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Samantha Power

  • Molly Brady wearing a bright red jacket sits in front of a computer and teaches her class in Zoom

    2020 in pictures

    January 5, 2021

    A look back at the year at HLS.

  • Women & Leadership Fireside Chat featuring Ambassador Samantha Power

    December 17, 2020

    The Boston Globe's CEO, Linda Henry, chats with Samantha Power, Professor of Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet, for the second installment of The Boston Globe's Women and Leadership series.

  • The Can-Do Power

    November 20, 2020

    An op-ed by Samantha PowerEver since then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright memorably called the United States “indispensable” more than two decades ago, both Americans and publics abroad have vigorously debated the proposition. Today, as President Donald Trump’s term comes to a close, foreign observers of the United States are more prone to use a different word: “incompetent.” The Trump administration’s response to the most urgent problem in the world today—the coronavirus pandemic—has been worse than that of any other nation. This, in turn, has understandably tarnished perceptions of the United States: according to recent Pew Research Center polling conducted in 13 major economic powers, a median of 84 percent of respondents agreed that the United States has done a poor job of handling COVID-19—by far the most damning appraisal received by any major country or institution. Yet the mishandling of the pandemic is just the latest in a string of lapses in basic competence that have called into question U.S. capabilities among both long-standing allies and countries whose partnership Washington may seek in the years to come. A brand once synonymous with the world-changing creations of Steve Jobs, with feats of strength and ingenuity such as the Berlin airlift and the moon landing, and with the opportunity represented by the Statue of Liberty now projects chaos, polarization, and dysfunction.

  • Samantha Power: ‘Putin was denied’ interfering in the 2020 election

    November 19, 2020

    Samantha Power, the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, joins Lawrence O’Donnell to explain how foreign actors like Vladimir Putin were unable to “delegitimate the democratic process” through foreign interference in the 2020 election and why fired Trump admin. official Christopher Krebs “did such important work keeping the election straight.”

  • ‘Find the People Who Actually Want to Do Things.’ Samantha Power Remembers the Wise Words of Jean Kennedy Smith

    June 29, 2020

    An article by Samantha PowerIn 1944, two priests arrived at the Kennedy home to inform Joseph Kennedy Sr. and Rose Kennedy that their oldest son had been killed in World War II. Sixteen-year-old Jean, the eighth of their nine children, was devastated. After riding her bicycle to church to pray, she went next to the local hospital–to volunteer. Jean later recalled this as an obvious choice, asking, “What else could I do?” To spend time with Jean Kennedy Smith, who died on June 17 at 92, was to be bowled over by the sheer quantity of positive energy she brought to this world. When I saw her after I became U.S. ambassador to the U.N., she was firm (and wise) in her direction: “Don’t waste any time, and find the people who actually want to do things.” Conscious of her privilege, Jean dedicated much of her life to providing arts programming to children with disabilities. And whatever pain she carried inside, she projected a permanent twinkle and an eagerness to conspire. Her matchmaking gifts were legendary–she not only set up brothers John, Bobby and Teddy with their wives, but as ambassador to Ireland in the 1990s, she also convinced a skeptical Clinton Administration to work with shunned Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. In so doing, she made a significant contribution to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which would end the deadly conflict in Northern Ireland. Asked how she’d like to be remembered, she evoked Abraham Lincoln: “I have planted a rose where only thistles grew.” Jean Kennedy Smith did that and so much more.

  • ‘Deeply Unlawful’: Harvard Law School Faculty Condemn Trump’s Response to Police Brutality Protests

    June 8, 2020

    Members of the Harvard Law School faculty published an open letter to students and Harvard affiliates Monday criticizing President Donald J. Trump for calling for a military response to ongoing protests against police brutality. The letter received signatures from 160 faculty members, including former Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha J. Power. It was reopened for signatures on June 2 after requests from additional Law School teaching faculty and law librarians. The authors of the letter denounced a tweet posted by Trump on May 29 which included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in reference to nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. They argue the president’s language encourages violence by private citizens. “By legitimating lawless action by public officials, the President’s tweet invites other individuals to take similarly destructive action,” the letter reads. The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Law School professor Christine A. Desan, who worked on drafting the letter, said Trump’s tweet signified a commitment to using violence against citizens involved in the protest. She said she finds the message problematic since Trump speaks as the Commander in Chief of the Army. “We don't under our Constitution live in a society where even if somebody is stealing something they get shot,” she said. “To have him pledge to use excessive state violence against people indiscriminately is really unlawful — deeply unlawful.”

