and Critic of U.S. Response to Genocide to Speak
Power is a woman who, in the words of the New York Times,
"began as a reporter and ended up with a mission."
In 1993, just one year out of college, she was working as a freelance
writer for U.S. News & World Report and the Economist,
covering the war in Bosnia. She was shocked by the "ethnic
cleansing" that was being perpetrated there, but even more
shocked by what seemed to her the unwillingness of the U.S. government
Her determination to influence a change in U.S. policy led her
to write A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,
a 610-page book that details how Americans inside and outside
the government failed to respond to genocide around the world
during the twentieth century. Late last month, A Problem from
Hell, published in 2002 by Basic Books, was awarded the prestigious
National Book Critics Circle award for general nonfiction, edging
out competition that included William Langewiesche's highly
regarded best-seller, American Ground: Unbuilding the World
On Wednesday, March 12, Power, founding executive director of
the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University,
will visit MHC to give a talk titled "U.S. Foreign Policy
in the Age of Terror: Can American Power Be Harnessed for Good?"
Her lecture will be held at 7 pm in Clapp Hall's Hooker
Auditorium and is part of a series on political violence sponsored
by the Mount Holyoke politics department, the Five College International
Relations Program, the MHC Program on Critical and Social Thought,
and the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership.
"Samantha Power's book on American
responses to genocide is a story that we all should hear,"
says Jon Western, Five College Assistant Professor of International
Relations. "It is a direct and powerful message: The United
States more often than not simply does not live up to its rhetoric—with
deadly consequences. Her insights on American foreign policy in
an age of terror are certain to be equally direct and powerful."
A Problem from
Hell "is an account of how American foreign policy—despite
the Holocaust—stayed largely silent in the face of atrocities
in Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, and most recently and dramatically
in Rwanda," said the New York Times. The paper
notes that the book "has stirred debate in foreign policy
circles as diplomats and experts deal with the question of when
and how American power, military and diplomatic, should be deployed
on behalf of humanitarian goals."
Power won the 2001 National Magazine Award for her Atlantic
Monthly article, "Bystanders to Genocide," an
investigation of the Clinton Administration's handling of
the 1994 Rwanda genocide. From 1993 to 1996, Power covered the
wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for U.S. News
& World Report and the Economist. In 1996 she
worked for the International Crisis Group as a political analyst.
She is a frequent contributor to the New Republic and
edited, with Graham Allison, Realizing Human Rights: Moving
from Inspiration to Impact (St. Martin's, 2000). She
is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.