Samantha Power.


Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is returning to her alma mater Harvard Law School—as a professor of practice.

The university announced on Thursday that Power is immediately joining both the law school and the Harvard Kennedy School, its graduate government school. Power graduated from the law school in 1999 and previously served as the founding director of the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

In announcing the new appointment, Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow described Power as a “quadruple threat,” noting her work in human rights and her accomplishments as a prize-winning author, speaker and teacher.

“Her experiences, perceptions, and commitments will offer invaluable illumination of laws, policies, politics, ideals, and realities essential to the pursuit of justice, human rights, and international relations,” Minow said.

Power joins five other professors of practice at the law school, a designation given to individuals with extensive experience outside the legal academy, in practice, the judiciary, government or policy.

Appointed U.N. ambassador by President Barack Obama in 2013, Power served in that post for nearly four years. During that period, she negotiated sanctions against North Korea and led opposition to Russia’s takeover of a portion of Ukraine as well as its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Before that, she spent four years as a special assistant to Obama and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Council.

“Given the daunting challenges we confront—whether from terrorism, rising nationalism, climate change, or mass atrocities—it is essential that we in academia draw lessons from experience, devise practical approaches, and prepare the next generation to improve their communities, their countries, and the world,” said Power, whose 2003 book about America’s 20th century genocide won a Pulitzer Prize.

At the Kennedy School, Power will be affiliated with both the human rights center and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and will direct a new project focused on international peace and security.