  • How the COVID-19 Era Will Change National Security Forever

    April 15, 2020

    An article by Samantha PowerSpeaking before the U.N. in 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, “Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize [our] common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.” Reagan’s focus was avoiding conflict between countries rather than within them, but the coronavirus must do the work of that alien invader, inspiring cooperation both across borders and across the aisle. History shows us that seismic events have the potential to unite even politically divided Americans behind common cause. In the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has already taken more than seven times the number of lives as terrorists did in the 9/11 attacks, but the outpouring of solidarity Americans have shown for one another has so far not translated into more unity over government’s proper role at home or America’s proper role abroad. Indeed, the virus struck in an era of the most virulent polarization ever recorded—an unprecedented 82-percentage point divide between Republicans’ and Democrats’ average job-approval ratings of President Trump. And so far that gap appears only to be widening, while internationally, political leaders are trading recriminations rather than coordinating the procurement of medical supplies.

  • This Won’t End for Anyone Until It Ends for Everyone

    April 8, 2020

    An article by Samantha PowerClose to 370,000 infections and nearly 11,000 deaths in the United States. Nearly 10 million Americans filing unemployment claims. Unimaginable heartbreak and hardship, with worse to come. Given this still-developing emergency, and the fatal inadequacy of the U.S. government’s domestic preparedness and response so far, it is very hard to focus on the devastation that is about to strike the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. But if President Trump doesn’t overcome his go-it-alone mind-set and take immediate steps to mobilize a global coalition to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, its spread will cause a catastrophic loss of life and make it impossible to restore normalcy in the United States in the foreseeable future. Covid-19 is poised to tear through poor, displaced and conflict-affected communities around the world. Three billion people are unable to wash their hands at home, making it impossible to follow sanitation protocols. Because clinics in these communities have few or no gloves, masks, coronavirus tests, ventilators (the entire country of South Sudan has four) or ability to isolate infected patients, the contagion will be exponentially more lethal than in the developed countries it is currently ravaging.

  • The courage and compassion of Catholic activist Dorothy Day

    March 10, 2020

    A book review by Samantha Power: In September 2015, in my capacity as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, I sat in the House chamber listening to Pope Francis deliver a joint address to Congress. In remarks that touched on religious fundamentalism, immigration and the death penalty, the pope said he intended “to dialogue” with Americans and their elected representatives. To do so, he drew on the lives of four national figures: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., the Catholic Trappist monk and writer Thomas Merton, and “servant of God” Dorothy Day, whom the pope hailed for “her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed.” When I heard Day’s name, I looked around the chamber, wondering if anybody else was struck that he had included her.

  • Former UN ambassador Samantha Power shares personal experiences, professional perspective

    February 28, 2020

    Samantha Power never imagined she would write a memoir. But Power, who served as United Nations ambassador under President Obama, told a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health audience on February 25, 2020 that she thought it was important to share her experiences—about being an immigrant from Ireland, her career, dealing with anxiety, romance, even baseball—and of what it was like trying to achieve major goals despite sometimes questioning her ability to do so. Speaking before a standing-room-only crowd in Kresge G1, Power said that she wished that more people—public officials, doctors, lawyers, or others—would open up more about what it’s like to try to improve the state of the world, because the process “is very shrouded from the outside. And that means you end up making all the mistakes the first time yourself. What I hope to do is spare people some of the many mistakes that I’ve made along the way.”

