Concord Academy is honored to welcome Ambassador Samantha Power as the Commencement speaker this year. Power immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland when she was nine. She later earned a B.A. from Yale University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Currently, Power is the William D. Zabel Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School and the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. 

Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from places around the world including Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. Power has accomplished many things in her career, from being a columnist for TIME to being National Magazine Award-winning contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic. She was also the Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School. 

From 2009 to 2013, Power served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Humans Rights on the National Security Council. There, she focused on many issues, such as LGBT and women’s rights, the prevention of human trafficking, atrocity prevention, the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of religious minorities, and UN reform. Her political career did not stop there. For five years, she served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During this time, she was a member of President Obama’s cabinet. In this position, Power accomplished many things, including negotiating the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, helping build new international law, lobbying to secure the release of political prisoners, and supporting President Obama’s pathbreaking actions to end the Ebola crisis. 

Powers has written many books on these topics, including The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (2019), which is a Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today bestseller. In her memoir, she focuses on showing what just one person can do to impact the world around them. In doing so, she takes readers on a trip spanning from her childhood in Dublin, Ireland all the way up to today.

Many have praised Power for her extensive work. In 2013, Obama called her “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” saying that “she showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity.” 

Today, she lives with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their two young children in Concord, Massachusetts. CA is very excited to have Power speaking at this year’s Commencement Ceremony. With her years of experience in working to better the global community and strong sense of moral responsibility, her upcoming speech is sure to be memorable.