Category: Announcement, Faculty, Featured News

Title: Remembering Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright speaks from a podium at the SFS Centennial Gala dinner

Madeleine Albright

1937 – 2022


Statement from Joel Hellman, Dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service

There is a dark cloud over the Hilltop today, as the School of Foreign Service family mourns the loss of one of our finest, Professor Madeleine Albright. For nearly 40 years, Albright inspired SFS ⁦students not only to understand the world, but to serve the world. Generations of her students went on to do just that, a legacy that is almost incalculable in its reach.

For all her accomplishments, Albright always said that first and foremost she was a professor. She began teaching at SFS in the Fall of 1982, and from that moment on, she was a fixture on campus and in the lives of our students. Her course on the foreign policy toolkit became a rite of passage for generations of our students. Its highlight was a role-playing simulation of a foreign policy crisis that inspired fear in all who came before her. Albright delighted in throwing curveballs into the exercises, challenging her students to think on their feet and to recognize the contingencies that shape real-world foreign policy crises. She taught this course every semester she was at Georgetown, and despite her many commitments around the world, she rarely missed a class and always made time to meet all of her students – over 2,000 throughout her career.

Albright combined a scholar’s appreciation for the arc of history, an immigrant’s recognition of the great promise of America, a woman’s understanding of what it means to shatter glass ceilings, and a seasoned diplomat’s ability to disarm her opponents with wit, charm, and grace. She had a war chest of “zingers” for every occasion and a lifetime of stories to illustrate the complexities of security and diplomacy. Her deep knowledge of the underlying forces that shape international affairs remained relevant until the very last days of her life and she raised her voice only weeks ago to warn of the tragedy now before us in this brutal war on the European continent.

More than any other faculty member in our 100-year history, Madeleine Albright left her deep mark on the shape of our school. She lived the values we seek to instill. We are forever indebted to her, and we will miss her deeply.