Madeleine Albright, seen here in 1997, was the first woman to serve as US secretary of state.
A young Albright sits with her father, Josef Korbel, in this photo circa 1945. Korbel was a Czech diplomat, and the family escaped Czechoslovakia 10 days after the Nazi invasion.
Albright, center, works on the newspaper staff at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She graduated in 1959 and later received a master’s degree and a Ph.D from Columbia University.
In 1988, Albright worked as a senior foreign policy adviser for Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. She also worked for Walter Mondale’s unsuccessful campaign in 1984. During the Jimmy Carter administration, she was a White House staff member and congressional liaison for the National Security Council under Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Albright, as the US ambassador to the United Nations, casts a vote in 1993. She was confirmed shortly after the election of President Bill Clinton, who she also advised during his campaign.
Albright presents a poster from the World Conference on Women as she meets with Myanmar political leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1995.
Albright reaches out to a Burundian orphan while visiting the country in 1996.
Albright is sworn in as US secretary of state in 1997.
Albright looks over at North Korea during a visit to the border village of Panmunjom in 1997.
Albright puts on a jacket as she visits the US Naval Academy in 1997.
Albright’s red outfit stands out in a sea of suits as she poses with other foreign ministers during a NATO meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1997.
Albright has lunch with US troops serving in Bosnia in 1997.
Albright greets well-wishers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in 1997. She was the first US secretary of state to visit the city since the Vietnam War.
Albright talks with a member of the FBI while visiting the site where a US embassy was bombed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1998.
Albright wipes away a tear as she and the Clintons attend a memorial ceremony for US citizens who were killed in an embassy bombing in Kenya in 1998.
Albright is interviewed by John F. Kennedy Jr. for George magazine in 1998. Kennedy co-founded the magazine.
Albright talks to US Brig. Gen. John Craddock, commander of the US troops that would be taking part in the Kosovo implementation force in 1999. Albright was crucial in pushing President Clinton to intervene in Kosovo to prevent a genocide against ethnic Muslims by former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Albright testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1999. The committee was conducting hearings on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that the Senate would be voting on.
President Bill Clinton is surrounded by Albright and others in 2000 while signing bipartisan legislation normalizing trade relations with China.
Albright prepares to testify before a House committee in 2000 about how Russian President Vladimir Putin rose to power.
Albright shares a toast with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at a dinner in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2000. Albright left office in 2001 after President Clinton’s second term ended.
Albright visits a polling station in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2007. She was heading a delegation of election observers from the US-based National Democratic Institute.
Albright speaks to a guest at the unveiling of her official portrait in Washington, DC, in 2008.
Albright and presidential candidate Barack Obama attend a roundtable discussion on foreign affairs in 2008.
Albright visits with students in Chicago in 2012. The city was hosting a NATO summit the next month.
Albright helps plant a tree at a botanical garden in her native city of Prague, Czech Republic, in 2012.
Obama presents Albright with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. “As the first woman to serve as America’s top diplomat, Madeleine’s courage and toughness helped bring peace to the Balkans and paved the way for progress in some of the most unstable corners of the world,” Obama said in his remarks.
Albright plays the drums while attending the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2012.
Albright, second from left, joins other secretaries of state at the groundbreaking ceremony for the US Diplomacy Center in 2014. From left are Hillary Clinton, Albright, Henry Kissinger, John Kerry, James Baker and Colin Powell.
Albright talks with Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko at a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2014.
Albright shows off her sneakers with Olympic athlete Angela Ruggiero as they attended an alumni weekend at Wellesley College in 2014.
Albright was known for wearing brooches or decorative pins to convey her foreign policy messages. More than 200 of them were part of the “Read My Pins” collection.
Albright attends the Glamour Women of the Year awards in 2015. She was a past honoree.
Albright speaks at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Actor George Clooney embraces Albright at the United Nations headquarters in 2016. They were attending a Leaders Summit for Refugees.
Albright attends the funeral for former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2021.