Like a true female pioneer, Madeleine K. Albright took a jab and turned it into a fashion statement.
She said after Saddam Hussein called her a snake, she took to wearing a snake pin when the occasion fit, and since then, her pins turned into a signal. She used the pins to let others know what kind of day lie ahead.
She even penned the book, "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box," which is due out Sept. 29.
(Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski)
Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright addresses the crowd in the Adler Athletic Complex as part of the Penn State Altoona Speaker Series Thursday night.
"They're great stories," she said.
A trip to Penn State Altoona has added to her collection.
Standing at a podium inside Adler Athletic Complex, Albright sported a pin from Rebecca Strzelec, assistant professor of visual arts.
Strzelec said the pin was part of the Army Green Orchid Series she made as a symbol for the troops.
"It's pretty much an honor she accepted one of mine," Strzelec said of the woman she called a "role model" and an inspiration.
Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, Albright was named the first woman to be U.S. Secretary of State and became the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.
Albright is the author of three New York Times best-sellers, including her autobiography, "Madam Secretary: A Memoir," and her latest book, "Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership."
Albright said all presidents inherit headaches, but President Barack Obama "inherited the entire emergency room."
She said in addition to stimulus, the United States needs reform.
She said the economy is a big part of Obama's focus, but he cannot devote all his time to it. She said he has to make friends with other countries.
She said the reason she wrote her book "Memo to the President" was to address the need for change in foreign policy. The way the Obama administration is going about foreign policy is a "healthy change," she said.
She said Obama has a nice touch when it comes to admitting mistakes while also showing others they have made their own.
She said former President Bill Clinton and Obama's approach to foreign policy are similar in their desire to listen, but different in context.
She said that in order to protect America, our country must reach out to other countries.
Strzelec said Albright helps her to show her students possibilities.
"She's an inspiration to all of us young women," Miss Teen Altoona International 2009 Francesca Mirenda, 16, said.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Clegg is at 949-7030.