Distributed May 15, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Janet Kerlin

Commencement 2001

Madeleine Albright to deliver Baccalaureate address on May 27

Madeleine Albright, U.S. secretary of state during the second Clinton administration, will address graduating seniors during the Baccalaureate service on Sunday, May 27, 2001, at 1:30 p.m. in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. [Text of the address is available online.]

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will deliver the Baccalaureate address to graduating seniors on Sunday, May 27, at 1:30 p.m. in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. Because the graduating class fills the Meeting House to capacity, the Baccalaureate service will be simulcast to The College Green, where parents and friends may observe the proceedings on a large video screen.

The Baccalaureate service echoes the mediæval European custom of presenting the candidates for the degree of bachelor (bacca) with the laurels (lauri) of sermonic oration. The service also reflects the wide range of faith traditions in the current Brown community by incorporating African drumming, the Chinese Lion Dance and prayers in several languages.

Between 1997 and 2001, Albright served as the 64th secretary of state. She was the first woman to hold the job and the highest-ranking female in U.S. government history. During her tenure, the United States led efforts to expand and modernize NATO and its successful campaign to reverse ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The United States promoted peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, worked with Russia and North Korea to reduce nuclear danger, and sought to enhance cooperation with China while pressing for change in areas of disagreement, such as human rights.

Albright presided over a historic restructuring of U.S. foreign affairs institutions to respond to 21st century threats, and brought efforts to improve the lives of women and girls into the mainstream of American policy. In June 2000, Albright represented the United States as co-convenor of the first-ever world conference of democracies. Under her leadership, the sharp decline in resources for international affairs was reversed, with appropriations rising 17 percent.

During the first Clinton administration, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and as a member of the president’s Cabinet and National Security Council. In 1995, she led the U.S. delegation to the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing.

Since leaving government service, Albright has accepted an endowed chair at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, becoming the first Michael and Virginia Mortara Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy. She will also be a Distinguished Scholar at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Business School. Albright is chairman of the board of the National Democratic Institute, writing a book, and pursuing a range of public policy activities.

In the decade before her return to public service, Albright was a professor of international affairs and director of Women in Foreign Service Programs at Georgetown University. From 1989 to 1992, she was president of the Center for National Policy, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. She was also a senior foreign policy adviser to the Dukakis and Mondale presidential campaigns.

From 1978 to 1981, Albright was a member of President Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff, and from 1976 to 1978 served as chief legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Edmund S. Muskie.

Albright received her B.A. from Wellesley College and a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government.

Selected writings include Poland, the Role of the Press in Political Change (1983); The Role of the Press in Political Change: Czechoslovakia 1968 (1997); and The Soviet Diplomatic Service: Profile of an Elite (1968).

Albright was born in Prague and immigrated to the United States with her family after Communists took control of Czechoslovakia in 1948. She is the mother of three daughters and has five grandchildren.


[Full text of the address]