Madeleine Albright was an American diplomat and politician who served as the first female Secretary of State in United States history.

She was appointed to the position by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and served until 2001. Prior to her appointment, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997.

Albright passed away on March 23rd in Washington D.C. She was 84.

Albright was born in 1937 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, to a Jewish family. When she was two years old, her family fled the country to escape the Nazi regime. They eventually settled in the United States, where Albright attended Wellesley College.

After graduating, she worked as a professor at Georgetown University and the University of Colorado before joining the U.S. State Department in 1977.

She received numerous awards and accolades for her work as a diplomat, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Albright is widely considered to be one of the most influential women in American politics, and her tenure as Secretary of State is often cited as a model for future female leaders.

She has been outspoken on human rights issues, the importance of international diplomacy, and the value of women in politics — and remained a highly respected figure in the world of diplomacy.

Madeleine Albright was known for her frankness and her ability to get straight to the point, and she was never afraid to speak her mind.

Here are some of her most memorable quotes:

The Best Inspirational Madeleine Albright Quotes on Leadership, Refugees, and Making a Difference

Famous quotes

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
— Madeleine Albright

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” — Madeleine Albright

“You've got the guts to find your own purpose.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I think that we all know what evil is. We have a sense of what's evil, and certainly killing innocent people is evil. We're less sure about what is good. There's sort of good, good enough, could be better — but absolute good is a little harder to define.”
— Madeleine Albright

“Life is grim, and we don't have to be grim all the time.”
— Madeleine Albright

Quote: “Life is grim, and we don't have to be grim all the time.” — Madeleine Albright

“Whatever the job you are asked to do at whatever level, do a good job because your reputation is your resume.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men's clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am.”
— Madeleine Albright

On feminism and women in leadership

“I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.” — Madeleine Albright

“There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.”
— Madeleine Albright

“There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” — Madeleine Albright

“Women can't do everything at the same time, we need to understand milestones in our lives comes in segments.”
— Madeleine Albright

“Our collective experience has shown that when women have the power to make their own choices, good things happen.”
— Madeleine Albright

On making a difference

“The real question is: who has the responsibility to uphold human rights? The answer to that is everyone.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I am not a fatalist. I have just been reading 'War And Peace' and Tolstoy is such a fatalist. I think people can make a difference... I am an optimist who worries a lot.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I am not a fatalist. I have just been reading 'War And Peace' and Tolstoy is such a fatalist. I think people can make a difference... I am an optimist who worries a lot.” — Madeleine Albright

“What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.”
— Madeleine Albright

“What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.” — Madeleine Albright

“We must be authors of the history of our age.”
— Madeleine Albright

“We must be authors of the history of our age.” — Madeleine Albright

In a world where one-third of all edible food never makes it to the mouths of the hungry, we all have an individual moral responsibility to do our part.”
— Madeleine Albright, talking about world hunger

I have spent a lifetime looking for remedies to all manner of life's problems — personal, social, political, global. I am deeply suspicious of those who offer simple solutions and statements of absolute certainty or who claim full possession of the truth. Yet I have grown equally skeptical of those who suggest that all is too nuanced and complex for us to learn any lessons, that there are so many sides to every thing that we can pursue knowledge every day of our lives and still know nothing for sure. I believe we can recognize truth when we see it, just not a first and not without ever relenting in our efforts to learn more. This is because the goal we seek, and the good we hope for, comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest. It is not what we find, but the reason we cannot stop looking and striving, that tells us why we are here.”
― Madeleine Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

Related: Read the best quotes about making a difference

Related: Read the best ideas on how to make a difference

On refugees and being a refugee

“When I came here as a child, I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and beholding the Statute of Liberty. I did not have to face refugee camps or the kind of danger that many refugees endure. But like all refugees, I shared a hope to live a safe life with dignity and a chance to give back to my new country.”
— Madeleine Albright

“When countries with insufficient resources take in refugees, it creates more instability, not just at the frontlines of this crisis, but around the world. If we were to slam the door in the faces of refugees with certain religious backgrounds, we would defy our history and our principles of pluralism and diversity.”
— Madeleine Albright

“There is a significant moral difference between a person who commits a violent crime and a person who tries to cross a border illegally in order to put food on the family table. Such migrants may violate our laws against illicit entry, but if that's all they do they are trespassers, not criminals. They deserve to have their dignity respected.”
— Madeleine Albright

“Only in America could a refugee girl from Central Europe become Secretary of State.”
— Madeleine Albright

Related: Learn more about how to support refugees

Related: Find an organization that helps refugees near you

On being a diplomat and Secretary of State

“Well, the thing I learned as a diplomat is that human relations ultimately make a huge difference.”
— Madeleine Albright

“If you look at my life, generally, I've been put in situations that were difficult and which I conquered.”
— Madeleine Albright

“When we're trying to solve difficult national issues it's sometimes necessary to talk to adversaries as well as friends. Historians have a word for this: diplomacy.”
— Madeleine Albright

“A lot of people think international relations is like a game of chess. But it's not a game of chess, where people sit quietly, thinking out their strategy, taking their time between moves. It's more like a game of billiards, with a bunch of balls clustered together.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I loved being Secretary of the State, that's probably evident to everyone who watched me.”
— Madeleine Albright

More quotes

“Don't make me into this airy-fairy, moralist, idealist because I'm not.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I have very set and consistent principles, but I am flexible on tactics.”
— Madeleine Albright

“History is written backwards but lived forwards.”
— Madeleine Albright

“I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.”
— Madeleine Albright

“The best book, like the best speech, will do it all — make us laugh, think, cry and cheer — preferably in that order.”
— Madeleine Albright

“We cannot, of course, expect every leader to possess the wisdom of Lincoln or Mandela’s largeness of soul. But when we think about what questions might be most useful to ask, perhaps we should begin by discerning what our prospective leaders believe it worthwhile for us to hear.

Do they cater to our prejudices by suggesting that we treat people outside our ethnicity, race, creed or party as unworthy of dignity and respect?

Do they want us to nurture our anger toward those who we believe have done us wrong, rub raw our grievances and set our sights on revenge?

Do they encourage us to have contempt for our governing institutions and the electoral process?

Do they seek to destroy our faith in essential contributors to democracy, such as an independent press, and a professional judiciary?

Do they exploit the symbols of patriotism, the flag, the pledge in a conscious effort to turn us against one another?

If defeated at the polls, will they accept the verdict, or insist without evidence they have won?

Do they go beyond asking about our votes to brag about their ability to solve all problems put to rest all anxieties and satisfy every desire?

Do they solicit our cheers by speaking casually and with pumped up machismo about using violence to blow enemies away?

Do they echo the attitude of Musolini: “The crowd doesn’t have to know, all they have to do is believe and submit to being shaped.”?

Or do they invite us to join with them in building and maintaining a healthy center for our society, a place where rights and duties are apportioned fairly, the social contract is honored, and all have room to dream and grow.

The answers to these questions will not tell us whether a prospective leader is left or right-wing, conservative or liberal, or, in the American context, a Democrat or a Republican. However, they will us much that we need to know about those wanting to lead us, and much also about ourselves.

For those who cherish freedom, the answers will provide grounds for reassurance, or, a warning we dare not ignore.”
― Madeleine Albright, Fascism: A Warning