  • From the Streets of War-Torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room

    January 8, 2020

    Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, would tell you that one of the most pivotal moments of her career as a war reporter, diplomat, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author occurred during a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants.  It was the summer of 1989, and Power had just wrapped up her first year at Yale and was working in the video booth at a CBS station in Atlanta. While taking notes on the game, she suddenly found herself engrossed in another screen depicting tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square. Up until that point, Power told an audience of  more than seven hundred at Northeastern’s Boston campus Tuesday night, she had little interest in politics, and was considering a career in sports journalism. The Tiananmen Square protests changed all of that. “My epiphany was not ‘I’m going to one day be U.N. ambassador and be a human rights lawyer;’ it was nothing so grandiose,” Power said during an installment of Northeastern’s series, The Civic Experience. “It was simply maybe there’s more to life than sports.”

  • Samantha Power '99 standing outside her house in Boston

    The Journey of an Idealist

    January 7, 2020

    Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 reflects on her life and career in her new memoir "The Education of an Idealist."

  • On the Bookshelf: HLS Library Book Talks, Spring 2018 2

    On the Bookshelf: HLS Authors

    December 11, 2019

    This fall, the Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by Harvard Law School authors on topics ranging from forgiveness in law, transparency in health and fidelity in constitutional practice.

  • ‘Two terms of Donald Trump will not be twice the damage’: Samantha Power on her career – and life after Obama

    November 10, 2019

    “What I care above all about is ending the presidency of Donald Trump, not least because two terms of Donald Trump will not be twice the damage.”  Irish-American woman Samantha Power, who served as a UN ambassador, has had a long and storied career. ... I don’t know what the exponent is, but probably five times, 10 times the damage, so it’s weird that four plus four is not eight.”  Power went on to say she “just can’t even conceive of just the erosion of the rule of law and the corruption” under Trump.  She said that it’s “so incredibly important that people rally” during the upcoming campaigns, adding that this election is “going to be all about turnout more than it’s going to be about persuasion”.

  • If Warren wins, former UN ambassador Samantha Power says she wouldn’t ‘rule out’ a run for her Senate seat

    October 7, 2019

    Former UN ambassador Samantha Power said Friday she would not rule out running for the US Senate seat held by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, should Warren be elected president. Then again, she also said she wouldn’t rule out the job of Sox general manager, a job that’s actually open right now. Power, who lives in Concord, came to Providence Friday to promote her new memoir, “The Education of an Idealist.”

  • The Education of an Idealist: Samantha Power’s riveting insight into the Obama years

    September 30, 2019

    Diplomat, immigrant, journalist, mother. Samantha Power occupies many roles. Born in Dublin in 1970, she rose to become one of the most senior figures in the Obama administration, appointed US ambassador to the United Nations in 2013. She first emerged on the public scene with the publication of A Problem from Hell, a work inspired by her time as a war correspondent in the former Yugoslavia. The book is an intellectual tour de force, breathtaking in its analysis and argument, as it chronicles key episodes in 20th-century history exposing how the United States’ foreign-policy establishment stood by in the face of genocide. Although the book cemented her stardom – a young senator from Illinois called Barack Obama invited her to work for him after reading it – it also proved something of a poisoned chalice. Once she became a policymaker Power was bound to be scrutinised for her adherence, or otherwise, to the ideals she so passionately espoused in her book.

  • Running with Samantha Power

    September 27, 2019

    I SHOW UP at Samantha Power’s handsome clapboard house outside Concord, Massachusetts, a little after 8.30am, bleary-eyed and rather nervous. I have not merely arranged to interview Barack Obama’s former human-rights guru and ambassador to the UN. She has also suggested we run together. And having been up half the night reading Power’s doorstopper of a new memoir, a late arrival from its publisher, I am slightly dreading whatever workout she might have in mind. Almost as an aside in her book, “The Education of an Idealist”, she describes running the Boston marathon in her early 20s (for the first of several times). Her running mates wrote witty slogans on their T-shirts to draw shouts from the crowd. Fresh from a stint of war reporting in Bosnia, she wrote on hers: “Remember Srebrenica – 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys murdered”. Power is not to be taken lightly.

