New York, March 23th, 2022 – The American Jewish Congress profoundly mourns the passing of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Secretary was not only a patriot and public servant in their most accurate forms – but was also a staunch advocate for peace and a lifelong ally of the Jewish Community. Born in 1937 in Prague and raised Catholic, Madeleine Albright would learn only at the age of 59 that her parents were born Jewish. Following WWII, Secretary Albright and her family arrived in the United States, and she began her new American chapter. From her earliest days in the U.S., Secretary Albright exhibited a remarkable capacity for knowledge and quickly grew into a leading voice on many issues.

During her time as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary Albright fought to keep foreign actors in check and was routinely referred to as a force to be reckoned with. She worked diligently to advocate for Jewish interests, defended Israel, safeguarded the rights of women, and ensured democratic principles were maintained around the world. Her voice and poise on these vital topics earned her the trust of many, and she would go on to advise our nation’s highest leaders.

Subsequently, on January 23, 1997, Madeleine Albright swore her oath of office and began her role as the nation’s 64th Secretary of State. Not only did this appointment make Albright the first woman to hold the position, but it made her the highest-ranking female U.S. official ever at the time of her confirmation. During her tenure as Secretary, Madeleine Albright would continue her record of championing democracy and human rights worldwide, displaying an unwavering commitment to peace, and serving as a true friend to the State of Israel and Jews worldwide.

Secretary Albright was not just a diplomat but was an inspiration to so many who have had to crawl from the struggles of oppression and have risen stronger on the other side. The prayers of the American Jewish Congress and the entire Jewish community are with her family during this tragic hour. Those prayers are accompanied by the enormous gratitude of a nation that will forever be in her debt. The world will remember Secretary Albright as one of the most vital voices in American diplomacy and one of our nation’s most revered public servants.

The skies are a little darker today, but our stars will certainly shine brighter tonight.

May her memory be a blessing.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.