Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, with the Clinton administration, and the highest ranking woman in the history of the United States government, will be the speaker at Smith College's 125th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18.
Albright will join three other accomplished women--influential landscape architect Corneila Hahn Oberlander 44; actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith; and renowned writer Jane Yolen 60--in receiving honorary degrees at the ceremony.
One of the most visible and influential women to serve in government, Albright served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997 and as a member of the President's Cabinet and National Security Council. In 1995, she led the U.S. delegation to the UN's fourth world conference on women in Beijing.
Albright was nominated to the country's top foreign policy post by President Clinton. Unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1997, Albright went on to demonstrate, in the words of Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory, "a willingness to listen and investigate another point of view, an ability to differ, civilly with the prevailing wisdom." Accomplishments during her tenure included the expansion and modernization of NATO; the promotion of peace in the Balkans; and the expansion of trade and human rights relationships with China.
Albright was born in Prague and immigrated to America with her family in 1948. She earned degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University. Currently she consults on global issues; chairs several international affairs organizations, including the Truman Scholarship Foundation; and holds faculty appointments at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the University of Michigan Business School.
Distinguished landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander 44, a 1982 Smith Medalist and Canada's most accomplished and well-known female landscape architect, is a pioneer of socially conscious and sustainable landscape designs.
Innovative actor, playwright and teacher Anna Deavere Smith, is the creator of the groundbreaking journalism-based performances "Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities," which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1993, and "Twilight: Los Angeles 1992," which was nominated for two Tony awards and numerous other honors.
Award-winning writer Jane Yolen 60, the author of more than 250 books for children, young adults and adults, has been recognized with such awards as the Caldecott Medal, the Nebula Award, the Golden Kite Award, the Smith College Medal and the Jewish Book Award.