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TOP 10: 11 Commencement Speeches Given by Women This Year That Deserve an Encore

Maya Rudolph giving commencement speech at Tulane/nytlive.nytimes.com article

11 Commencement Speeches Given by Women This Year That Deserve an Encore: K. Cutruzzula–nytlive.nytimes.com–5/29/15

TOP 10: At the UN, Women Play Increasingly Powerful Roles

United Nations logo, wikipedia

At the UN, Women Play Increasingly Powerful Roles: Nick Bryant–bbc.com–11/17/14

TOP 10: Madeleine Albright Sounds Off on Ukraine

Madeleine Albright and Tina Brown at Women in the World event/March 2014

Madeleine Albright Sounds Off on Ukraine: Eleanor Clift–dailybeast.com–3/7/14–Photo: Scott Henrichsen

Madeleine Albright Presents “Prague Winter”– A Personal Story

Madeleine Albright

By Laurie McAndish King/March 8, 2013

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I am reading Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, a fascinating book written by Dr. Madeleine Albright, one of the most accomplished and influential women of our time. When she took office as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State, Albright became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.  [Read more…]

TOP 10: Madeleine Albright Praises Susan Rice, Talks Multilateralism

Madeleine Albright interviewed on Washington Ideas Forum (Video)

Madeleine Albright Praises Susan Rice, Talks Multilateralism: Sophie Quinton–theatlantic.com–11/20/12–Photo: Video: Washington Ideas Forum

Madeleine Albright’s Pins Make Fashion History

Madeleine Albright wearing her Liberty pin

UDPATE 9/23/13: Madeleine Albright Joins Twitter (@madeleine) and shows new tweet pin

By Stacey Gualandi/November 18, 2012

Being a U.S. diplomat doesn’t mean you can’t make a fashion statement.  Just ask the first female Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  She had a reputation as a classy-yet-firm negotiator when meeting with heads of state, dictators, and foreign dignitaries while serving under President Clinton and then as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

But she also became known for the beautiful brooches she wore – pins that were not only fashion-forward, but also a subtle way of expressing her opinion on current events.  We ran across this wonderful collection of pins from her personal collection at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA and wanted to share them with you.

Uncle Sam Top Hat and Uncle Sam Eagle Pins, Circa 1940

Two hundred pins are currently on display there through January 13, 2013.  The museum show explores “the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language of its own.”   Some are demure and others are prickly but most emphasize her American pride.

Albright says the pins were part of her “personal diplomatic arsenal.”  She has said, “While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying ‘read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘read my pins.’”

Mdadeleine Albright's Bluebird pin, circa 1880

The Bluebird pin, Circa 1880

This exhibit, also showcased in her 2009 book  Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box, is “part memoir, part social history, and allows an intimate look into Albright’s life through the jewelry she wore.”

She told Smithsonian Magazine that she gets some of her pins at flea markets; some are purchased in souvenir and antique shops.  A friend even gave her 65 pins on her 65th birthday. Mainly, she says, they just kind of happen.

Some examples of her eclectic collection:

Madeleine Albright's Serpent Pin, Circa 1860 Designer Unknown, USA

The Serpent, Circa 1860

In 1994, Saddam Hussein’s government-controlled press referred to Albright, who was at that time U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as an “unparalleled serpent” after she publicly criticized Hussein.  At her next meeting on the subject of Iraq, Albright wore a golden snake brooch, beginning a career-long practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages.

Madeleine Albright's Bee Pin, Circa 1980, Designer Unknown

Bee Pin, Circa 1980

Madam Albright would wear this pin when she wanted to emulate Muhammad Ali and  “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”  She also adorned this pin while meeting with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during peace negotiations with the Isrealis.  He felt the sting, but Albright says he ultimately didn’t make the right decisions.

Madeleine Albright's Bejeweled Mickey Pin, Circa 1989

Bejeweled Mickey, 1989. Mickey Mouse © DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.

The Secretary says she would wear this iconic character above when negotiations were at a standstill, and it seemed like “it was a Mickey Mouse operation.”

What a fascinating collection!  It’s definitely time to pull out some of my vintage pins.

For more information about these special brooches as some call them (although the Secretary prefers the word pins), you can contact the Bowers Museum.

We must show you the new tweet pin that Ms. Albright tweeted 9/23/13.

Madeleine Albright Twitter pix

Lead Photo by Diana Walker

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TOP 10: Madeleine Albright’s Brooches Tell a Story at Bowers Museum

Madeleine Albright wearing brooch

Madeleine Albright’s Brooches Tell a Story at Bowers Museum: Liesl Bradner–latimes.com–10/18/12–Photo: Diana Walker (October 12, 2012)

Top 10: Giving Women’s History a Home

Women's History Museum Supporters including Meryl Streep

Giving Women’s History a Home: Marianne Schnall–womensmediacenter.com–3/6/12