Samantha Power, lecturer in public policy and outgoing executive director of the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, has been bestowed the National Magazine Award by the American Society of Magazine Editors. The award honors Power and The Atlantic Monthly magazine for her article, “Bystanders to Genocide,” which appeared in the September issue of the magazine. The article explained the Clinton administration’s response to the murder of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994.
Power won the award in the public interest category, which rewards investigative reporting on important issues. “Power’s detailed reporting challenges the conventional Clinton – era wisdom that nothing could have been done to prevent the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda,” the judges said.
“I am delighted Samantha won the recognition she deserves,” said Michael Kelly, editor of The Atlantic Monthly. “It was an extraordinary piece – not just journalism but history, and, as the judges noted, a public service. We were proud to have it in the Atlantic.”
Power, who has just published the highly acclaimed book, “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” (Basic Books, 2002) detailing U.S. responses to the major genocides of the 20th century, said she hopes that the award will prompt editors to support similar, time-intensive projects on humanitarian questions. She also hopes that the attention to the article’s findings will influence the future behavior of U.S. policymakers.
“Maybe if U.S. officials fear they will be held accountable in print for their inaction,” Power said, “they will be less likely to avert their gazes from the next genocide.”