Biden names Samantha Power as nominee for USAID chief


Jan 13, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden introduced on Wednesday that he’ll nominate Samantha Power, the previous US ambassador to the United Nations, to steer the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), citing her background as a crisis-tested public servant and diplomat.

In a press release, Biden described Power, 50, as “a world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity — challenging and rallying the international community to stand up for the dignity and humanity of all people.”

If confirmed, Power will oversee the US company tasked with distributing billions in humanitarian help annually. After 4 years of an aid-skeptic administration that routinely sought to chop growth {dollars}, the Biden administration is anticipated to view US help overseas as an vital software for advancing its international coverage.

Biden additionally introduced he could be elevating the place of USAID administrator to everlasting membership on the National Security Council, a move lengthy advocated for by the help group and an indication his administration will make growth a precedence together with diplomacy and protection.

Power, presently a professor at Harvard Kennedy School, doesn’t have a conventional background in international assist and growth. She served on the National Security Council in a task centered on human rights from 2009 to 2013 earlier than President Barack Obama named her US ambassador to the United Nations throughout his second time period.

Power started her profession as a battle correspondent reporting from Sudan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda and different conflict-ridden nations. She’s written for shops corresponding to TIME, The Atlantic and The New Yorker, and was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction for a e-book she authored on American inaction to genocide.

Power and her household moved to Pittsburgh from Dublin, Ireland, when she was 9 years previous, and she or he turned a US citizen in 1993.

Power on the helm of USAID might put a higher emphasis on the significance of democracy and human rights in growth, mentioned Conor Savoy, government director of the bipartisan advocacy group Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.

“The US has all the time offered help on this space, nevertheless it’s typically overshadowed by our investments on the worldwide well being facet of issues, schooling or different primary wants,” Savoy mentioned, including that it is encouraging to see somebody of Power’s stature nominated for the function.

Power has lengthy argued the United States has a “moral responsibility to protect,” telling the Senate throughout her 2013 affirmation listening to that when international governments are murdering their very own folks, “it’s incumbent on us to look” for methods to cease the carnage.

As the highest US diplomat on the United Nations, Power butted heads with Russia over its vetoes shielding the Syrian regime from accountability for its assaults on colleges and hospitals. “Are you truly incapable of shame?” she famously requested her Russian counterpart throughout a December 2016 Security Council assembly.

But Power additionally discovered herself at odds with the administration’s personal Syria coverage and Obama’s failure to implement his “red line” for intervention after a chemical assault killed greater than 1,400 civilians in August 2013.

“I did not think we could call the chapter a proud one in the annals of US foreign policy,” Power wrote in her 2019 memoir, “The Education of an Idealist.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Power’s Middle East agenda is anticipated to incorporate restoring American help to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which Trump pulled all funding from in 2018. The UN company has since been compelled to reduce the companies it supplies amid what the UNRWA calls the worst monetary disaster in its 70-year historical past. In November, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris prompt that assist to the Palestinians could be an early international coverage precedence, promising to “take immediate steps” to revive help and handle the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

War-torn Yemen can be more likely to be excessive on the international help agenda. Last 12 months, the Trump administration lower assist to Houthi-held elements of the nation over considerations the Iran-aligned rebels had been interfering with the distribution of meals and humanitarian provides. A former US authorities official who suggested the Biden marketing campaign on international coverage informed Al-Monitor that the incoming administration will doubtless move shortly to return assist to earlier ranges.

Power is the newest acquainted face named to Biden’s nationwide safety and international coverage crew after having served within the Obama administration. His nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has labored alongside Biden for nearly twenty years and served as deputy secretary of state underneath Obama.

The president-elect has additionally tapped profession diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador, former Secretary of State John Kerry as a particular local weather adviser and international service veteran William Burns as CIA director.