Remarks by Abdullah Shahid, President of the General Assembly, at the United Nations Memorial for U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE 76TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ABDULLA SHAHID United Nations Memorial for U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright17 May 2022
Your Excellency, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN,Mr. Secretary-General,Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my distinct honour to join you in celebrating the life and legacy of the late Madeleine Albright.
Throughout her storied and illustrious career, Secretary Albright played many roles, so much so that it is near impossible in a few moments to truly capture the depth and scale of the work that she accomplished.
Her journey from being "Madlenka" to "Madeline" is simply extraordinary.
As a refugee and migrant who fled persecution as a child.
As a staunch supporter of multilateralism and, in her own words, a "child of the UN".
As an environmentalist who oversaw the U.S. signing of the Kyoto Protocol.
As perhaps the only person who could teach Macarena in the Security Council.
Perhaps, most importantly, she will be remembered as a trailblazer; as a woman who rose to the highest levels and demonstrated the power of women in power.
Secretary Albright was the first female US Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of US government at the time of her appointment.
I am reminded of her quote that there is no shortage of worthwhile work to be done and no surprise of seasons in which to do it.
As a diplomat, she demonstrated star quality with dignity. She was known to be firm but flexible.
She was perhaps one of the rare diplomats who made diplomacy understandable to the common people.
I still remember her quote, "As secretary, I will do my best to talk about foreign policy not in abstract terms, but in human terms..."
As a gender champion and advocate for equality, I am in awe of all that Secretary Albright has achieved and encouraged by all those who she inspired.
She herself once stated that "… societies are better off when women are politically and economically empowered."
As President of the UN General Assembly, I would like to recognize Secretary Albright's firm support for the United Nations and all that it embodies.
Referring to herself as "Multilateral Madeleine", Ms. Albright once said that "If the UN didn't exist, we would have to invent it."
Those words ring as true today as the day they were spoken.
As we celebrate the life and career of Secretary Albright, I would like to recall the contributions of all the great women in diplomacy who have trailblazed, negotiated peace agreements, strengthened diplomatic ties, survived threats, and opened the doors for other women to join the diplomatic service.
I am firmly of the view that the time has come for us to recognize the contribution of women in diplomacy.
Let us work towards declaring an International Day of Women in Diplomacy in recognition of women such as Madeleine Albright.
And, lest we forget, there are glass ceilings yet to be shattered…
I believe we would all agree that Secretary Albright would fully endorse my call for the next Secretary-General of the United Nations to be a woman.
I would like to thank H.E. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and the US Mission to the UN for organizing this memorial and for their kind invitation.
As we honour Secretary Albright's deeply inspiring legacy, let us continue her work in favor of a better world.
I thank you.