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By  , Thursday, September 14, 2006

GIA Symposium 2006, Madeline Albright

Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s opening address at GIA's 2006 Symposium in San Diego last Saturday was titled “Opportunities and Danger, the World in 2006.”  It covered a range of topics from American foreign policy to the issue of conflict diamonds.

Stating that diamonds are not responsible for what happened in Sierra Leone, Albright was fast to remind diamond Symposium attendees that companies must take social responsibility in the countries in which they operate.

Much of her speech focused on the Middle East and Iraq in particular.  Calling Iraq what could historically be "America's greatest foreign policy distater," Albright recommended the book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks - in order to better understand today's events.  Although she does not believe in a strict deadline, it is Albright’s contention that Americans currently stationed in Iraq should be brought home.

Albright loves diamonds and broaches and expressed gratitude to the GIA:  "I really have no sin except for buying jewelry, and I am grateful to GIA for showing me it's not a sin but a sign of excellent character."  She shared that as Secretary of State she would wear her broaches for specific occasions.  For patriotism she would wear an Eagle.  For peace she would wear a dove.  When Iraq's former leaders called her a snake she wore a snake broach to meet with Iraqi representatives, and after the fall of Saddam Hussein she found a new brooch; a snake with a dagger through it.

After her speech she was presented with a sun-shaped brooch by session sponsor Steinmetz, upon which she announced "This is much better than the dentist's convention."

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