Samantha Power, who served as the 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 until 2017, has been named to a joint faculty appointment at Harvard Law School (HLS) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), it was announced by the Deans of the two schools today. The appointment begins immediately.
Power will serve as the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, where she was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy in 1998. She will serve as Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, where she earned her J.D. in 1999. For the 2017-18 academic year, Power will be a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Power became Ambassador to the United Nations in August 2013, after serving for four years as President Obama’s Special Assistant for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council. At the UN, Power negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria, lobbied to help secure the release of political prisoners around the world, and spearheaded UN reforms, including of UN peacekeeping.
“From her work at the highest levels of diplomacy and human rights to her accomplishments as a prize-winning author, riveting speaker, and inspiring teacher, Samantha Power is a quadruple threat! As she joins the faculty of her alma mater and the faculty of the Kennedy School, her experiences, perceptions, and commitments will offer invaluable illumination of laws, policies, politics, ideals, and realities essential to the pursuit of justice, human rights, and international relations,” said HLS Dean Martha Minow.
“Samantha Power’s record of public service speaks volumes about her knowledge of and commitment to diplomacy, human rights, international justice, and the rule of law,” said HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf. “We welcome her back to the Kennedy School, where she will contribute significantly to our research, teaching, and practice on those crucial issues.”
Power first came to the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in 1998 as project director of the Human Rights Initiative, which later became the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Prior to her academic career, Power served as a foreign correspondent, contributing to The New Yorker, New Republic, and New York Review of Books. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide, which examined U.S. responses to genocide in the 20th century. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Sergio: One Man’s Fight to Save the World (2007) and the editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2012).In 2004 and 2015 she was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
"I am very excited to return to Harvard, as I believe it is essential that we do all we can to ensure that graduates have the skills they need to succeed in messy geopolitical and multilateral environments,” said Power. “Given the daunting challenges we confront – whether from terrorism, rising nationalism, climate change, or mass atrocities – it is essential that we in academia draw lessons from experience, devise practical approaches, and prepare the next generation to improve their communities, their countries, and the world.”
At the Kennedy School, Power will be affiliated with both the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where she will serve as senior member, board member, and director of the new International Peace and Security Project.
“We could not be prouder to welcome Samantha home,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government. “She has been a source of inspiration and insight, and her extensive service both in Washington and as Ambassador to the United Nations will inform and enliven the intellectual life at the Center.”
“Few have championed human rights and international law with the rigor and real-world accomplishments of Sam Power. She is a huge asset to the Belfer Center,” said former Secretary of Defense and incoming Belfer Center Director Ash Carter.
An Irish immigrant, Power came to the United States at age 9. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.