Category: Despatches, Featured News, News

Title: ISD Special Despatches – Madeleine Albright, Diplomat, Teacher, And Friend

The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, its Board of Advisers, and our students are deeply saddened by the passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright.  Secretary Albright was a consummate diplomat and committed teacher, a leader, and mentor whose wisdom, experience, and wit touched us all over the decades of her service to Georgetown and to the country she loved.  She dealt with the world as it was, a reflection of her childhood as a Czechoslovak refugee from the Nazis and from communism. She was intolerant of the bully and the brutish, and equally committed to her vision that the world could be made better, safer, and more equitable. She sought peace, but understood the need for strength, and was a skilled negotiator not afraid to call out despots, liars, and other adversaries when required.

She cared deeply for her students, and they for her. Her “America’s  National Security Toolbox” was a flagship course at the School of Foreign Service for decades, and her books and aphorisms will live on. She engaged and inspired generations of rising leaders who came to Georgetown from all over the world. She spoke at the first annual Georgetown Leadership Seminar in 1982, the most recent one in 2019, and almost all in between – except when she was otherwise occupied as Secretary of State.

Much has been written to mark the passing of Secretary Madeleine Albright. I want to share a very special tribute from her last graduate class at Georgetown this past fall semester. Her students capture the spirit and the legacy of this remarkable woman and the impact she will have for decades to come.  I invite you to read their words.

Joint Statement from Secretary Albright’s Last Graduate Student Cohort at
Georgetown University

We join the nation and the world in mourning the passing of Secretary Madeleine K. Albright. Secretary Albright’s service to the United States and commitment to her students has left an immeasurable mark on generations of Georgetown University students who will carry on her legacy. We are tremendously grateful for the lessons, wisdom, and knowledge she imparted to us.

Just as she had for our predecessors, Secretary Albright left an indelible impact on our understanding of U.S. national security, teaching us how to combine five tools of statecraft together to implement policy. Between COVID-19, worldwide attacks on democracy, and innumerable other challenges, she conducted our class under unprecedented circumstances. Secretary Albright always highlighted the importance of the individual decision-maker and in turn took interest in each of us: our careers, our goals, and our evolution throughout the semester. She encouraged us to speak out, challenge each other, and share our diverse perspectives. Secretary Albright’s humor and wit made every seminar an unforgettable experience. Her engaging stories taught us how to rigorously use past examples to analyze the present and future–and the valuable insight and lessons we can learn from those who came before us.

Today we reaffirm our commitment to promote a more just, fair, and prosperous world in her memory. Secretary Albright championed democracy and the power of multilateralism relentlessly–and we must do the same. As the first woman and refugee to become Secretary of State, she also never stopped advocating for women’s rights, human rights, and the right of all people to live free from violence and discrimination. It is our duty to carry on this legacy.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Secretary Albright’s family and loved ones.


Axel Catellier, MASIA ‘22
Luka Ignac, MAGES ‘22
Mitchell Fariss, MAGES ‘22
Joey Gonzales, MSFS/MBA ‘23
Andrew Mallalieu, SSP ‘22
Victoria Moscoso, MSFS ‘22
Katryna Mahoney, GHD ‘22
Olivia Albrighton-Vanway, SSP ‘22
Tina Dolbaia, MARES ‘22
Akaisha Cook, MASIA’ 22
John Dorrett, GHD ‘22
Daniel Schoolenberg, MASIA ‘22
Shirin Vetry, GHD ‘22
Kelly Kern, MSFS/MBA ‘22
William McChesney, MSFS ‘23
Jessica Meyerzon, MAERES ‘22
Nader Mehr, SSP ‘22
Casey Ling, MSFS/MBA ’22
Genesis Torres-Alcantara, LAS ‘22
Elizabeth Shillings, MACR ‘23
Anne-Cecilia Byrne, LAS’22
Kristina Zittel, MSFS/MPP ‘22
Patrick Gustafson, SSP ’22

Secretary Albright was a friend and a champion to many, and a role model for women everywhere – including to me and so many other women in the Foreign Service. We thank you, Madeleine. We will miss you. We will strive to live your lessons. We send our condolences to Secretary Albright’s family and mourn with our colleagues.


Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Bodine

ISD Director & Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy


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