WASHINGTON, DC (NPR) — President-elect Joe Biden has nominated former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Biden also said he was elevating that role — USAID administrator — to be a member of the White House National Security Council.
“Samantha Power is a world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity — challenging and rallying the international community to stand up for the dignity and humanity of all people,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I know firsthand the unparalleled knowledge and tireless commitment to principled American engagement she brings to the table, and her expertise and perspective will be essential as our country reasserts its role as a leader on the world stage,” he said. “As USAID Administrator, Ambassador Power will be a powerful force for lifting up the vulnerable, ushering in a new era of human progress and development, and advancing American interests globally.”
Power, 50, served in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, she served on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president and as senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights.
Before her diplomacy career, Power was a journalist who reported from Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe. She was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is currently a professor at Harvard. She was born in Dublin in 1970 and immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland with her family at the age of 9.
Power won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
Samantha Power has been an strong advocate for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During her visit to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan on June 8, 2018 she stated: “To the people of Armenia and Armenian descent. It has been very meaningful – and very painful – to walk these halls and to see the faces and read the testimonies of those who suffered immeasurably before, during, and after the Armenian Genocide.
Often those killed were taunted with the words, ‘Nobody will know. You will all be forgotten.’ But here – and all around the world – the descendants of those murdered have defied those taunts, painstakingly documenting all of the small decisions and actions that gave rise to a most colossal crime.”
When former President Barack Obama was an Illinois senator running for office, he pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide if elected.
“The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” Obama said at the time. “The facts are undeniable.”
Ultimately the Genocide was not classified as such under his administration.
Samantha Power expressed remorse for the administration’s decision to not recognize the Genocide in 2018.
“I’m sorry,” Power said. “I’m sorry that we disappointed so many Armenian Americans.”
Samantha Power is a member of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Selection Committee.