|Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs|
January 29, 2009
|Preceded by||Position established|
September 21, 1970 |
|Alma mater||Yale University
Samantha Power (born September 21, 1970) is an Irish American academic, governmental official and writer. She is currently a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights as Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council. She is also the Founding Executive Director and the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Power began her career by covering the Yugoslav Wars as a journalist, and was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book A Problem from Hell, a study of the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide. She was originally a senior adviser to Obama until March 2008 when she resigned from his presidential campaign under controversy. After rejoining the Obama State Department transition team in late November 2008, she was named to her position in the new administration. Power is considered to be perhaps the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.
Power was born in Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland and emigrated to the United States in 1979. She attended Lakeside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was a member of the cross country team and the basketball team. She subsequently graduated from Yale University.
When she returned to the United States, she attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1999. Her first book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, grew out of a paper she wrote in law school. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize in 2003. It offers a survey of the origin of the word genocide, the major genocides of the 20th century, as well as an analysis of some of the underlying reasons for the persistent failure of governments and the international community to collectively identify, recognize and then respond effectively to genocides ranging from the Armenian Genocide to the Rwandan Genocide. This work and related writings have been criticized by the historian Howard Zinn for downplaying the importance of "unintended" and "collateral" civilian deaths that could be classified as genocidal; and by Edward S. Herman and Joseph Nevins
A scholar of foreign policy especially as it relates to human rights, genocide, and AIDS, she is currently the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In 2004, Power was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 top scientists and thinkers of that year. In fall 2007, she began writing a regular column for Time. Power appears in Charles Ferguson's 2007 documentary, No End in Sight, which alleges numerous missteps by the Bush administration in the U.S. war in Iraq.
Power spent 2005–06 working in the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama as a foreign policy fellow, where she was credited with sparking and directing Obama's interest in the Darfur conflict. She served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign until she was forced to resign for referring to Hillary Clinton as "a monster". Power apologized for the remarks made in an interview with The Scotsman in London, and resigned from the campaign shortly thereafter.
Her second book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World was released on February 14, 2008. It concerns Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations Special Representative in Iraq who was killed in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad along with Jean-Sélim Kanaan, Nadia Younes, Fiona Watson, and other members of his staff, on the afternoon of August 19, 2003. The book was the basis for the documentary film Sergio, directed by Greg Barker and edited by Karen Schmeer.
Personal life 
Alongside her advocacy for Barack Obama's candidacy, Power is best known for her efforts to increase public awareness of genocide and human rights abuses, particularly in the Darfur conflict. In 2006, she contributed to Screamers, a movie about the Darfur, Armenian, and other genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries. Power has become a leading voice calling for armed intervention into humanitarian crisis situations.
Her advocacy of humanitarian intervention has been criticized for being tendentious and militaristic, for answering a "problem from hell" with a "solution from hell."
Power has been accused by a number of conservative publications, such as FrontPage Magazine, of being hostile towards the state of Israel. This due to comments such as the New York Times being insufficiently critical of Israel, and advocating that American send armed military forces, "a mammoth protection force" and an "external intervention", to impose a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. In an interview with Haaretz, Power discussed her views and past statements on Israel and insisted that she takes threats to Israel's security (such as the potential nuclearization of Iran) very seriously.
2008 presidential campaign 
Power was an early and outspoken supporter of Barack Obama. When she joined the Obama campaign as a foreign policy advisor, Men's Vogue described her as a "Harvard brainiac who can boast both a Pulitzer Prize and a mean jump shot (ask George Clooney). Now the consummate outsider is working on her inside game: D.C. politics." 
In August 2007 Power authored a memo titled "Conventional Washington versus the Change We Need," in which she provided one of the first comprehensive statements of Obama's approach to foreign policy. In the memo she writes: "Barack Obama's judgment is right; the conventional wisdom is wrong. We need a new era of tough, principled and engaged American diplomacy to deal with 21st century challenges."
In February and March 2008, Power began an international book tour to promote her book, Chasing the Flame. Because of her involvement in the Obama campaign, many of the interviews she gave revolved around her and Barack Obama's foreign-policy views, as well as the 2008 campaign.
