More event photos can be found on the AGS Facebook page.

Read on The Chronicle: Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power on working in male-dominated spaces


Event summary by Rahul Krishnaswamy:

Ambassador Samantha Power, former NSC official and Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, spoke with AGS Director Peter Feaver at an event at Duke University. Power focused on three major themes during the event promoting her new book The Education of An Idealist: her experiences, her vision, and policy decisions made during the administration. She first spoke about her experiences, first as a war correspondent during the Balkan Wars and later as an advisor to Barack Obama during his time in the Senate as well as in the White House. More importantly, she focused on her vision of creating a wonderful environment for women in politics; she discussed how having women role-models was vital and how women must be their own advocates and demand a seat at the table. Lastly, she discussed the various decisions made during her time in the Obama Administration, including the decision not to intervene in Syria, among others.


The Duke Program in American Grand Strategy’s fall 2019 Dave and Kay Phillips Family International Lecture focused on Power’s newly released memoir, “The Education of an Idealist.”

Power, who began her career as a war correspondent, is currently a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School. Her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and she has been named one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes and one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People”.

Power served in all eight years of the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013, and then as US Ambassador to the UN from 2013 to 2017. During her time in government, Power became the public face of the United States’ opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, helped build the international coalition to end the Ebola crisis, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, and worked on behalf of LGBT and women’s rights.

Peter Feaver, director of American Grand Strategy and professor of political science and public policy at Duke, interviewed Power.

“For several decades, Ambassador Power has been one of the most passionate and influential voices assessing how the United States can be a force for good in the world,” Feaver said. “Her service at senior levels in the Obama administration gave her the opportunity to put theory into practice, and her reflections now on her experience are a fascinating window into some of the thorniest problems in American foreign policy.”