Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Announces Donation of Read My Pins Exhibition to the United States Diplomacy Center

WASHINGTON, DC (Jan. 10, 2017)— Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will announce today, at an event marking the completion of construction of the museum Pavilion, her donation of the exhibition Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection to the permanent collection of the United States Diplomacy Center (USDC).  She will also donate the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to her by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection features more than 200 pins, most of the costume variety, which Secretary Albright wore to communicate a message before, during, and after her years of public service, including when she led the Department of State from 1997 to 2001. Sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken, these pins were used as gentle implements of statecraft.  Their stories and messages reflect the Secretary’s sense of humor and her humanity, and are visual educational tools of cultural diplomacy.  

“The concept of the U.S. Diplomacy Center was originally proposed to me while I was Secretary of State in 1999. At the time, I thought it was vital that we share the State Department’s incredible collection of artifacts in a way that educated Americans about the historical significance of the objects, as well as the fundamental role that the State Department has played around the world,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  “I am delighted to see that mission realized at the U.S. Diplomacy Center, and honored that my pins will find a home in its permanent collection. My hope remains that these pins and the stories that accompany them will make foreign policy seem a bit less foreign to those who visit them here.”

“We are delighted that the pins are coming home,” said Kathy A. Johnson, Director of the U.S. Diplomacy Center.  “The personal insights and stories of public service and American diplomacy told by the pins will inspire future generations of diplomats and leaders.”
Secretary Albright will announce her donation at a special ceremony hosted by Secretary John F. Kerry to celebrate the completion of the U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion.  Secretary Kerry will be joined by former Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Replicas of some of the pins are currently on display, and the full exhibit will be installed in 2018, following the completion of a nationwide tour to 22 museums and presidential libraries and museums over 9 years.  Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection was organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Elaine Shocas was the inspiration and driving force for the exhibition and accompanying book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.  Generous support for the exhibition was originally provided by Bren Simon, and by St. John Knits for the exhibition book.

About the United States Diplomacy Center

The U.S. Diplomacy Center will be a new, 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art museum and education center dedicated to telling the story of American diplomacy.  Visitors will explore the role of diplomacy through interactive exhibits, compelling artifacts, hands-on education programs, and diplomatic simulations.

About Madeleine Albright

Madeleine K. Albright was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 2012, she was chosen by President Barack Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.

Serving from 1997 until 2001, she was, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, she reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. From 1989 to 1992, she served as President of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff and served as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie. 

Albright is currently a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and serves as president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.  She is chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management.

She is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003); The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006); Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership (2008); Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (2009); and Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (2012).

Albright received a B.A. with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a Certificate from its Russian Institute. 

For more information, please contact the U.S. Diplomacy Center at 202-472-8215.

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