Samantha Power

Samantha Power

Infobox Scientist

name = Samantha Power
birth_date = 1970
birth_place = Ireland
death_date =
death_place =
residence = Flagcountry|USA
nationality =
field = Public policy, human rights
work_institution = Kennedy School of Government,
alma_mater = Yale, Harvard Law
spouse = Cass Sunstein

Samantha Power (born 1970 in Ireland) is an Irish American journalist, writer, and academic. She is currently affiliated with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Power has been a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and was a senior adviser to U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama until March 2008 when she resigned after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster."


Power was born and raised in Ireland before emigrating 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 later graduated from Yale University.

From 1993 to 1996, she worked as a journalist, covering the Yugoslav wars for "U.S. News & World Report", "The Boston Globe", "The Economist", and "The New Republic".

When she returned to the United States, she attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1999. Her first book, "", grew out of a paper she wrote in law school.

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. [ [ TIME Magazine: TIME 100: Samantha Power ] ] 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 [ [ "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama",] "Rolling Stone"] . She served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign until she was forced to resign after referring to Hillary Clinton as "a monster" in an interview with "The Scotsman" in London. Power apologized for the remarks and resigned from the campaign shortly thereafter.

In January 2008, Power began dating the prominent law professor Cass Sunstein whom she met while working on the Obama campaign. [cite news
url =
title = A Monster of a Slip
publisher = The New York Times
date = 2008-03-16
accessdate = 2008-03-16
author = Cara Buckley
] On July 4, 2008, they wed. [cite news
url =
title = From campaigns to champagne as friends of Obama tie the knot
publisher =
date = 2008-07-04
accessdate = 2008-07-07
author = Anne Lucey

Her book "", won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction 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, recognise and then respond effectively to genocides ranging from the Armenian to the Rwandan genocide.

Her next 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.

Personal life

On Friday, July 4th, 2008, Power married law professor Cass Sunstein in a private ceremony in Ireland. [.]


Alongside her advocacy for Barack Obama's candidacy, Power is best known for her efforts to increase awareness with regard to genocide and human rights abuses, particularly 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, endorsing the Genocide Intervention Network and becoming a founding Board member.

2008 Obama Democratic Party presidential campaign

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." [ [ Samantha Power, the outsider with a jump shot, is working on her inside game: D.C. politics: Crime + Politics: ] ]

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 and her and Barack Obama's foreign-policy views, as well as the 2008 campaign. Notable statements she made during the book tour include the following:

* In an interview with the BBC's "HARDtalk" on March 6, Power stated that Barack Obama's pledge to "have all U.S. combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months" [ [ Issues: Iraq - Obama'08 (campaign web site)] ] was a "best case scenario" that "he will revisit when he becomes president." [ [ HARDtalk: Samantha Power - BBC News: Programmes 2008-03-06] ] 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 of 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." [ [ Power on Obama's Iraq plan: "best case scenario" - Polito: Ben Smith (weblog) 2008-03-07] ] 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." [ [ HARDtalk: Samantha Power - BBC News: Programmes 2008-03-06] ]

* 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". [ [ "Hillary Clinton's a monster': Obama aide blurts out attack in Scotsman interview" - The Scotsman 2008-03-06] ] [ [ Political Punch ] ] "She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything... You just look at her and think, 'Ergh.' But 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."

* In a March 7 interview with "The Daily Telegraph", she said, about the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, "I am confused by what's happened to Gordon Brown. I thought he was impressive." [ [ Barack Obama 'will repair image of US in UK'] , Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester, "Daily Telegraph", March 8, 2008]

Power apologized for the "monster" remarks 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." [ [ Barack Obama forced to decry adviser's 'monster' remarks of Hillary Clinton - New York Daily News 2008-03-07] ] In the wake of reaction to the remarks, she resigned from the campaign the next day. [ [,0,4538249.story 'Obama aide forced out for calling Clinton "a monster"'] ] Soon afterwards, the "Weekly Standard" said that it "might have been the most ill-starred book tour since the invention of movable type." [ [ "Power Outage"] , "Weekly Standard", March 17, 2008]

She also appeared on "The Colbert Report" on March 17, 2008, where she also explained that she does not really mean that Hillary Clinton is a monster.

According to Sam Stein at "The Huffington Post", while promoting her book, Power has "hinted that she could be part of that hypothetical cabinet" if Obama were elected President. [Samantha Power Unapologetic About Iraq Remarks, Hints At Return,]


*"Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World" (2008) ISBN 1-59420-128-5
*"Rethinking Iran," [ [,9171,1704682,00.html Rethinking Iran - TIME] ] "Time Magazine", January 17, 2008.
*"Access Denied," [ [,9171,1666264,00.html Access Denied - TIME ] ] "Time Magazine", September 27, 2007.
*"The Void: Why the Movement Needs Help," [ [ Kennedy School Op-Ed: Samantha Power: 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.
*"" (2003) ISBN 0-06-054164-4
*"Bystanders to Genocide," "Atlantic Monthly", September, 2001.
*"Realizing Human Rights : Moving from Inspiration to Impact" (coeditor, 2000) ISBN 0-312-23494-5


External links

Profiles and Bios

* [ Personal Homepage]
* [ Bio] , from Harvard's [ Carr Center for Human Rights Policy]
** [ Recent Articles by Samantha Power]
* [ Power's profile] at Harvard
* [ Samantha Power: Biography] | PBS
* [ A League Of Her Own] - Profile story from "Men's Vogue"

peeches and Interviews

* [ Samantha Power in conversation with Azar Nafisi] at LIVE from the New York Public Library, February 21, 2008
* [ Interview] on Sudan for
* [ Interview] at Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
* [ Interview] at
* [ 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)


* [ 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]
* [ Reviews of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide]

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