Political Powerhouses: Samantha Power

Samantha Power

The majority of posts in this series have been about politicians many people would have heard about. There are many women in politics that aren’t household names and yet have contributed much to the political world. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of diplomacy. Diplomats work the world over to maintain positive relations between counties. Samantha Power is one of these people.

Samantha Power spent the first nine years old her life in Ireland before she moved to Pittsburgh with her mother and brother. She graduated from Yale in 1992, after which she began interning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. While there she worked with Morton Abramowitz (the former assistant Secretary of State). At the time he was focused on the conflict in the Balkans. In 1993 she went to Bosnia aged just 22. While there she reported on the atrocities that were happening at the time. She spent two and half years in Bosnia before she came back to the United States.

When she came back to the United States she enrolled at Harvard Law School. While there she wrote about the issue of genocide. Her book, A Problem from Hell, was published a few years later. In 2003 she won a Pulitzer Prize for the book. After the publication of her book she began working with then Senator Barack Obama. They had a successful working relationship where they shared the same passion for human rights and preventing the atrocities that she had witnessed first hand in Europe. She was campaigning for him during the Democratic primaries when she found herself embroiled in some controversy. In an off the record interview she called Hillary Clinton “a monster”. Following this she resigned from his campaign.

Following Obama’s election she was named the special assistant to the president in charge of human rights and multilateral affairs in the National Security Council. While in this role she advocated for military intervention in Libya amongst other issues. In 2013 she was appointed the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. During her three year tenure in this role she had to deal with the Syrian Civil War and the crisis in Ukraine. She also advocated for more rights for the LGBT community in both the United States and internationally. In 2016 she was named the 41st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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