  • Education of an Idealist

    September 25, 2019

    Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 expressed both skepticism and hope for the current state of international affairs during a panel discussion of her new memoir "The Education of an Idealist."

  • When an idealistic Obama adviser bumped against real-world politics

    September 23, 2019

    A clashing array of cultural forces virtually assures a rough landing for Samantha Power’s memoir, “The Education of an Idealist.” Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her brilliant and controversial 2002 book “‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide,” managed a career move that has been causing problems for its practitioners since at least the days of Machiavelli: She moved from the theoretical worlds of academia and literature to the real-consequences world of diplomacy. “The Education of an Idealist” is both the story of that transformation and the next step in the process.

  • Samantha Power’s portrait of American diplomacy

    September 19, 2019

    In august 2013 a devastating chemical-weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs killed some 1,400 people. Faced with a clear breach of the red line he drew a year earlier, President Barack Obama had to decide what to do. He blinked. Rather than ordering reprisals against the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, he opted to ask for Congress’s permission first. And Congress, it turned out, was not keen. Samantha Power, Mr Obama’s new ambassador to the United Nations, faced a choice, too. She had spent her professional life arguing for a more assertive American response to atrocities. She believed her boss should punish this horrendous crime, and indeed earlier ones, with air strikes. Now her idealism confronted the complexities of government. Should she resign, as some critics urged her to do?

  • Former UN ambassador Samantha Power on why she has ‘nothing but respect’ for Joe Biden

    September 16, 2019

    In her new memoir, “Education of an Idealist,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning academic and diplomat Samantha Power describes the “immense warmth” of Joe Biden, whom she worked with during the Obama administration. Power, who served as Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, didn’t agree with Biden on every issue but had a good relationship with the then-vice president. “He was blunt and demonstrative. He could go on too long. But he seemed to see the value of each person he met, irrespective of their status,” she wrote. In a new interview, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer asked Power whether she’s supporting Biden’s presidential bid. Widely considered the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination, Biden had the highest favorability rating among Democrats, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. “I'm not in the endorsement business. But I have great affection for Vice President Biden,” said Power, who’s currently a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

  • Notes On Modern Idealism

    September 13, 2019

    How should American leaders use their power on the global stage? Former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power spent her career in journalism and diplomacy contemplating this question. Her new memoir is called “The Education of an Idealist.” We hear from her, and we also speak with Raj Kumar. Kumar has worked on “researching and writing about aid interventions in the developing world,” throughout his life, according to Vox., and is the president of Devex, a media platform for people and organizations working in global development. How much foreign interference is too much? How can more economically powerful countries best assist those that are still developing? And should they? We talk about those questions and more. Guests: Samantha Power, Professor of Practice in Human Rights, Harvard Law School; former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; author of “The Education of an Idealist”; @SamanthaJPower. Raj Kumar, Founding president and editor-in-chief of Devex; author of “The Business of Changing the World”;

  • Samantha Power with a journalist and a friend interviewing a group of Bosnian military officers.

    Like a fish out of a war zone

    September 11, 2019

    In an excerpt from her just-released memoir, Samantha Power recalls her experience going from Balkans war correspondent to Law School student — and her stumbles along the way.

  • Like a fish out of a war zone

    September 10, 2019

    An article by Samantha Power:  From the moment I arrived at Harvard Law School in late August of 1995, I feared I wouldn’t last. During the nearly two years I had just spent as a war correspondent in the Balkans, I found myself imagining how gratifying it would be to learn the law and pursue the arrest of Balkan war criminals as a prosecutor at The Hague. But as I struggled to adjust to my new life back in the United States, all I could think about was the place I had left behind. The day before law school began, I had loaded up a Ryder truck in Brooklyn with two suitcases, a bicycle, and my laptop, and driven toward Boston. Just as I reached the city, NPR cut into its radio program with a breaking news bulletin: “NATO air action around Sarajevo is under way.” By my second week at HLS, U.S. air strikes had broken the siege of Sarajevo and brought the Bosnian war to an end.

