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Former US ambassador Samantha Power to speak at IU undergraduate commencement



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Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is this year's spring undergraduate commencement speaker at IU. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, first took interest in IU for its basketball.

When she came to the United States as a child, she quickly learned American sports, she said in an email. As a former basketball player herself, she said she was an avid follower of the Hoosiers in the 1980s and 1990s.

Since then, she said she has come to appreciate the university’s academics and has worked with many IU graduates in her career.

Power will be speaking at the May 4 IU undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Power, who immigrated from Ireland when she was 9 years old, said the rest of the world has never felt “over there” to her.

She said her experience as an immigrant as well as reporting as a journalist in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudanhave helped her develop a dedication to improving U.S. foreign relations.

“The major challenges of our time do not confine themselves within borders,” she said.

Power served as the youngest-ever U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017 and was a member of former President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

During this time, she negotiated sanctions against North Korea, lobbied for political prisoners’ release and publicly opposed Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria

She also served on the National Security Council as the special assistant to the president and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights from 2009 to 2013. In this role, she focused on furthering LGBTQ and women’s rights, protecting religious minorities and preventing human trafficking.

“She showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity,” Obama said about Power in 2013.

Power graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. Now she is back teaching as a professor of practice of global leadership and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and as a professor of practice at Harvard Law School.

She said she enjoys using her experience learning and debating about climate change, Syria and other challenges to teach her students.

“Young people today seem daunted by political polarization and some of the negative effects of globalization,” she said. “But they also seem extremely energized, eager to find a way to make a difference.”

The undergraduate commencement ceremony will be at 10 a.m. May 4 at Memorial Stadium.

“I could not be more excited to speak to the graduating class at such a legendary university,” Power said.

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