Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Samantha Power to Discuss America’s Policy toward Genocide

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 14, 2006) – Journalist, professor and human rights activist Samantha Power will discuss her scholarly analysis of America’s policy toward genocide in a special free public lecture sponsored by Holocaust Museum Houston this fall at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Samantha Power

Power, the founder and former executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, is the author of the 2003 book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,â€? which chronicles the American government’s reactions to genocides of the 20th century. The work won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction work.

She will discuss the book and U.S. foreign policy at a public address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006 at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, which is cosponsoring the event.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Power’s book won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize for the best book on U.S. foreign policy.

In her compelling and engaging narrative, Power – who also serves as a professor of human rights at the Kennedy School of Government – draws upon exclusive interviews with Washington’s top policymakers, access to newly declassified documents and her own reporting from the modern killing fields to trace the United States’ policy toward genocide.

Power devotes chapters to many of the indisputable cases of genocide in the 20th century. She details the Khmer Rouge’s systematic murder of more than a million Cambodians, the Iraqi regime’s gassing of the Kurdish population, the Bosnian Serb Army’s butchery of unarmed Muslims, Adolf Hitler’s abolition of the Jews during the Holocaust and the Hutu genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda.

“A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocideâ€? considers the various instances of genocide and the U.S. reaction. In each case, Power found that the United States has done little by way of response. “When innocent life is being taken on such a scale and the United States has the power to stop the killing at reasonable risk,â€? Power argues, “it has a duty to act.â€?

Power also devotes a significant part of the book to the story of Raphael Lemkin, the man credited with coining the word “genocide.â€? Lemkin was an important figure behind the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Power moved to the United States from her native Ireland in 1979, and she attended Yale University and Harvard Law School. She served as a journalist for U.S. News and World Report and The Economist and covered the war in Yugoslavia from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, she joined the International Crisis Group as a political analyst, helping launch the organization in Bosnia.

Seating for the event is limited. To RSVP, please contact the Baker Institute by e-mail at bipprsvp@rice.edu or by fax to 713-348-5593. For more information, contact Tamara Savage at tsavage@hmh.org or call 713-942-8000, ext. 104.