Samantha Power, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations under the Obama administration, will deliver the second Peter S. Hagerman '61 Lecture in Ethics at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in Packard Lab, Room 101. Power, who speaks on a number of topics including leadership, human rights, foreign policy and national security, will address “Changing Your Slice of the World.”
“There were a bunch of things she could have talked about—some of them political, some of them not political, about fixing the UN, fixing the State Department—but we really wanted her to speak to students,” says Robin Dillon, the William Wilson Selfridge Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Lehigh University Center for Ethics.
Two student panels will also be conducted with Power—one with undergraduates and another with graduate students and a few faculty members—before her Packard Lab lecture. The main lecture, which is free and open to the public, follows March’s inaugural Center for Ethics lecture by Carly Fiorina.
The Center for Ethics’ Steering Committee discussed Power as an option as a result of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide. When they looked further into Powers and saw her resume and the stance she’s taken, Dillion says, they thought she’d be a perfect fit to deliver the Lecture in Ethics.
The youngest-ever U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Power has been named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” and Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” Prior to working for the U.S. government and shaping complex geopolitical events, Power was an author, war correspondent and Harvard professor explaining those events. The Pulitzer Prize winner is also writing a memoir, The Education of an Idealist, which will reflect on her transition from author to working in the Obama administration. It is scheduled to be published by HarperCollins in 2019.
“[Power] really brings a wealth of experience with real problems in the world,” Dillon says. “She seems very much committed to addressing these problems concretely and has ideas for how to do it better and how individuals can make a difference. I think that’s important for people to hear.”
Power, who immigrated to the United States at the age of nine from Ireland, began her career overseas. Getting her start as a journalist, she reported from places that included Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a columnist for Time. She also was a contributor to The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books before joining the Obama administration in 2009, where she served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights until 2013, when she became U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
After her service as an ambassador, Power returned to teaching as the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School.