Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations
The 2019 Borah Symposium Keynote speaker is Samantha Power, a British-born Irish American academic, author, political critic and diplomat who served as the 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.
Power began her career as a war correspondent covering the Yugoslav Wars. From 1998 to 2002, she served as the Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she later became the first Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy. She was a senior adviser to Senator Barack Obama until March 2008.
Power joined the Obama State Department transition team in late November 2008. She served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council from January 2009 to February 2013. In April 2012, Obama chose her to chair a newly formed Atrocities Prevention Board. During her tenure, Power's office focused on such issues as United Nations reform, women's rights and LGBT rights, religious freedom and religious minorities, refugees, human trafficking, human rights, and democracy, including in the Middle East and North Africa, Sudan, and Myanmar. She is considered to have been a key figure in the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya. In 2016, she was listed as the 41st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Power is a subject of the 2014 documentary Watchers of the Sky, which explains the contribution of several notable people, including Power, to the cause of genocide prevention. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, a study of the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide. She has also been awarded the 2015 Barnard Medal of Distinction and the 2016 Henry A. Kissinger Prize. Her biography: The Education of an Idealist is scheduled to release in September, 2019.