In honor of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s 80th birthday, the Embassy of the Czech Republic hosted a gala dinner in Washington, D.C. on May 16.
John F. Stack, Jr., founding dean of the Green School, Martin Palouš, director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, and David Skipp, associate director of advancement for the Green School, attended the gala, hosted by Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, who recently visited FIU.
Albright, a close friend to the late president of the Czech Republic and political dissident Václav Havel, praised FIU’s efforts to preserve Havel’s legacy and commitment to freedom and democracy.
The Havel program works to foster partnerships and promote global dialogue on human rights, democratization and diplomacy.
“Václav Havel was the epitome of what people thought was needed to be a president and philosopher, and it made us all very proud to have him as a symbol,’’ Albright said.
"What you are doing here at FIU through the Havel program is really remarkable and a tribute to Václav Havel and the spirit of the Czech people," Albright said. "I salute you."
Martin Palouš, director of the Havel Program and a former UN ambassador for Czechoslovakia, presented Albright with a bouquet of flowers to commemorate her 80th birthday.
“Secretary Albright has been a friend to FIU and to the Green School for many, many years," said Dean Stack. "It was a great honor to attend her birthday celebration and to hear her speak so highly of the work our Havel Program is doing in the area of human rights and diplomacy.”
During the celebration in D.C., Kmoníček presented Albright with a Bohemian garnet brooch, handmade in the shape of a heart, while the audience of Czech and American dignitaries sang “Happy Birthday.”
Tennis champion Martina Navrátilová sent a video message congratulating Albright on her birthday. And Czech pianist Tomáš Kačo closed the evening performing his arrangement of the jazz classic, “My Funny Valentine,” and his composition “Gypsy Soul,” as a musical tribute to Albright.
In addition to serving as the first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright has been a professor of international relations at Georgetown University for decades, served as an Ambassador to the United Nations and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012.
Click here to view more photos from Albright's birthday celebration.