Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power, widely known as a relentless advocate for promoting human rights, has been heralded by President Barack Obama as one of America's "foremost thinkers on foreign policy."
In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question "What can one person do?"—and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives. The Education of an Idealist traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official. In 2005, her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of newly elected senator Barack Obama, who invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, Power went from being an activist outsider to a government insider, navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. She served for four years as Obama’s human rights adviser, and in 2013, he named her US Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American to assume the role.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room and the world of high-stakes diplomacy. Humorous and deeply honest, The Education of an Idealist lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life and shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with the challenge of raising two young children. Along the way, she illuminates the intricacies of politics and geopolitics, reminding us how the United States can lead in the world, and why we each have the opportunity to advance the cause of human dignity. Power’s memoir is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism—and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.
Ms. Power will be in conversation with Kurt Andersen. Andersen's most recent books are Fantasyland, a prize-winning history of America's uncertain grip on reality, and the novel You Can't Spell America Without Me, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. He's the author of three other critically acclaimed bestselling novels – True Believers, Heyday and Turn of the Century, and the book Reset, about the history and consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. He writes for television and the stage, and co-created and hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio program Studio 360. Previously, Andersen was a columnist and critic for The New Yorker, New York and Time, editor-in-chief of New York and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Spy magazine.
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Samantha Power on The Education of an Idealist is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.