Madeleine K. Albright '59 Speaks in Beijing to International Group of Students, Faculty, and Distinguished Speakers

June 10, 2013

Madeleine Korbel Albright '59 visited the Wellesley College-Peking University Partnership for Women’s Leadership in Beijing on Saturday, speaking with students, administrators, and press about the importance of pursuing an interdisciplinary approach to women’s global leadership through international collaboration, particularly between the United States and China. Her visit coincides with the first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and newly instated Chinese President Xi Jinping at a bilateral summit in California this weekend.

Wearing Wellesley blue and her symbolic Albright Institute globe pin, Secretary Albright took Wellesley and PKU students “Around the World with Madeleine Albright” as she discussed the world’s hotspots, the tools of diplomacy, and the imperative of learning from each other and working together to create effective solutions to global issues. Secretary Albright charged students with the duty of forging partnerships with one another, saying, “The U.S.-China relationship is the most important strategic relationship in the 21st century. The U.S. cannot and China cannot solve these problems alone.”

Students appreciated the chance to engage with Secretary Albright during Q&A after her remarks, and especially enjoyed a more casual exchange during the tea that followed.  

In the afternoon, Secretary Albright participated in the Distinguished Scholars Forum, a dialogue about women’s leadership and the liberal arts with Yuan Ming, director of the Institute of International Relations and director of the American Studies Center of Peking University. The hall was packed with students, faculty, administrators, and alumni of Wellesley and PKU, as well as press documenting the events of the historic partnership. Wellesley Provost Andrew Shennan gave opening remarks on the distinctiveness of the “Wellesley Way” of using liberal arts education to prepare women for leadership in a global era. Joyce Yanyun Man, director of the Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, moderated the dialogue.

The Wellesley College-Peking University Partnership is a groundbreaking alliance between two of the world’s top institutions of higher learning and Peking University’s first-ever program for women’s leadership. The academic program follows the model of Wellesley's Madeleine K. Albright Institute for Global Affairs, and brings together 40 female students from the two institutions to collaborate on addressing current international problems. For this year’s topic, Challenges of an Urban Future, students are working in teams of six to tackle issues ranging from affordable housing to cultural heritage. They will present their findings in Beijing to this year’s distinguished faculty, Chang Hsin Kang, former president of City University of Hong Kong, and Wang Changyuan, executive deputy secretary general of the China Association of Mayors, on June 14.

Story/Photo: Audrey Wozniak '14, reporting from Beijing