Diplomacy Beyond Words © Wendy Starn

Diplomacy Beyond Words: Madeline Korbel Albright

Wendy L Starn

Alexandria, Louisiana, USA

Artist Statement

US Ambassador to the United Nations 1993-1997.
First female Secretary of State 1997- 2001.

Serpent: While US Ambassador to UN, Albright criticized Saddam Hussein for his refusal to go along with the deal. A poem was published by Iraqi press calling her a serpent. When she had to meet with Iraqi officials, she wore her serpent brooch.

Bee: Worn to make a point to Yasser Arafat, that the US would try to negotiate peacefully, but if pushed, might be forced to sting.

Dove: Gift from Leah Rabin, widow of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. Worn while working on negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. Also worn at memorials for victims of genocide. Inspired by Cecile et Jeanne original.

Bug: How do you tell the Russians you know they are bugging your conference room without disrupting your relationship? Inspired by Iradj Moini original.

Eagle: Worn when nominated to be the first female Secretary of State, 1996. Inspired by Ann Hand original.

Turtle: Worn when negotiations were proceeding at a slow, frustrating pace.

Bluebird: Cuban fighters shot down 4 unarmed Americans over international waters in 1996. In mourning, Albright wore her bluebird flying downward. Inspired by Anton Lachmann original.

Monkeys: Worn to a meeting with Vladimir Putin, to discuss Chechnya and human rights. Putin claimed rights were not being violated, and neutral monitoring was unnecessary. Albright thought otherwise. Inspired by Iradj Moini original.

Glass Ceiling: Inspired by ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling’ by Vivian Shimoyama. Another glass ceiling shattered!

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Madeline Korbel Albright
US Ambassador to the United Nations 1993-1997.
First female Secretary of State 1997- 2001.


Lapels adapted from Butterick 5687 and McCall’s 2301. Brooches are painted interfacing, embellished with acrylic jewels. Machine and hand sewn.


Linen blend, sportswear, and crepe fabrics, fusible interfacing, textile paint, acrylic jewels.

Connect with the artist