  • Samantha Power: ‘To fall flat in such a public way and to have no job … I was a wandering person’

    September 8, 2019

    Harvard Square in high summer is crisscrossed with tourists, but inside the university all is serene. Those academics who stay behind to work can enjoy the empty seminar rooms, loose deadlines and short queues at the cafeteria.  Samantha Power used to dread such periods of calm. The former US ambassador to the United Nations, and foreign policy and human rights adviser to Barack Obama, was afflicted for most of her adult life with intense anxiety attacks that left her unable to catch her breath, as well as inexplicable but excruciating back pain. ... The panic attacks persisted in the rare lulls during the hectic years of her stellar career that followed. At 48, Power has now written a memoir, The Education of an Idealist, that charts not only her steep upward trajectory, but also her excavation of her Irish immigrant roots, where the clues to her bouts of breathlessness and pain lay hidden. She doesn’t believe in neat ideas of “closure” – “There’s no moment where you just tie a bow around that stuff” – but she has noticed that since burrowing into her childhood, the demons have remained largely at bay.

  • Samantha Power: “It’s going to be very hard to recover” from Trump era

    September 8, 2019

    Former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power says President Donald Trump has threatened America's leadership in the world, and that it will be very hard for our nation to recover from his presidency. ... "We've had a president who's walked away from our alliances; cozied up to regimes that  don't respect human rights, for reasons that makes very little sense; and unfortunately attacked institutions that make us very strong at home, and not taken pride in our diversity and indeed kind of shunned it," Power told "CBS This Morning" on Friday. "It's going to be very hard to recover from this period in American history. But there's a hunger out in the world, and there's a need on behalf of the American people, to do so."

  • Can an uncompromising activist keep her integrity while working in the White House?

    September 6, 2019

    Samantha Power has always had a self-righteous streak. She freely admits the “certitude” and “sanctimony” of her younger self. After a few years as a correspondent covering the Bosnian war, she found that her new Harvard Law School classmates didn’t know or care about the genocide unfolding there, so she stuffed a New York Times report on the Srebrenica massacre into every first-year’s mailbox. Her scholarship and activism on that topic culminated in “A Problem From Hell,” her incredible 2002 history of American apathy during the 20th century’s worst ethnic conflicts. The Pulitzer Prize-winning tome held that officials justified noninterference when even minimal efforts, from public shaming to sanctions, could have saved countless lives. “Decent men and women chose to look away,” she wrote. Power was, in this antediluvian period, a voice of piercing moral clarity. Then she went to work for Barack Obama. During her stints with him in the Senate, on the presidential campaign and inside the White House, pundits and critics wondered how the human rights advocate would reconcile her belief that America must act to protect vulnerable people with the dirty business of policymaking, where concessions taint every action. She finally answers in “The Education of an Idealist,” her new memoir.

  • ‘Pretend You Are Fox News’: The former UN ambassador recalls the moment President Obama asked her to serve

    September 5, 2019

    An article by Samantha Power:  Flying back to the United States from Asia on Air Force One in late November 2012, President Barack Obama was in high spirits. He had recently been reelected, and had just concluded a widely celebrated visit to Myanmar (also known as Burma)—the first ever  by a sitting U.S. president. The trip had almost fallen apart at the last minute, when it became clear that the military government was balking at reforms that were supposed to have been in place by the time Obama arrived. A few days before he departed Washington for Asia, the president dispatched me to Myanmar with instructions to lock down our desired terms before he landed, and over three bruising days of negotiations, I did so. The final agreement included a large release of political prisoners, a commitment to allow access for humanitarian workers to war-torn ethnic areas, and permission for critics of the Burmese dictatorship to return from exile or, if living in Myanmar, to travel outside the country. During the 20-hour journey back to Washington, Obama summoned me to his personal cabin on Air Force One and asked me what job I hoped for in his second term. My husband, Cass Sunstein, had just left the White House after three and a half years as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He was now commuting between our home in Washington and a small rental apartment near Harvard Law School, where he had resumed teaching. I did not want to leave government, but after serving as Obama’s multilateral-affairs and human-rights adviser on the National Security Council since January 2009, I was ready to try something new.

