Kemi Osukoya

January 13, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden named former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power as his nominee for Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and elevated the position to become a member of the National Security Council. 

In her latest public servant role as USAID Administrator, she will work with U.S. global partners to confront the COVID-19 pandemic,  uplift vulnerable communities, fight for the value of every human being, and advance American ideals and interests around the globe.

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Ambassador Power, a former Obama era diplomat who served for the full eight years on the administration in various top official roles as well as worked with President Barack Obama during his Presidential election campaign, was key to negotiating and putting into effect agenda for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, helped ratify the 2015 Paris climate agreement, rallied the international community to help African countries combat the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

A stalwart humanitarian and champion for refugees, democracy and rule of law, women’s and girls’ rights who talks the talk and walk the walk, she helped catalyze international commitments to care for refugees, protection for women and girls, globally and defend civil society from growing repression.

Michelle Nunn President and Chief Executive Officer of CARE USA, said the humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty and hunger that she leads is “encouraged by the Biden administration’s speedy nomination of Samantha Power to lead the US Agency for International Development and the decision to elevate the position of USAID Administration to the National Security Council. As a longtime human rights advocate and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, we believe Power’s deep experience in addressing crises around the global masses her a terrific choice”

Former USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, who also served in the Obama administration alongside Ambassador Power described her as an extraordinary, values-driven, determined and experienced leader, whose “vision and toughness will lift the spirits of USAID’s incredible workforce and elevate America’s values as part of our foreign policy at a time when the world desperately needs it”

During Power’s time representing the U.S. at the U.N, at the U.N Security Council, she also worked with other countries to develop new international law to cripple ISIS’s financial networks.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as  U.S. Ambassador to U.N said the President-elect “has made another outstanding choice in nominating the brilliant Samantha Power to lead USAID and elevating the tole of this vital agency.” Adding that “Ambassador Power understands that America’s investments in democracy and development are critical to our security and way of life.”

In nominating Ambassador Power to be the next USAID Administration, President-elect Biden in a statement described her “as 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.” who as “USAID Administrator 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.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris added that given that one of the most pressing challenges facing the U.S. is restoring and strengthening America’s global leadership as a champion of democracy, human rights, and the dignity of all people, “few Americans are better equipped to help lead that work than Power.”

Born in United Kingdom to Irish parents, Power lived in Ireland until her parents—both doctors, divorced, after which she emigrated with her mother to the U.S. when she was nine years old.

Ambassador Power, who now teaches at both Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School as a professor, started her career as a researcher at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace before leaving that job to become a war correspondent journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe

After her stint as a war correspondent, Power attended Harvard Law School, where she wrote and published edited papers on human rights and related issues, one of which she later expanded into her first book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” a Pulitzer winner.

Before becoming a public servant working for the then Senator Obama team as a foreign policy fellow,  Ambassador Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Senator Chris Coons, D-Deleware said in a statement I am excited to see that the President-elect has chosen Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, the federal agency responsible for foreign assistance. “This is a critical position, and I am confident that Ambassador Power’s values, experience and vision will serve her well in this role. Ambassador Power knows what it means to represent human rights, defend democracy, foster economic development, and work tirelessly to prevent atrocities abroad. From her early days as a journalist to her work as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, she has shown a deep understanding of the national security  and humanitarian challenges facing the U.S., our allies and our partners.

*This news has been updated with quotes.