Madeleine Albright was born in 1937 in Prague ( in what is now Czechia). Her family fled from both the Nazis and the Communists. The family first left the country after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, returned after the end of the Second World War, only to flee again, this time from the Communists in 1948. Albright was a brilliant student who would go on to earn her PhD from Columbia University. She then served in both academic and government positions, providing expertise as a foreign policy advisor. In 1993 she became U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1997 she became Secretary of State, the first female to be appointed to that prestigious position in the U.S. Cabinet.
Madeleine Albright leaves many legacies from her life of academics and public service, including the book Fascism: A Warning.
Our students will leave our school and soon become the adults who will hold the future of democracy in their hands. We must educate and equip our students to recognize the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship. We must help them see the precious nature of the democratic traditions that have been handed to them by previous generations. We must help them see the fragile nature of those institutions and the peril that is represented by those forces that are at work to undermine democracy.
Most pressingly, we must help our students to recognize the rise of fascism, both in the world and in our own backyard. We must equip our students to denounce fascist ideology and to defeat fascist attempts to destroy our democracy.
The politics of fear, division, and hate will fight for the souls of our students. We must counter those dark forces with hope, unity and love. Forces are at work undermining the foundations of democracy, including the rule of law, freedom of the press, public education, respect for science and reason, confidence in free and fair elections, and peaceful transitions of power. We must build up faith in those ideals in our kids, and equip them to demand them as their rightful expectation for a civil society.
Polarizing forces are at work which divide us, resulting in extreme “othering” to the point of dehumanization. We must find ways to help the next generation to reconcile that which divides us, or at least to find respectful and peaceful ways to engage with those divisions. Somehow we must find common ground with our beliefs about truth. We must find some way to agree on “the facts” even if we don’t agree on what do with those facts.
Please check out our display of items related to the struggle between democracy and fascism.