  • The Fog of Intervention

    September 4, 2019

    Let’s say it’s January 2021, and President Bernie Sanders has just assumed office. On his second day as commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in world history, Bernie and his foreign policy team are ushered into the White House Situation Room. After being seated at a long wooden table, a group of diplomats and military officers informs Bernie that armed militants in the Central African Republic have placed artillery around a town and are threatening to bombard its 10,000 inhabitants. The townspeople have requested that the United States destroy the weapons and save their lives. What should Bernie do? For Samantha Power, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during Barack Obama’s second term, this really is no question at all: You eliminate the weapons. Power has dedicated her life to promoting humanitarian intervention—the idea that the United States, as the world’s “indispensable nation,” has the moral duty to use its awesome military capabilities to prevent or halt atrocities.

  • Samantha Power headshot

    Ambassador Samantha Power appointed the William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School

    July 3, 2019

    Diplomat, academic, and human rights advocate Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 has been appointed William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School. She has served as Professor of Practice at HLS since 2017.

  • Places we love

    May 22, 2019

    People from the Harvard community share their favorite spots on campus. ... Samantha Power, Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School: There is no more peaceful place for me around campus than sitting at the bar at Charlie’s, drinking a pint and eating grilled cheese as I watch the Red Sox game. ... Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law; faculty director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice; co-director of Harvard Law School’s Program in Law and History; and professor of history, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University: I love the sunken garden in Radcliffe Yard. It’s so beautiful and peaceful and brings to mind happy times.

  • Photo of Radhika Kapoor

    Radhika Kapoor: ‘I want to be able to help develop transitional justice norms’

    May 21, 2019

    Radhika Kapoor LL.M. ’19 came to HLS to take advantage of Harvard’s institutional expertise in international law, humanitarian law and post-conflict stability—and to foster her love of reading.

  • Samantha Power headshot

    Samantha Power on Rwanda after 25 years: What was learned, what was forgotten

    April 5, 2019

    In a recent Q&A, Professor of Practice Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and author of the Pulitzer-prize winning 'A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,' reflects on the tragedy in Rwanda and the lessons learned—and not learned—since.

  • health app illustration

    Faculty Books in Brief: Winter 2019

    January 29, 2019

    With the increased use of a massive volume and variety of data in our lives, our health care will inevitably be affected, note the editors of a new collection, one of the recent faculty books captured in this section.

  • Samantha Power headshot

    Samantha Power to receive 2019 Moynihan Prize in Social Science and Public Policy

    January 24, 2019

    The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) has announced that Ambassador Samantha Power '99, diplomat, academic, and human rights advocate, will receive the 2019 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize in Social Science and Public Policy.

  • A Spymaster Steps Out of the Shadows

    July 2, 2018

    ...“It was important that someone with John [Brennan]’s counterterrorism credentials threw his weight behind Obama,” says Samantha Power, who later served as Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Obama was seen by some as a community organizer who had been on the Hill for all of five minutes. John was a validator with real street cred in the national-security community.”

  • Cass Sunstein at a podium

    Honoring ‘a Towering Intellect’ and ‘a Good Man’

    June 26, 2018

    Cass Sunstein ’78, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University and renowned legal scholar and behavioral economist, received the prestigious Holberg Prize at the University of Bergen, Norway, on June 6.

  • A State of Danger?

    A State of Danger?

    June 25, 2018

    "It Can't Happen Here," the novel by Sinclair Lewis written in the 1930s as fascism was rising in Europe, imagines an America overtaken by an authoritarian regime. The new book edited by Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein ’78, "Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America" (Dey Street Books), does not predict the same fate. Yet the contributors—several also affiliated with Harvard Law—take seriously the possibility that it could happen here, despite the safeguards built into the American system of government.

