LIFE & WORK
Editorial: Better world the life work of Albright
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shakes hands with soldiers during her visit to Air Base Eagle in Bosnia in 1998. Albright’s expertise on foreign policy was unparalleled.
The arc of Madeleine Albright’s life spans disruption and mass slaughter in Eastern Europe in the 20th century and disruption and mass slaughter in Eastern Europe in the 21st century.
In the years separating World War II from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Albright embarked on a career devoted to diplomacy and foreign policies designed to prevent and stop such wars, and ensure a more stable world.
Albright, who died last week at 84, made history in 1997 when President Bill Clinton named her this country’s first female secretary of state. She was in the vanguard of the first generation of women who occupied the highest and most visible diplomatic and security posts in the U.S. government.
Albright not only brought to her position a deep, scholarly knowledge of world affairs, and the tumultuous politics that ensnares them, she also brought real-life experience.
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Albright’s and her family’s experiences were shaped by the upheaval, dislocation and violence of World War II. Her understanding of the threat of murderous autocracies and the promise of democracy defined Albright’s life and work. Nazism and communism drove her family from Czechoslovakia.
Albright was born in Prague in 1937, the daughter of a diplomat. Raised as a Catholic, Albright wouldn’t learn until she was 59 that she was Jewish, both of her parents having been born and raised in Jewish families. Her parents converted to Catholicism out of fear of anti-Jewish persecution.
Albright would also learn that several members of her family, including three of her grandparents, were murdered in the Holocaust. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, Albright’s father, as a high-ranking government official, was targeted for execution. He took his family to London, and Albright would never forget hiding under metal tables as German bombs fell during the London Blitz in 1940 and 1941.
After the war, the family returned to Czechoslovakia, but when the Communist Party took over the government in 1948, they fled again, this time to the United States.
During Clinton’s first term, he appointed Albright as ambassador to the United Nations, only the second woman to hold that position, following Jeane Kirkpatrick who served under President Ronald Reagan. When Albright was named secretary of state, she became fourth in line to the presidency, making her, at the time, the highest-ranking woman in government in the nation’s history.
It’s also worth noting that since the glass ceiling-breaking ascensions of Kirkpatrick and Albright, it’s now routine for the positions of U.N. ambassador and secretary of state to be held by women.
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In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Albright the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
On Feb. 23, one month before she died, Albright wrote an op-ed about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Published in the New York Times, it was titled “Putin is Making a Historic Mistake.” As she watched him amass troops on the Ukrainian border, Albright recalled meeting him for the first time in 2000 and noting, “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.”
She ended her essay by writing, “Ukraine is entitled to its sovereignty, no matter who its neighbors happen to be. In the modern era, great countries accept that, and so must Mr. Putin. That is the message undergirding recent Western diplomacy. It defines the difference between a world governed by the rule of law and one answerable to no rules at all.”
The next day, Putin invaded Ukraine.
Albright dedicated her life to building a more humane world governed by the rule of law in which nations are entitled to sovereignty. That work is perpetual and far from complete, but Albright left a legacy of helping to make such a world possible.
LIFE & WORK
Mississippi River crest reaches historic proportions as Iowans cope with yet another flood
As a slow-moving crest works its way down the Mississippi River this week, flood-weary Iowans living along the water were doing their best to cope with the rising water.
In Davenport on Sunday, River Drive lived up to its name: The street looked like a river, but residents said their sandbagging efforts are working.
James Perez, who was helping a local business owner fill sandbags Thursday night outside Mary’s Bar in downtown Davenport, estimated about 180,000 pounds of sand encircled the business they were trying to protect.
About a block away, the barrier outside the bar kept water from entering the business, which remained open Sunday evening.
Perez recalled the 2019 flood, when the Mississippi River broke through a temporary barrier, covering streets and surrounding homes and businesses.
“This time around, we knew ahead of time what to do so I kind of took charge,” Perez said. “I took all the volunteers who were not sure what to do and organized them into a team.”
Some are making the best of a bad situation. With music playing on a portable speaker, Joseph Anderson and Jimi Williams spent a recent afternoon in their kayaks floating down River Drive.
Anderson, a longtime resident of Davenport, said people who call the place home know what to expect.
“Checking out the view and enjoying life. Watching it under water and getting a different perspective of the same thing,” Anderson told . “It’s a beautiful day. We get to see the city. Not everyone gets this view. This is a locals-only tour.”
The flooding caused by snow melt this year does not compare to the 2019 flood, Anderson said.
“You start to get used to it. This one isn’t as bad. Last time we had some levies break and there was a little more damage. It’s not too bad,” Anderson told CNN. “Everyone was prepared. They’ve been through this before, and if you are local you know what to expect.”
Claudia Anderson, the manager of The Phoenix, a large downtown Davenport restaurant, said Monday the barriers seemed to be holding water out of the business, and sump pumps are taking out the little water that does get it.
