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Madeleine Albright to Speak at Duke Feb. 28

January 31, 2019

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will give a free public lecture Thursday, Feb. 28, at Duke.

In the David M. Rubenstein Distinguished Lecture, “The Future of Democracy at Home and Abroad,” Albright will assess the current health of democracy and the U.S. role in fighting fascism.

 Timothy Greenfield-SandersThe talk takes place 5:30-7 p.m. in Page Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and are available beginning Tuesday, Feb. 5, either in person at the Duke Box Office or online at

“A childhood immigrant from Czechoslovakia, Madeleine Albright rose to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and as America's first female secretary of state,” said Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy. Kelley, a political scientist and international relations scholar, will interview Albright in a fireside-chat format. 

“It is a tremendous honor for the Sanford School to host such a keen observer of global affairs in a conversation about the future of democracy,” Kelley said.

Albright, now an author and professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, served as the 64th U.S. secretary of state. When she became secretary in 1997, Albright was the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.

In her most recent book, “Fascism: A Warning,” a #1 New York Times bestseller, Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her career as a diplomat to examine the response to fascism in the modern era. She documents how economic, technological, and cultural factors are weakening the political center and empowering the extremes of right and left in many countries, making fascism a more virulent threat to peace and justice now than at any time since the end of World War II. 

“Few living Americans have worked harder or more creatively to advance the development of democratic institutions around the world than has Secretary Albright over her long career of public service,” says Peter Feaver, political scientist and director of Duke’s American Grand Strategy program.

“Now, at a time when it seems like public confidence in democracy as the best form of organized politics appears to be flagging, it is especially important to hear her perspective and to wrestle with the challenges and opportunities of this new era.”

Duke will livestream the February 28 event on the Sanford School’s Youtube page and Facebook page.

The David M. Rubenstein Distinguished Lecture is presented by the Sanford School of Public Policy and co-sponsored by Duke’s Program in American Grand Strategy.