  • In Norway, a Nod to Nudging

    ‘One of the great intellectuals of our time’: Sunstein honored with Holberg Prize

    June 6, 2018

    Cass Sunstein ’78, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University and renowned legal scholar and behavioral economist, received the prestigious Holberg Prize at the University of Bergen, Norway, on June 6.

  • A Teenager Starting Over in Canada

    May 16, 2018

    An op-ed by Samantha Power. When I met Ibraheem in 2014, he had already endured more as a 12-year-old than most of us could ever imagine: the terror of Assad’s barrel bombs, the loss of his mother and four siblings, and the trauma of being carried in his father’s arms on a desperate, eight-month search for medical help, which brought him to the refugee center in Jordan where we sat together one afternoon. Four years later, after the filmmakers of this short documentary shared it with me, I am struck not just by the confident young man he has become — walking the halls of his new high school, calling out answers in class — but also by the clarity and determination in his heart: “We went out against our will, and we shall return with our hope.”

  • How baseball will survive in the age of distraction

    April 27, 2018

    A book review by Samantha Power. When avid fans describe their love of baseball — and here I include myself, as well as Susan Jacoby, the author of “Why Baseball Matters” — we do so with a kind of reverence that, while wholly sincere, can often sound ridiculous. I associate my deep attachment with immigrating to the United States from Dublin in 1979 and landing in Pittsburgh on the eve of the Willie Stargell-led Pirates’ glorious playoff run. As I practiced an American accent in the mirror, I quickly understood the currency I would acquire if I could rattle off RBI, ERA and batting average statistics with the speed of the boys who lived on our block. Play ball!

  • Samantha Power: How Mike Pompeo Could Save the State Department

    March 14, 2018

    An op-ed by Samantha Power. Two days after the 2016 presidential election, I held a town hall at the United States Mission to the United Nations. American diplomats were in shock; the president-elect had pledged to undo much of what we had helped achieve internationally...Many of them, along with some of our most capable diplomats, have since left government. Ridiculed as “Obama holdovers” and unable to defend policies that depart so markedly from American interests, our diplomatic corps has been hollowed out. If Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., wins confirmation as Rex Tillerson’s replacement as secretary of state, fixing this would become his responsibility.

  • Samantha Power: The world in her rearview mirror

    January 25, 2018

    Author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. But clearly, he never met Samantha Power. Part jet-setting diplomat, part sneaker-clad advocate, the Harvard human-rights champion and scholar first shot to fame in 2003, when she won a Pulitzer Prize for her book on genocide, “A Problem from Hell.”...More than eight years later, Power has returned to Harvard as the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at HKS and professor of practice at Harvard Law School.

  • Samantha Power: The world in her rearview mirror

    Samantha Power: The world in her rearview mirror

    January 25, 2018

    F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. But clearly, he never met Samantha Power '99, who, after eight years in the White House, has returned to Harvard as the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at HKS and professor of practice at HLS.

  • Obama National Security Team: ‘There’s no backstop’ in the White House (video)

    January 24, 2018

    Filmmaker Greg Barker was granted access to President Obama's White House for a new documentary "The Final Year." Chuck sits down with Barker, Ambassador Samantha Power and former Dep. National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

  • Samantha Power Speaks at Advance Screening of Obama Documentary

    November 30, 2017

    Barker was speaking at an advance screening of his documentary “The Final Year"—which chronicles foreign policy initiatives in the last year of Barack Obama’s presidential administration—at the Harvard Art Museums on Wednesday night. The screening was followed by a question-and-answer session with Barker and former United Nations ambassador Samantha J. Power. The documentary, set to be released on Jan. 19, 2018, follows Obama and several of his senior officials, including Power, who is currently a professor of global leadership and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and professor of practice at the Harvard Law School...“We need to draw people into public service and government,” Power said. She also encouraged young people and Harvard students to consider entering the foreign service.

  • Professors and government officials: Samantha Power and Harold Koh

    Professors and government officials: Samantha Power and Harold Koh

    November 2, 2017

    Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 and Yale Law School Professor Harold Koh ’80 discussed what it means to be professors and former government officials, as part of Harvard Law School's bicentennial celebration on Oct 27.