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Samantha Power

Friday, August 28, 2020
10:45am EDT

Location CHQ Assembly Video Platform

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"America's Role in International Engagement and Leadership"

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is a leading voice internationally for principled American engagement in the world. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author twice selected as one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People,” Power has been called “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy” by President Barack Obama. Power is currently a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School. Her latest New York Times bestseller, The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir, chronicles her journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official while providing unique insights into contemporary geopolitics and her experiences in public service.

Power spent half of her career explaining complex geopolitical events, and then eight years helping to shape them in the Obama administration, serving first as President Obama’s human rights advisor from 2009 to 2013 and then, from 2013 to 2017, as the youngest-ever US Ambassador to the UN. At the UN, Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, supported President Obama’s path-breaking actions to end the Ebola crisis, and helped advance LGBT and women’s rights on the international stage. Drawing on her experiences as a journalist, an activist, and a diplomat, Power discusses national security and foreign policy, the importance of leadership, and the future of human rights. As she examines the state of the world, she intersperses her speeches with up-to-date facts and in-depth research on current events.

Named as one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers”  and called “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy” by Forbes when it selected her as one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” Power’s book, "A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. The New Republic praised it as “Nothing less than a masterwork of contemporary journalism…An angry, brilliant, fiercely useful, absolutely essential book.”

Power is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World (2008) and the co-editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). Her most recent book, The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (2019), was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Todaybestseller, and was selected as one of the best books of 2019 by outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, National Public Radio, and TIME.

Before joining the U.S. government, Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a columnist for TIME, and a National Magazine Award-winning contributor to the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books. Beginning her career as a journalist, Power reported from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

At the age of nine, she immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

*Please note that Amb. Power was previously scheduled to deliver a lecture on Friday, July 17, as part of Chautauqua’s week on “Art and Democracy.”  

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