Madeleine Albright, 2023/2024 College of Europe 'Patronne de promotion'

Madeleine Albright / Promotion Patron 2023-2024

"This job of international leadership is not the kind of assignment one ever finishes. Old dangers rarely go away completely, and new ones appear as regularly as dawn. Dealing with them effectively has never been a matter of just money and might. Countries and people must join forces, and that doesn’t happen naturally."

- Madeleine Albright, Fascism: A Warning

Madeleine Albright has been chosen as the next ‘patronne de promotion’ for the 2023/2024 promotion of the College of Europe. In times of geopolitical uncertainty, Madeleine Albright is a figure of transatlantic relations whose actions and thoughts will provide guidance for the College community.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1937, on a continent on the brink of war and occupation and finding refuge with her family in the United States in 1948, she became the first woman Secretary of State of the US in 1997. Madeleine Albright was a beacon of transatlantic cooperation and leadership on democratic values and women’s empowerment across the world. Having passed away in 2022, she will be remembered as a symbol of the special bond between Europe and the United States. This partnership once again proves crucial in our times, as a fundamental pillar of our joint response to Russian aggression against Ukraine – which is also an aggression against our common values of democracy and freedom.

From 1993 to 1997, Madeleine Albright served as the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. She was a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She also chaired the National Democratic Institute, served as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation, and was a member of the US Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.

Her latest book, Fascism: A Warning, examines the resurgence of fascism in the 21st century, through the lens of her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe. A year after her passing, her analysis and warning seem sadly more current than ever.

Madeleine Albright and the College of Europe

Madeleine Albright visited the College of Europe twice, at Natolin. The first time in July 2016, when she held a fireside chat on the occasion of the Warsaw Euro-Atlantic Summer Academy. The second time in March 2019, when she inaugurated The Zbigniew Brzeziński Memorial Lecture Series.

Speaking during her second visit, she expressed her support for the concept of the College of Europe: "I so agree with the concept of the whole school. I do think that European studies are a basis for moving in a very positive way into the 21st century, so I applaud what is happening here."

Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe

"Madeleine Albright embodied with her entire life the deep transatlantic bond between Europe and the US, a partnership of vital importance for our continent and the democratic world. Her leadership was an inspiration to many, especially women, and her dedication to democratic values and human rights has left a lasting impact on the world.

As the 'patronne de promotion' for the 2023/2024 class of the College of Europe, her legacy will continue to provide guidance and inspiration to the next generation of leaders who will shape the future of Europe and the world. The College of Europe is honored to have had the opportunity to host Madeleine Albright in the past and to continue to celebrate her life and achievements through this appointment."