On February 21, Power appeared on Charlie Rose and compared Barack Obama to Sergio Vieira de Mello, who is the subject of Chasing the Flame. "This would be Sergio's lesson: if you are not thinking in terms of both dignity and freedom from fear, and this is the other thing Obama has come back to, the old Rooseveltian idea. Obama has tried to run a campaign that moves us out of the politics of fear. He is also very sensitive to the degree to which, and Sergio uses this line, 'fear is a bad adviser.' This is a line that could have come out of Obama's mouth, though happened to come out of Sergio's mouth. We make bad judgments when we are afraid."
Power appeared on BBC's HARDtalk on March 6, stating that Barack Obama's pledge to "have all U.S. combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months" was a "best case scenario" that "he will revisit when he becomes president." Challenged by the host as to whether this contradicted Obama's campaign commitment, she responded, "You can’t make a commitment in March 2008 about what circumstances will be like in January 2009.... He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. He will rely upon a plan — an operational plan — that he pulls together in consultation with people who are on the ground to whom he doesn’t have daily access now, as a result of not being the president."  She concluded by saying that "what we can take seriously is that he will try to get U.S. forces out of Iraq as quickly and responsibly as possible."
In a March 6 interview with The Scotsman, she said: "We fucked up in Ohio. In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win". "She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything... if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."
Power apologized for the remark on the night of the March 6 interview, saying that they "do not reflect my feelings about Sen. Clinton, whose leadership and public service I have long admired." The next day, in the wake of reaction to the remarks, she resigned from the Obama campaign.  Soon afterward, the Weekly Standard said that it "might have been the most ill-starred book tour since the invention of movable type."
Following her resignation, she also appeared on The Colbert Report on March 17, 2008, saying, "can I just clarify and say, I don't think Hillary Clinton is a monster...we have three amazing candidates left in the race." When Power later joined the State Department transition team, an official close to the transition said Power had apologized and that her "gesture to bury the hatchet" with Clinton had been well received. Power attended Clinton's swearing-in ceremony on February 2.
Obama administration 
In January 2009 President Obama appointed Power to the National Security Council Staff, where she serves as a Special Assistant to the President and runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights.
On February 4, 2013, Power announced she is leaving her post.
Advocate for military-intervention in Libya 
Samantha Power is considered to be the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya. Power argues that America has a moral obligation to intervene, if necessarily militarily, in order to prevent genocides. Within the White House, Power strongly pressed for U.S. intervention on humanitarian grounds. She has been described as instrumental in convincing Obama to push for a UN Security Council resolution to authorize a coalition military force to protect Libyan civilians. Power has previously argued that "you don't get any extra credit for doing the right thing". "It's up to us" to change that calculus, she said. "My prescription," she said, "would be that the level of American and international engagement would ratchet up commensurate with the abuse on the ground."
- Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008) ISBN 1-59420-128-5
- A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2003) ISBN 0-06-054164-4
- Realizing Human Rights : Moving from Inspiration to Impact (coeditor, 2000) ISBN 0-312-23494-5
- "The Enforcer: A Christian Lawyer's Global Crusade," The New Yorker, January 19, 2009
- "Rethinking Iran," Time Magazine, January 17, 2008.
- "Access Denied," Time Magazine, September 27, 2007.
- "The Void: Why the Movement Needs Help," New Republic, May 15, 2006.
- "Punishing Evildoers," Washington Post, April 23, 2006.
- Abramowitz, Morton, and Power, Samantha. "Democrats: Get Loud, Get Angry!" Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2006.
- "Missions," New Yorker, November 28, 2005.
- "Talk of the Town: Boltonism," New Yorker, March 21, 2005.
- "A Reporter at Large: Dying in Darfur," New Yorker, August 30, 2004.
- "How To Kill A Country," Atlantic Monthly, December, 2003.
- "Bystanders to Genocide," Atlantic Monthly, September, 2001.
