The independent resource on global security

Madeleine Albright—in memoriam

Madeleine Albright—in memoriam

SIPRI mourns the passing of Dr Madeleine Albright, former professor and diplomat, who served as the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. Madeleine Albright passed away on 23 March 2022 at the age of 84.

Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board, says of Albright’s passing, ‘I was shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of our beloved Madeleine. I had been very close to her since the early 90s and considered her one of my very best friends, both personally and professionally. We worked together on a number of issues both at the UN and as foreign ministers of our countries.’ He adds, ‘As leader of the Aspen Ministers Forum, she was inspiring, wise, loyal and warm. She made us feel like a family in times of growing mistrust between nations. Dialogue and diplomacy took on a special meaning thanks to Madeleine’s personality and leadership. I will miss her immensely.’

‘At SIPRI we recall with deep gratitude and appreciation her 2021 SIPRI Lecture on the fundamental importance of democracy for lasting security.’

Dr Albright was well known for her lifelong career of public service and her dedication to the promotion of peace, human rights and democracy. From 1993 to 1997, she served as the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations and gained a reputation as a champion of international cooperation, democracy and the rule of law. From 1997 until 2001, she was US Secretary of State. She was the first woman to hold that post and, at the time, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the US Government. After leaving government service, she became a noted public scholar and lecturer.

Dr Albright founded the Aspen Ministers Forum in 2003 and was chair of the National Democratic Institute. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the USA’s highest civilian honour, from President Barack Obama in 2012.

In May 2021, Dr Albright delivered the annual SIPRI Lecture, in which she addressed the theme of ‘Democracy in a Post-Covid World. In her lecture, Dr Albright spoke about the transformative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, emphasizing how global challenges need effective joint action. She concluded by remarking that ‘backing for democratic values must be the centrepiece of any strategy to create a more secure, stable, healthy and prosperous global environment—the kind of setting in which all people can thrive.’