Former Secretary of State Receives 2015 Churchill Leadership Award
New York City: On 21 April The Churchill Centre presented the 2015 Churchill Leadership Award to former American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The award was presented by Laurence Geller, Chairman of The Churchill Centre, and Jean-Paul Montupet, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Churchill Museum. The presentation of the award was preceded by remarks from Randolph Churchill and former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Madeleine Albright grew up in Britain during the Second World War after her family left their native Czechoslovakia to escape the Nazi invasion. She still vividly recalls nights spent in air-raid shelters and the heroic leadership of Winston Churchill. After the war her family settled in the United States. From 1993–97 she served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In 1997 she became the first woman to be appointed United States Secretary of State, an office she continued to occupy for four years.
After the formal presentation of the award, Secretary Albright answered questions put to her by the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, veteran American journalist Tom Brokaw. When Brokaw asked her what she thought was the greatest obstacle to women attaining the highest positions of authority in government, the Secretary answered in one syllable: “men.” The full text of her acceptance speech will be published in the spring issue of Finest Hour.
Winston Churchill himself had a long association with the Waldorf Astoria. It was as a newly-elected member of Parliament at the age of twenty-six that he was introduced to an audience at the “old” Waldorf in December, 1900 by Mark Twain. Thirty-one years later after having dinner with his wife at the “new” Waldorf, Churchill took a taxi up town to visit his friend Bernard Baruch. After exiting the taxi, he was struck down while crossing the street and hospitalized for ten days before returning to the Waldorf for further recuperation. In 1946 Churchill came back to the Waldorf as a triumphant war leader for a gala banquet in his honor only days after delivering his famous “iron curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri.
Guests of The Churchill Centre for the evening included British Ambassador to the United States Sir Peter Westmacott and students from the House of Winston Churchill at The King’s College in New York as well as students from New York University.