- Power archive from The New York Review of Books
- Human Rights and Imperialism David Rieff Interview
- Still Crusading, but Now on the InsideNew York Times, SHERYL GAY STOLBERG Published: March 29, 2011
- Sheehy, Clodagh (November 29, 2008). "welcome: IRISHwoman who resigned is back on obama's team after labelling hillary a 'monster'". Evening Herald (Dublin). Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project winners". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Zinn, Howard (August 21, 2007). "On Terror". ZNet. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Herman, Edward (August 27, 2007). "Response to Zinn on Samantha Power". ZNet. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Nevins, Joseph (May 20, 2002). "Review of "A Problem from Hell"". The Nation. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- "TIME 100: Samantha Power". Time. April 19, 2003. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama", Rolling Stone
- Peev, Gerri, "'Hillary Clinton's a monster': Obama aide blurts out attack in Scotsman interview", Scotsman, 07 March 2008
- Cara Buckley (2008-03-16). "A Monster of a Slip". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Anne Lucey (2008-07-04). "From campaigns to champagne as friends of Obama tie the knot". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- "New Baby for New D.C. Power Couple". The Washington Post.
- Gott, Richard (January 17, 2007). "Britain's vote to end its slave trade was a precursor to today's liberal imperialism". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Stephen Wertheim, "A solution from hell: the United States and the rise of humanitarian interventionism, 1991–2003," Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 12, No. 3-4, 2010.
- Saved from Durban II, Joseph Klein, Frontpage Magazine, March 02, 2009.
- American Thinker: Samantha Power and Obama's Foreign Policy Team, American Thinker February 19, 2008.
- Obama`s top adviser says does not believe in imposing a peace settlement by Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz, August 27, 2008.
- Samantha Power, the outsider with a jump shot, is working on her inside game: D.C. politics: Crime + Politics: mensvogue.com
- "Campaign Memo: "Barack Obama Was Right"". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "A conversation with Samantha Power". Charlie Rose. February 21, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Issues: Iraq - Obama'08 (campaign web site)
- HARDtalk: Samantha Power - BBC News: Programmes 2008-03-06
- Power on Obama's Iraq plan: "best case scenario" - Politico: Ben Smith (weblog) 2008-03-07
- "Hillary Clinton's a monster': Obama aide blurts out attack in Scotsman interview" - The Scotsman 2008-03-06
- Political Punch
- 'Obama aide forced out for calling Clinton "a monster"'
- "Power Outage", Weekly Standard, March 17, 2008
- Lee, Matthew (January 29, 2009). "Samantha Power Returns: Professor Who Slammed Clinton Will Be Obama Aide". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Lee, Matthew (November 28, 2008). "Samantha Power Working On Obama's State Department Transition Team". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "Samantha Power '99 to join National Security Council". Harvard Law School. January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "Libya interventionist Samantha Power leaving White House". The Hill. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- Samantha Power Brings Activist Role Inside to Help Persuade Obama on Libyabloomberg.com, Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Hans Nichols - Mar 25, 2011
- Samantha Power: The voice behind Obama's Libya action Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers, Miami Herald, Friday, 03.25.11
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Samantha Power|
- Bio, from Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
- Power's profile at Harvard
- Samantha Power: Biography | PBS
- A League Of Her Own- Profile story from Men's Vogue
- Fun Couple of the 21st Century - Profile story from Esquire on Power and Cass Sunstein
- Samantha Power in conversation with Azar Nafisi at LIVE from the New York Public Library, February 21, 2008
- Interview on Sudan for guernicamag.com
- Interview at Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
- Interview at IdentityTheory.com
- Interview with Harry Kreisler on Conversations with History about "Genocide and U.S. Foreign Policy
- Speech (Video) "Can Genocide Be Stopped in an Age of Terror?" Keynote address for the Witnessing Genocide Symposium, University of Oregon, April 28, 2007
- Interview with The Scotsman, that led to Ms. Power's resignation from the Obama campaign and apology.
- Interview in 02138 on Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World, the purpose of the United Nations and Barack Obama
- Interview about Chasing the Flame on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, February 22, 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
- "Debate on U.S. Actions in the Balkans, the Independence of Kosovo, the Iraq Sanctions and Humanitarian Intervention": Samantha Power vs. Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now!, February 22, 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
- Interview for New Statesman on 6 March 2008.
- Review of Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira De Mello and the Fight to Save the World by Sara Arrow in The Current, a Columbia University journal
- Facing History and Ourselves: Facing History and Ourselves
- Booknotes interview with Samantha Power on A Problem From Hell, June 16, 2002.