Biden to eulogize Madeleine Albright at her funeral next week

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

President Joe Biden will deliver a eulogy for Madeleine Albright next week when the former secretary of state is memorialized at a funeral in Washington.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will also speak at Wednesday’s funeral at the National Cathedral.

When Albright died last month at 84, Biden remembered the former top diplomat as “a force for kindness, grace and decency — and for freedom.”

“When I think of Madeleine, I will always remember her fervent faith that ‘America is the indispensable nation,'” Biden wrote in a statement.

At his funeral next week, Albright’s three daughters will also speak and musicians Chris Botti, Judy Collins and Herbie Hancock will pay their respects.

Albright was a central figure in former President Clinton’s administration, serving first as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations before choosing her in her second term to be the first female Secretary of State. In power, she championed NATO expansion, pushed the alliance to intervene in the Balkans to end genocide and ethnic cleansing, sought to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, and promoted human rights and democracy around the world.

Last month, Clinton also remembered his former top diplomat as “a passionate force for freedom, democracy and human rights” whose death “is a tremendous loss to the world at a time when we we most need the lessons of his life”.

“When the end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of global interdependence, she became America’s voice at the UN and then head of the State Department, where she was a passionate force for freedom, democracy and human rights,” he said. said in a statement.

“Madeleine’s passing is a huge loss to the world at a time when we need the lessons of her life the most,” he continued, adding that he and the former first lady “will always be deeply grateful for the wonderful friendship we shared and the ever wise counsel she gave us for so many years.

Born Marie Jana Korbelova, daughter of a Czechoslovak diplomat, in Prague in 1937, Albright escaped Czechoslovakia with her family 10 days after the Nazi invasion. Her experience growing up in communist Yugoslavia and then fleeing to the United States made her a lifelong opponent of totalitarianism and fascism.

Albright was a face of American foreign policy in the decade between the end of the Cold War and the War on Terror sparked by the September 11, 2001 attacks, an era heralded by President George H.W. Bush as a “new world order.” . The United States, particularly in Iraq and the Balkans, has formed international coalitions and sometimes intervened militarily to overthrow autocratic regimes, and Albright – a self-proclaimed “pragmatic idealist” who coined the term “assertive multilateralism” to describe the Clinton administration’s foreign policy – ​​drew on his experience growing up in a family that fled Nazis and Communists in mid-20th century Europe to shape his worldview.

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CNN’s Devan Cole and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.