Miami Dade College presents Madeleine Albright Collection

By Tere Estorino….
After stops at the Smithsonian Institution, William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” makes its way to the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College (MDC) for an exhibition running from Thursday, Feb. 24 to Saturday, Apr. 30.

Former Secretary of State Albright will be the guest of honor at a private opening reception on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection features more than 200 of her famous brooches from her personal collection, many of which Secretary Albright wore to communicate a diplomatic message during her tenure. Exhibition hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.

During Secretary Albright’s distinguished diplomatic career, lapel pins became her trademark fashion statement. The collection she cultivated has been described as “distinctive and democratic” and, often times, “demure and outspoken.” In 1997, Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.

While serving under President Bill Clinton, first as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and then as Secretary of State, Albright became known for wearing brooches that purposefully conveyed her views about the situation at hand. A highlight of the exhibition will be the brooch that initiated her unusual use of pins as a tool in her diplomatic arsenal.

After Saddam Hussein’s press referred to her as an “unparalleled serpent,” Albright wore a golden snake brooch pinned to her suit for her next meeting on Iraq. From then on, she picked up pins, mostly costume jewelry, at flea markets and antique shops or as gifts from friends, which she would use to express her opinions and moods.

One of the strongest messages she sent through her pins struck closer to home in South Florida. In 1996, airplanes carrying four Cuban-American fliers were shot down by Cuban fighter pilots over international waters. At a UN press conference afterwards, Albright wore her “Blue Bird” pin with its head pointing down in mourning for the free-spirited fliers.

Secretary Albright currently is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management LLC, and serves as a professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Her visit to MDC will begin with a presentation to the college’s acclaimed Miami Leadership Roundtable on current global issues on Feb. 22.

Exhibition hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College is located at 600 Biscayne Blvd.

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