USAID Administrator Samantha Power was in Armenia from September 25 to 27. In Kornidzor, she met Armenians forcibly displaced from Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing. Twenty-one years before this act of genocide, Samantha Power’s book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” was published, in the first chapter of which she referred to the Armenian Genocide and the international response.
Samantha Power’s state positions
Samantha Power was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.
Prior to her work at the United Nations, Samantha Power served in the U.S. National Security Council as Special Assistant to the U.S. President Barack Obama and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, , where she focused on atrocity prevention, United Nations reform, LGBT and women’s rights and the promotion of religious freedom, among other issues.
In January 2021, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden nominated former U.S. Ambassador to UN Samantha Power as the new head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to the statement issued by Biden’s team, “a crisis-tested public servant and diplomat, Ambassador Power has been a leader in marshaling the world to resolve long-running conflicts, respond to humanitarian emergencies, defend human dignity, and strengthen the rule of law and democracy.”
Power and Churkin
During the sessions of the UN Security Council, Samantha Power often debated and argued with her Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin.
Many considered them to be enemies, but when in February 2017 Churkin passed away suddenly, Samantha Power published a note in The New York Times titled “My Friend, the Russian Ambassador,” in which she wrote:
“On Monday, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations for the last decade and one of the world’s most effective diplomats, passed away. I was America’s permanent representative to the United Nations from 2013 until President Trump took office, and over the last few years I was probably Ambassador Churkin’s most visible foe. He faithfully defended President Vladimir V. Putin’s deadly actions in Ukraine and Syria. At the same time, Vitaly was a masterful storyteller with an epic sense of humor, a good friend and one of the best hopes the United States and Russia had of working together. I am heartbroken by his death.”
“A Problem from Hell” book and Obama’s proposal
In 2002, Harvard Kennedy School professor Samantha Power’s book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” was published.
In the book, the author referred to inaction of the United States during the genocides that took place in the 20th century. She dedicated the first chapter of the book to the Armenian Genocide and the international response.
Samantha Power was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the book, received the “Book of the Year” Award by Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and the Raphael Lemkin Award by the Center for Genocide Studies.
After reading the book, the future president of the United States, Barack Obama, called Samantha Power, offering to join his team.
Samantha Power and the Armenian Genocide
On May 7, 2015, an interfaith prayer dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide was held in the Washington National Cathedral, which was followed by the speech of the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.
During the ceremony U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden was accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
Photo: Armenian President’s press office
In November 2016, Ambassador Samantha Power spoke about genocide denial against the Armenians.
When delivering remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington dedicated to Elie Wiesel, the diplomat said:
“Injustice was still all around. Genocide denial against the Armenians, the horrors of Wiesel’s lifetime - Pol Pot, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, Syria, in his later years.”
In June 2018 when Samantha Power arrived in Yerevan within the framework of the “Aurora” humanitarian initiative events, she said that many were saddened that Barack Obama failed to fulfill his promise and did not recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In October 2019, U.S. House of Representatives adopted the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. In connection with it, Samantha Power wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, “A Belated Recognition of Genocide by the House,” which particularly read:
“This resolution matters hugely to Armenian-Americans. But it is also a reminder of how important truth-telling is to American foreign policy, and how ultimately self-defeating it is for the United States to bend to autocratic pressure tactics, whether from Turkey or anywhere else.”
In conclusion, Samantha Power wrote:
“Now the Senate, and President Trump, should follow suit. The facts of what occurred a century ago demand it.”
Samantha Power and Aurora Prize
In 2017 Samantha Power joined the Aurora Prize Selection Committee.
“My reasons to join the initiative are obvious. These people, the founders of Aurora - Ruben, Noubar, Vartan… If they were tasked with solving the Syrian crisis or establishing peace in Middle East, we would not have those issues now. In these times, when darkness is common and people in developed countries are suffering, it is wonderful to meet people like Aurora Heroes, who use personal expertise for supporting and protecting victims of bad circumstances. This is a beautiful opportunity for us to assist them in their struggle,” Samantha Power said.
In June 2018, Samantha Power arrived in Armenia to participate in “Aurora” events. She visited Armenian Genocide Museum, participated in the “Making change, when change is difficult” meeting.