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Opinion Madeleine Albright’s many contributions

A woman lays a bouquet of flowers at the foot of a statue of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright in Pristina, Kosovo, in March. (Visar Kryeziu/Associated Press)
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Regarding the March 24 front-page obituary for Madeleine K. Albright, “Trailblazing diplomat took on brutality in Europe”:

For a number of years, Ms. Albright and I were two members of a three-person team teaching the required “core capstone” course in the program leading to a master of science in foreign service at Georgetown University: “Foreign Policy Decision-Making and Implementation.”

Despite her strong background in the subject, Ms. Albright always worked extremely hard. She held long office hours and could always be reached on the telephone by students. She held students to high standards, which demanded much of her. She had served on the National Security Council and was highly respected by the various deans. She did not have to work as hard as she did. When I commented on this, she said, “I have been given so much in life; I really can’t do less.” She won the School of Foreign Service Teaching Award (voted by the students) at least twice.

On a personal level, Ms. Albright was a loving, hands-on mother to her three daughters. She was intensely thoughtful toward her younger colleagues and also ready to help students from years past. Although proud of being American, she always loved Czechoslovakia. We met one day in Prague in the late 1980s and walked around the city to places she remembered. All she said about the long Soviet domination was this: “They took my beautiful homeland and turned it into a Third World country.”

Ms. Albright made a difference and left the world a little better than she found it.

Sally Ann Baynard, Browntown, Va.

Madeleine K. Albright was a very important person who didn’t strive to show it. I was a United Airlines flight attendant for 42 years. The former secretary of state was a passenger on a number of my international trips to Europe and Asia, all a memorable pleasure. Friendly, gracious and appreciative of the service and attention we tried to provide for her, including her privacy, Ms. Albright gave our crew members the kind of fulfillment that erased many other in-flight experiences.

Her groundbreaking career included many achievements. One might call it “brass with class.”

Maureen Arndt, Clarksville

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