security Council until 1981.

1981 She was awarded a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

1982 She became a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University.; She and Joseph Albright divorced.

1983 POLAND, THE ROLE OF THE PRESS IN POLITICAL CHANGE was published.; She divorced Joseph Albright.

1993 She was named United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

1996 She was nominated as Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton. (December 5)

1997 She was sworn in as the 64th Secretary of State. (January 23); She learned for the first time that her grandparents had died in German concentration camps.