SHREWSBURY, Mass. — One of the nation's most famous diplomats paid a visit to Shrewsbury Wednesday night. Former Secretary of State and U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright came to St. John's High School to present her lecture, “The Courage To Listen.”
“We teach students to voice their views, but the other part is listening to other people and understanding how decisions are made,” Albright said during a press conference before her lecture. “We are always seeking truth, but sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint what is true. And what may have been true at one time may no longer be true when certain facts come to light.”
More than 1,000 attended Albright's speech at St. John's including 300 students.
“We continue to be very blessed and honored to have the center for ethics at St. John's High School,” said School Headmaster Michael Welch, the day before Albright's appearance. “This is our first female lecturer in the series, so to line that up with the first female secretary of state is very special.”
Albright's visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of St. John's Model U.N. club, and the secretary made a surprise visit to the group's meeting, and hosted a quick question and answer session with students.
“To see someone who served directly under the president—you get inspired,” said Kevin Murphy, model U.N. member and Holden resident.
Speaking with reporters, Albright sounded off on issues facing the current Secretary of State. On Wednesday, the outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton, clashed with Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over the handling of a Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya where four Americans were killed.
Albright said Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice did their best to “inform the American public with the information that they had” as to the cause of the attack.
“I empathize a great deal with Secretary Clinton,” said Albright. “I loved being Secretary of State every day except for Aug. 7, 1998 when our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. The responsibility that one feels for those people that are out representing the United States—I could identify a lot.”
Albright praised Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who has been nominated to succeed Clinton. “John Kerry is a very, very good friend of mine,” Albright said. “I think he's going to be a terrific Secretary of State." She added, "I think he has a very good sense of the issues he'll have to deal with.”
Albright was named the first female Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton in 1997, after serving as U.N. Ambassador. She is the author of five New York Times best sellers, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2012.