Diplomat, academic, and human rights advocate Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 has been appointed the William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Power has served as Professor of Practice at HLS since 2017. She is also the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, where she previously served as the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
“Ambassador Power has left a deep imprint on international human rights through her scholarship, her teaching, and her tireless public service advancing human dignity around the world,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85. “She is an outstanding exemplar for our students and others and an ideal person to hold the Zabel Chair.”
“I am immensely proud to be associated with Bill’s lifetime of work on behalf of human rights and human dignity,” said Power. “Bill’s achievements over a storied and consequential career—from his contributions to the advancement of civil rights as a young lawyer to helping build Human Rights First—are an inspiration, as well as a testament to his unparalleled commitment to serving others.”
Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, and was a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet. Obama has called her “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” and she has been recognized for her efforts to end conflicts and prevent humanitarian crises. At the U.N., she rallied member nations to oppose Russian military aggression in Ukraine, negotiated sanctions against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped build new law to cripple ISIS’s financial networks, and supported Obama’s pathbreaking actions to curb the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
From 2009 to 2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the president and senior director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, where she focused on issues including atrocity prevention, U.N. reform, LGBT and women’s rights, and the prevention of human trafficking.
Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from around the world in conflict and post- conflict regions. She has been a columnist for TIME and a contributor to the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books. Her book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” won the Pulitzer Prize. Power is also author of the New York Times bestseller “Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World” (2008) and was the co-editor, with Derek Chollet, of “The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World” (2011). Her next book, “The Education of an Idealist,” will be published by Harper Collins in September 2019.
She was recently named the 2019 winner of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize, which she will receive at an awards ceremony in October of this year.
Power immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland when she was nine and went on to earn a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.