Albright accepts leadership award from Humphrey Institute

Mehgan Lee

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright received one of four leadership awards from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on June 8.

The awards honor public leadership and service at the local, state, national and international levels, said J. Brian Atwood, dean of the Humphrey Institute.

Albright, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government and first female secretary of state, was chosen as an award recipient this year because she has dedicated her career to public service and is a great role model for women, Atwood said.

Albright had a strong voice as ambassador for the United States in the United Nations, said Ron Krebs, a University political science professor.

But Krebs said he believes Albright’s legacy as ambassador and secretary of state is mixed.

“The United States’ evasions surrounding the Rwanda genocide of 1994 are a stain on her record, as well as her decision to intervene in Kosovo, which might have made things worse for Kosovars,” he said.

In a press conference before the Humphrey Institute’s second annual dinner and awards ceremony, Albright encouraged University students to think about careers in public service.

“I am a great believer in public service,” Albright said. “If you have public service in the government, you have the capability of making a difference in a small way. It gives you a sense that you can return to your country what your country has given to you.”

Albright also addressed the current international mood.

“I have never seen the international situation quite as troubling as it is now,” she said. “Our reputation and our ability to work with others has been damaged because of the unilateral approach that this administration has taken.

“I travel abroad a lot and I find it completely dismaying to think that people question our motives and fear us,” she said. “It’s one thing to be feared by your enemies, it’s another to be feared by your friends.”

Albright said the Bush administration should involve the international community as a solution to the situation in Iraq.

“We have an opportunity now to get some additional forces in there so that we can take the American face off of what is happening,” she said.

Albright also said the Bush administration should admit when it has made mistakes.

“I think the lessons from President Reagan are that he actually admitted when things went wrong and took responsibility for them,” she said. “I think that part of the issue at this point is this administration is not willing to say that mistakes have been made in terms of Iraq.”

Approximately 500 people attended the dinner and award ceremony at McNamara alumni center, Atwood said. Tickets cost $100, and the $50,000 made in proceeds will go to the institute’s scholarship fund.

Other award recipients for the evening were Marge Anderson, Nathan Garvis and Judge Gerald W. Heaney.