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Former UN Ambassador Informs & Inspires

Former UN Ambassador Informs & Inspires
Posted on 05/25/2018
On Tuesday, May 1, Former Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power spoke with CRLS History Students about her experiences and perspective on international events.

Currently serving on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Power was invited by several members of the CRLS community, including the President of the High School Democrats club, a CRLS parent, and History Teacher Rachel Otty, who teaches Power's book, A Problem From Hell to help students understand international responses to genocide through Power's retelling of the U.S. response to Rwandan Genocide.

SamanthaAbout 200 students attended the talk, where Power spoke about her career path from graduating from college in the early 1990's with the career aspiration of becoming a war correspondent, but eventually rising to a position of even greater influence--being appointed Ambassador to the UN by President Barack Obama. She urged students not to limit their own aspirations, because the route a career can take can be unexpected and circuitous.

Power stated that she loved her work as Ambassador because of the power to effect change. For example, she cited the US response to the 2014 Ebola crisis as an example of the power of collective action. By working as a global community, international efforts were able to ensure that the health crisis was addressed--for the good of all.

During the question and answer period, she answered about ten questions from students. One asked her to contrast her career as a journalist with her experience as an ambassador. Powers responded that journalists are more free to agitate for change from those in power, but it is difficult to be certain whether anyone will read or listen to your reporting. Ambassadors work within the constraints of bureaucracy and in a sense must compromise their personal positions. Ultimately, however, Powers found that she could listen to journalists and advocates and then use their insights to actually take concrete steps to make change happen.

According to Ms. Otty, "I heard from a number of my former students that they really appreciated her visit and felt inspired. I felt good about it too and my only disappointment is that she couldn't stick around afterward because she had another event to attend!"