Madeleine Albright

Today we reveal the correct answer to last month's competition question and announce the names of the four lucky winners. We quote from answers from: Steven Karafiat, Paul Peacock, Henrik Klemetz, Christine Takaguchi-Coates, Radiant Didla, John Sheppard, Konstantin Liviu Viorel, Bob Boundy, Jonathan Murphy, David Wright, David Eldridge, Alex Vaz, Elamir Ghattas, Mogire Machuki, Mark Zubik, Michael Ratel.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. Today it's time to announce the winners of last month's listeners' competition and also a new question for the month of November.

Before we get down to business I would like to remind you that only one answer from a particular listener qualifies each time. No matter how many answers you send from one e-mail address, your chance of winning does not increase. In the case of listeners' clubs, we would very much appreciate if every member could write their own answer - it's not very interesting to get twenty or - even 75- answers with the same wording and layout only signed by different names and a PO Box.

Also, I'm afraid to say that it has become very common that some participants simply copy the answer from Wikipedia or some other internet source, often complete with the hypertext links. It does not disqualify you from our competition but there is a problem if we want to quote from those letters on the air and on our website because it can be viewed as a copyright infringement. But enough of that and let's get to your answers to the question "Which US Secretary of State was born in Prague?"

Steven Karafiat from Canada writes:

"The answer to this month's quiz question is none other than the first woman to hold the position of secretary of state - Madeleine Korbel Albright."

Paul Peacock from Australia adds:

"She was born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague on May 5th 1937, the daughter of a Czech diplomat, her future in politics already in her veins."

Henrik Klemetz from Sweden has this to say:

"Her life appears to be marked by strangely recurrent 20-year cycles: born in Prague in 1937, she became a US citizen 20 years later in 1957, and 2 times 20 years later, in 1997, she was named US Secretary of State. Mrs. Albright's sense of humor has been noted on many occasions. Asked what was the main difference between a male and a female Secretary of State she said, make-up, 'because you either can have a tired old man or a tired old woman, but with make-up'."

Christine Takaguchi-Coates from Japan:

"The Albright back story is a publisher's dream: child of asylum seekers wins Ivy League scholarship, marries heir to newspaper dynasty, sacrifices career for children, suffers shocking divorce, gets stuck into politics and - who knew? - at the age of 54, becomes the highest ever appointed woman in American government. Then she finds out she isn't Catholic, as her parents led her to believe, but Jewish, and her grandparents died in the Holocaust..."

Radiant Didla from Lithuania has this to say:

Madeleine Albright in the Czech Radio Studios
"She was the first female Secretary of State and fluent in seven languages. Also, her father, Mr. Korbel, taught the current Secretary of State Ms. Rice. I was in the United States when she was selected by President Bill Clinton to be the 64th US Secretary of State. But some of the news channels broadcast that she is from Yugoslavia and came to the US at the age of 5. That stuck in mind and until this moment I thought for sure she is from Yugoslavia. "

John Sheppard from England explains, among other things, Mrs Albright's Yugoslav connection.

"She later took the name Madeleine, reportedly because her grandmother used to call her Madlenka. Her family came to London in 1939 and after the war moved to Belgrade, where her father, Josef Korbel, served as Czechoslovak ambassador to Yugoslavia. In 1948 they moved to the USA. In May 1959 she married and took her husband's surname, Albright. Vaclav Havel talked openly about the possibility of her succeeding him as president after he retired in 2002."

Konstantin Liviu Viorel from Romania adds:

"After her retirement on January 20th, 2001 she published her memoirs, Madam Secretary (2003), The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006)."

Bob Boundy from New Zealand sent us some up-to-date information.

"She currently serves as the Mortara Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University."

Jonathan Murphy from Ireland mentioned that Mrs Albright had been interviewed by Radio Prague in the past. And so did David Wright from South Wales:

"This was an easy one, partly because [Mrs. Albright] has been mentioned frequently on Radio Prague over the years, and has even been into the studio there I believe! My memory of her from that time is that she was seen as being a good influence on the U.S. government."

David Eldridge from England does not share the view.

"Concerning her political career, the entry on her curriculum vitae that she was United States Secretary of State from January 23, 1997 to January 19, 2001 indicates that it is likely to be difficult to find much positive that can be said about her. I am sure some of your US listeners will have a go at doing that.

When he was still Czech President, Vaclav Havel, a particular admirer of US military might and repression, campaigned openly for Madeleine Albright to be his successor when he retired from office."

Alex Vaz from India says in his answer:

"Madeleine Albright brings a rare combination of excellent training, experience at the highest level of diplomacy and obvious intelligence to her task. It's a shame that Americans have to employ a Czech or for that matter any other nationality."

Elamir Ghattas from Florida writes:

"She is an excellent gift from Prague to Washington, DC. May the Lord bless her always. We are proud of her for the great job she did for the whole world."

Mark Schiefelbein from the United States:

"Besides her Czech roots, it is also largely forgotten that she is by far the highest-ranking US official ever to visit North Korea."

Mogire Machuki from Kenya writes:

"The former US Secretary of State born in Prague is Madeleine Albright who is a real close friend of [former] Czech President Vaclav Havel."

Mark Zubik from the United States:

"She is none other than Marie Jana Korbelová, or as she is better known, Madeleine Albright. Not only the first Czech-American Secretary of State, but the first female as well."

Michael Ratel from the United States wanted to share an interesting detail with us.

"Since that was an easy question I am certain that you have 1000 correct answers. Here is a bit of Madeleine Albright trivia you probably do not know. Ms. Albright was present during a performance of the Plastic People of the Universe at the Black Cat in Washington DC. The Black Cat is a rock music night club and is not used to hosting such dignitaries. She left before the band finished."

The October question really proved very easy as we got a record number of answers. But we only have prizes for four of you. This time the winners are: John Sheppard from England, Bob Boundy from New Zealand, Helmut Matt from Germany and Mark Zubik from the United States. Congratulations and your Radio Prague goodies are in the post!

Our November question will be easy as well. We would like to know the name of the German industrialist, born in what is now the Czech Republic, who was honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel in 1963 as one of the Righteous among the Nations for his actions during WWII.

We are expecting your answers as usual at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic.