BY ELIZABETH KASSAB
Daily News Editor
Published May 6, 2001
A month before incoming students arrive in Ann Arbor to get acquainted with the University, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrived for her own orientation Friday.
Albright made her first visit to the University since last month"s announcement that she will serve as the William Davidson Institute"s first Distinguished Scholar.
Business School Dean Joseph White and U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) welcomed Albright, the highest-ranking female in the history of American government.
"We"re excited about it, and we"re thrilled about it," White said.
Lantos, a member of the Institute"s board of directors, who, in addition, serves on the House International Relations committee, had suggested to Albright that she consider working with the Institute.
"I"m just excited to be at the University of Michigan," Albright said.
The former secretary of state met with faculty and students to discuss her position as a distinguished scholar.
Albright said she hoped she could provide a link between the academic community and the actual world, two fields that often do not connect with each other.
Albright detailed her reasons for deciding to work with the Institute in studying developing democracies and market economies, saying it "fits perfectly with my passion."
She emphasized the study of what she termed "post-euphoria democracies," countries that have moved past the initial stage of embracing the concept of democracy and are now forced to confront the challenges of making the idea a reality. The United States, she said, has a role in aiding new democratic governments.
"We have taught them to count ballots sometimes better than we do," she said, "We do a very good job of celebrating with them." She said the role of the United States needs to extend further, especially in cases where the societies begin to turn away from democracy.
Albright spoke of the difficulties former communist nations have when adapting to democracy. They are plagued, she said, with "a certain sense that democracy has not delivered." Average citizens find that the government no longer provides for them in the same way. "There are lots more choices in the grocery store, but they can"t afford it," Albright said.
Jan Svejnar, the Institute"s executive director, said Albright plans to spend three separate weeks per year at the University during her two-year term, which officially begins Sept. 1. Though Albright will not teach classes, she will interact with both graduate and undergraduate students through meetings and a major address.