Campus & Community

Power named first Anna Lindh Professor

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The Kennedy School of Government has announced that Samantha Power has been named Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, the first faculty member to hold the chair honoring the longtime Swedish political and civic leader who was assassinated in 2003. Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood joined Jan Eliasson, the Swedish minister for foreign affairs, in announcing the appointment on Sept. 6.

“Samantha Power’s dedicated work as a journalist, researcher, and scholar deeply committed to the protection of human rights is making an impact on the lives of millions of people around the world. She approaches serious global challenges in a passionate and compelling way, and I can think of no more appropriate first incumbent for this prestigious new chair,” said Ellwood.

Power joined the Kennedy School faculty in July 2000 after spending several years as a journalist covering wars in the former Yugoslavia. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, Power was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy for “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” a historical account of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She spent 2005-06 working on human rights issues in the office of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and is currently working on a biography of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the former United Nations high commissioner on human rights.

“I am greatly honored by this appointment. Anna Lindh has been an inspiration to me and to others as we fight to secure basic human rights and liberties for peoples in countries throughout the world,” said Power. “Her leadership on behalf of international dialogue and cooperation serves as a model for those of us who seek greater regard for international law and greater protections for innocents caught in the midst of ethnic violence and war.”

Lindh was first elected to the Swedish parliament in 1982. From 1991 to 1994 she served as deputy commissioner of culture and environment and as deputy mayor of Stockholm. In 1994, she was named minister for the environment. Four years later she was named minister for foreign affairs. She was assassinated in September 2003, and was posthumously awarded the Statesman of the Year Award by the EastWest Institute.

The professorship was established through the generosity of friends of Sweden and of Anna Lindh. The terms stipulate that the incumbent is a person “whose work in the public arena has made significant contributions to influence positively the quality of citizens’ lives in such arenas as human rights, conflict resolution and global security, a greater balance of power within international institutions, or demographic equality.”

Power’s appointment as Lindh Professor was made during a Sept. 6 reception and dinner. Honored guests included Harvard University interim President Derek Bok and his wife Sissela; Eliasson; Ulf Hjertonsson, Swedish consul general, New York; Gunnar Lund, Swedish ambassador to the United States; Hakan Malmqvist, deputy director general for the Americas Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs; and friends of the Kennedy School whose generosity helped make the professorship possible.