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Madeleine Albright

Calling on leaders and citizens to oppose terror on every front, Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, delivered the Schooler Lecture to a crowd of more than 2,500 people at Mount Union Tuesday evening.

“We must adopt a global attitude that every individual counts,” Albright said. “For democracy to persist, we must oppose those who turn humans into robots and individuals into bombs. History is a race between catastrophe and the right kind of education – an education that emphasizes the rights to be an individual.”

Albright said that while terrorism is an evil force, the world has other evils that threaten even more lives, namely poverty, ignorance and disease. She called for a global coalition to defeat deprivation.

”At current levels, the U.S. will spend more in Iraq in one year than what it would take to help 50 of the world’s neediest countries in the next two decades,” she said. “The U.S. can be a people with plenty helping plenty of people by enlarging the circle of prosperity.”

Albright said world leaders, led by the U.S. need to focus on stopping the bloodshed in the Congo and genocide in Sudan. “If we have the will, we can do nearly anything to help the world’s populations,” she said.

During the question and answer period, Albright cited China as one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. “China is on the go, especially economically, resulting in a hunger for things like energy,” she said. “As a result, they are seeking warm relationships with Iran, Venezuela and Sudan where oil is plentiful and they have mended relationships with India, which is also hungry for energy resources. The U.S. needs to work closely with China and help it be globally responsible, especially given its poor human rights record and the fact that it is an undemocratic nation.”

Describing her career as zig-zaggy, having been born in Czechoslovakia in 1937 and then moving with her family to the U.S. in 1948, Albright held several diplomatic posts before being named the first woman U.S. secretary of state in 1997. Albright noted that her appointment blazed the trail for her successor Colin Powell who became the first African-American to be appointed to the post, and then Condoleeza Rice, who is the first African American woman to hold the position.

Albright’s appearance is the latest among well-known world leaders who have delivered the Schooler Lecture at Mount Union since 1988. Former President Gerald R. Ford was the first Schooler lecturer. Others have included former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among others.