Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Former Secretary of State and SFS professor adeleine Albright addressed a capacity crowd Thursday night in Gaston, stressing the value of individual rights and dangers posed by terrorism and hate.

Madeleine Albright, Mortara Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy for the School of Foreign Service and former Secretary of State, delivered a speech on terrorism, disease and U.S. foreign policy yesterday to more than 700 Georgetown students and faculty in Gaston Hall. The doors to Gaston were closed until 15 minutes before the speech began, leaving a line of students that stretched from Healy to Lauinger Library.

Albright opened her discussion with references to her years at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, describing how the bipolar Cold War era marked a shocking contrast in comparison to today’s complex international system. Back then, it was a “period of innocence, the distinctions were clear,” she said.

Today, terrorism and indifference are just a small part of the complicated international system, Albright said.

“The world is watching to see if democracy can succeed in places such as Africa, Liberia and California,” she said, eliciting laughter and applause from the crowd.

“Human dignity and respect for the individual must be the focus of everything,” Albright said, quoting a statement her father often repeated.

Albright lashed out at Attorney General John Ashcroft, who she called “the most dangerous man in America,” adding, “I might get fired for saying this.”

Often when Americans are in discussions about international treaties, she said, the question is not about how these new policies will help the individual, but how the U.S. itself benefits from the treaties.

Albright said the United States “cannot afford to be silent” in fighting terrorism, stressing the sanctity of individuals throughout the world.

“We need to be relentless making the case that terrorism is always wrong – like genocide [and] apartheid,” she said.

Terrorism, however, was only the starting point in a list of global troubles.

“Indifference, like hate, is a product of the mind’s perversion,” she said.

Dubbing it her own “axis of evil,” Albright demanded that the ills of poverty, ignorance and disease – things that cause more avoidable deaths than terror – be stopped. Albright, who served as the permanent representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997, demanded that America play a larger role in humanitarian issues. She insisted that the United States pursue solutions to these international crises relentlessly.

Evoking examples from her missions to Africa while Secretary of State during the Clinton administration, Albright suggested solutions to the AIDS epidemic. She called for brave leaders, aggressive education campaigns and, in a statement Albright said was “bold at a Catholic university,” access to contraceptives. She also recommended that the U.S. intervene in Liberia, Congo and Sudan, following the successful example set by the British in Sierra Leone.

Albright related her U.S. foreign policy schemes to the students in attendance. Georgetown University was founded upon Jesuit ideals, open to every class and every religion, Albright said. These are the same ideals, the same sanctity of the individual, that both students and policy makers must relentlessly pursue.

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