Reporters may contact: Meredith Dickenson
SMU News and Information
(214) 768-7654

April 24, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will meet with local high school students who have been invited to attend the third annual Hart Global Leaders Forum at Southern Methodist University from noon to 4 p.m., Monday, April 30.

The Hart Global Leaders Forum introduces highly motivated students to men and women who, because of their professional and personal accomplishments, have made a mark on the world. Last year physician-astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave spoke to more than 150 local high school students. The inaugural seminar in 1999 featured former President Gerald Ford.

Students invited to participate in the Hart Forum are chosen by their teachers for their academic and leadership potential. Forty-five area high schools will be sending 150 students. The forum is not open to the general public, but media interested in attending may contact the SMU Office of News and Information at 214-768-7650. All of the day's events will be on the lower level of the SMU Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer Street.

Events open to the media are as follows:

  • From 1:15 to 3 p.m. the students will divide into groups and alternate between two seminars. Alexis M. McCrossen, SMU assistant professor of history, will teach "Women in American Politics and Diplomacy," while Harold W. Stanley, a visiting research professor in SMU's John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will teach "Madeleine Albright and American Foreign Policy." Albright is expected to make appearances at each seminar and interact with the students.
  • At 3 p.m. Albright will give a general address to the high school students and SMU students titled "American Leadership in the 21st Century." Only the first five minutes of Albright's speech may be videotaped and sound recorded.

In 1997, Albright captured headlines worldwide when she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government.

The daughter of a Czech diplomat, Albright fled to England in 1939 after the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. Many years later she learned that her family was Jewish and that three of her grandparents had been persecuted by the Nazis. At age 11, she settled with her family in the United States and graduated in 1959 from Wellesley College with honors in political science. Albright furthered her education with a master's degree and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

From 1978 to 1981, Albright served on the National Security Council. In the 1980s and early 1990s, she worked for several nonprofit organizations and taught international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. During former President Bill Clinton's first term in office, she was Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1996 she was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Secretary of State. Albright was instrumental in bringing women's rights and international crime issues to the forefront of America's foreign policy agenda.

The SMU Hart Global Leaders Forum was established in 1996 with a gift from Linda W. Hart and Milledge A. Hart, III. The forum provides an opportunity for students and community leaders to meet with individuals who have achieved national and international recognition for their significant contributions to government, business, education, science and the arts.

At various times, the SMU Hart Global Leaders Forum may take one of two shapes: seminars in which selected local high school students meet and learn from world leaders in a collegiate setting, which is the case for the April 30 event; or an international forum, in which world leaders recognized for their contributions on a global scale give a major public lecture at SMU and engage in private panel discussions with local civic leaders and elected public officials.

The Harts see the high school forum that bears their name as a way to cultivate future leaders. They also have endowed leadership programs in other American cities.

Ms. Hart, a graduate of SMU'S Dedman School of Law, is vice chairman and CEO of Hart Group, Inc. Her civic leadership positions include, among other things, serving as the immediate past chairman of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Association, and she has been an active leader in The Dallas Citizens Council, The Dallas Forum, The Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Texas National Research Laboratory Commission, the International Women's Forum Leadership Foundation and the Dallas Women's Foundation. She is a former chairman and current ex officio member of the Legal Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. Hart, chairman of Hart Group Inc. and an SMU trustee, is founding director and former chairman of the Episcopal School of Dallas and a trustee emeritus of Duke University. In 1985, he endowed the Hart Leadership program at Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute for Public Policy, and he and Ms. Hart serve on the institute's board. He serves on numerous business and civic boards, including the World Presidents' Organization, the Chief Executives Organization, Inc. and Boy Scouts of America.

In addition to the Hart Global Leaders Forum, the Harts have established the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter at SMU to provide cross-disciplinary research, education and incubation of interactive technology network innovations.