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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will speak at the Humphrey Institute on Thursday.

Madeleine Albright at the U

December 6, 2005

In 2004, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Humphrey Institute Senior Fellow Vin Weber cochaired a bipartisan task force convened by the Council on Foreign Relations to answer the following questions: Is promoting democracy in the Middle East is in the best interest of the United States? If so, how?

This summer, the task force released the report, "In Support of Arab Democracy: Why and How," which concludes that democracy in the Middle East is a desirable goal for the United States. The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas to better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments.

On Thursday, December 8, Albright, Weber, and other members of the task force will be part of a panel discussion at the University of Minnesota on the role the United States can play and strategies it can use to bring political reform to the Arab world. Local respondents are J. Brian Atwood, dean of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs; Rudy Boschwitz, former U.S. senator; and Carol Hakim, University assistant professor of history. (Albright is also scheduled to give remarks prior to the panel discussion.) The event, the first national public forum held in relation to the report, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon in Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

The Humphrey Institute Policy Forum, codirected by former Minnesota Congressmen Weber and Tim Penny and part of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute, is cosponsoring the event. Cooperating organizations include the Center of the American Experiment, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, the Minnesota International Center, and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

Albright was the first female secretary of state and remains the highest-ranking woman to have served in the U.S. government. During her tenure under President Clinton, she expanded and modernized NATO and led NATO's successful campaign to reverse ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. In 2004, the University gave Albright one of four Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards for contributions to the common good through public leadership and service.

Although the event has sold out, the public can register at the door for overflow seating ($10) in the building. A live Webcast will be available at, and can be accessed for two weeks following the event. For more information, call Ellen Tveit at 612-625-8330.