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Funeral for Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, to be held Wednesday


(WASHINGTON) — A funeral for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the first woman to ever serve in that role, will be held Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

The funeral is set to begin at 11 a.m. and will be streamed on ABC News Live.

Albright, who had cancer, died in March at the age of 84.

She served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton after serving as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. from 1993 to 1997.

During her tenure as secretary of state, she focused on promoting the eastward expansion of NATO and pushed for NATO intervention in the 1999 war in Kosovo, according to the historical office of the Department of State.

Her approach to diplomacy and statecraft was colored by her own experiences as a refugee who fled what was then Czechoslovakia with her family in the aftermath of World War II.

She remained engaged with both American and international affairs until the end of her life, writing a book in 2018 warning about a resurgence of fascism and sounding an alarm about Russian President Vladimir Putin in a New York Times op-ed published just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In early 2000, I became the first senior U.S. official to meet with Vladimir Putin in his new capacity as acting president of Russia… Flying home, I recorded my impressions. ‘Putin is small and pale,’ I wrote, ‘so cold as to be almost reptilian,"” Albright wrote in the Times.

She added that “should he invade [Ukraine], it will be a historic error.”

Both former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak at the funeral, according to the Washington National Cathedral.

“Few leaders have been so perfectly suited for the times in which they served… Because she knew firsthand that America’s policy decisions had the power to make a difference in people’s lives around the world, she saw her jobs as both an obligation and an opportunity,” the former president wrote in a statement the day Albright died.

President Joe Biden will eulogize Albright at the funeral, and her daughters, Anne, Alice and Katie, will also speak.

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