But the restaurant cannot open, and it’s losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue, she said. She has had to temporarily lay off about two dozen employees, including some who have no other income.
“It is what it is, we’ve gone through this, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone through the flood,” Anderson said.
The crest in the Quad Cities area in Iowa ranked in the top 10 historic crests Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The river gauge at Rock Island, near Davenport, was cresting with water levels fairly steady around 21.4 feet Monday morning, placing it as the eighth-highest recorded at that spot.
Flood warnings continue along a long stretch of the Mississippi River from St Paul, Minnesota, to just north of St Louis, Missouri, as snow melts from a phenomenal winter season.
The recent flooding comes after areas of the Upper Midwest saw extraordinary snowfall this winter. Duluth, Minnesota, broke its highest seasonal snowfall last month, and Minneapolis recorded its third-highest season.
As the snow in the region melts, the swell of water is making its way south.
Upstream from Davenport in Dubuque, Iowa, officials closed all of its floodgates along the river last week, only the third time the gates have been closed since they were installed in 1973. Pumping stations were operating around the clock.
And farther upstream, North Buena Vista area residents were living in flooded homes, CNN affiliate KCRG reported Sunday, taking “canoes back and forth or we wade through the water,” resident Scott Blum told the station.
The Mississippi will continue cresting further south on Tuesday and Wednesday, but major flooding is not forecast for locations farther south.
A levee breach causes more flood damage
Sixty miles north of Davenport, in Green Island, Iowa, a levee breach flooded roughly 4,000 acres of a wildlife refuge and damaged nine properties, according to Jackson County Emergency Management Director Lyn Medinger.
Officials were not yet able to investigate the cause of the breach due to weather, Medinger told CNN Monday, adding authorities will likely reach the area Tuesday morning.
The region has seen powerful winds, making air transport to the area difficult
No injuries were reported and no evacuations have been made, Medinger said.
“The one breach is affecting the low-lying areas in that region,” the director added.
Just a few miles south, in the city of Sabula, the flood wall was eroded by the high winds but officials were able to stabilize the situation with sandbags and avoid flooding, Medinger said.
LIFE & WORK
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LIFE & WORK
International Journalism Festival 2023: the events you shouldn’t miss in Perugia
Here is a curated list of panels on topics such as Ukrainian media, membership and funding models, solutions journalism and more.
April journalists from all over the world will be gathering for the International Journalism Festival in Perugia once again. Many voices from the Reuters Institute will speak at the festival. Here’s a selection of some of the highlights this year, which include panels on reader revenue models, the media in Ukraine, press freedom, equity and inclusion in journalism and AI. All the panels will be live-streamed on the festival’s IJF YouTube channel. See you in Perugia or online.
Investigating the crimes of war
Anna Babinets from Slidstvo.Info | Sam Dubberley from HRW | Sarah El Deeb from AP | Anne Koch from GIJN
12.00. Sala delle Colonne, Palazzo Graziani.
How to support the Ukrainian media system in the long run
Joanna Krawczyk from the German Marshall Fund of the United States | Jakub Parusinski from The Fix | David Schraven from CORRECTIV | Penelope Winterhager from the JX Fund | Eugene Zaslavsky from the Media Development Foundation
14.00. Sala della Vaccara, Palazzo dei Priori.
Membership models: all you need to know about running a member-centric newsroom
Leon Fryszer from Krautreporter | Richard Hoechner from Republik | Lea Korsgaard from Zetland | Eduardo Suárez from RISJ
14.00. Sala dei Notari, Palazzo dei Priori.
Gender, leadership and surviving authoritarian regimes and cultures: women leading independent Arab media speak up
Rawan Damen from ARIJ | Fatemah Farag from Welad Elbalad Media | Diana Moukalled from Daraj | Nora Younis from AlManassa News
15.00. Sala della Vaccara, Palazzo dei Priori.
Solutions journalism: a means to achieve equity and inclusion
Dina Aboughazala from Egab | Caleb Okereke from Minority Africa | Dora Santos Silva from Obi.Media | Holly Wise from the Solutions Journalism Network
16.00. Sala Brugnoli, Palazzo Cesaroni.
Two to tango: a closer look at the relationship between independent investigative teams and legacy media
Cecilia Anesi from IRPI | Nikolas Leontopoulos from Reporters United | Geoffrey Livolsi from Disclose | Elisa Simantke from Investigate Europe | Bastian Obermayer
16.00. Auditorium San Francesco al Prato.
How the far right is going global
Luke O’Brien from the Shorenstein Center | Andrea Dip from Agência Pública | Natalia Viana from Agência Pública | Jamil Chade
17.00. Sala dei Notari, Palazzo dei Priori.
Legal threats hampering media freedom
Lina Attalah from Mada Masr | Will Church from TRF | Chile Eboe-Osuji from Toronto Metropolitan University | Jodie Ginsberg from CPJ | Joel Simon from the Journalism Protection Initiative | Antonio Zappulla from TRF
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