Stories From a Diplomat's Jewel Box

Here are just a few of the posts Madeleine Albright has held during her long career in public service: legislative liaison for National Security Council and member of White House staff, 1978-81; U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, 1993-97; cabinet member and National Security Council member, beginning 1993, and U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001.

Along the way she collected jewelry and her pins became part of her diplomatic signature. A famous example is cited in her book when as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations she criticized Saddam Hussein and was criticized in turn by his poet in residence who called her “an unparalleled serpent.” At an upcoming meeting with Iraqi officials she decided to wear a snake pin to send an unspoken message that originated with the American Revolution slogan "Don’t Tread on Me."

She also sent some kinder messages with her pins, for instance, when she wore her dove pin while with visiting with survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Ms. Albright wrote a wonderful book about her collection called Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat’s Jewel Box that is available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Take the opportunity to see over 200 of her pins at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. The exhibit lasts through April 21st. Stop in and see the pins she collected and used as diplomatic tools throughout her fascinating career.

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The following quote from Albright will possibly be the most lasting and well-known statement she made in her career.

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq:
We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:
I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

--60 Minutes (5/12/96)