Former United Nations Ambassador and current Harvard law professor Samantha Power spoke yesterday at Indiana University. I was there and, I kid you not, she was out of this world.
Power was born in Ireland and came to the US with her mother when she was nine. She went to college at Yale and earned her law degree at Harvard. Then she went out into the world and became a war correspondent, covering atrocities in the former Yugoslavia during the Balkan wars there in the 1990s. She’d write a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, recounting what she’d seen in southeastern Europe.
In that book, she told the story of Frank McCloskey’s efforts to get the United States to do something — anything — to stem the bloodshed in Bosnia, Croatia, and other former Yugoslav states. McCloskey at the time of the Balkan wars was a member of the US House from Indiana’s 8th District. He also was a former mayor of Bloomington.
His tireless efforts to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Balkan countries eventually forced a reluctant America to act against the aggressors and war criminals in the former Yugoslavia. It’s a hell of a story and I told it yesterday on Big Talk.
I’m posting the podcast of the show here because the WFHB site is down right now. Yesterday’s Big Talk sounds a bit different because I used musical bumpers — I’d expected to be able to question Power about the McCloskey story, but the School of Global and International Studies auditorium was packed to the rafters for her speech. I couldn’t elbow my way near her. I’d pre-recorded my narration earlier in the week and left spots open to paste in Power’s clips. Unfortunately for purposes of the show (and very fortunately for every other reason), Powers spoke exclusively about diplomacy and the ability of America to affect world events through, well, talk.
Speaking of talk, Power’s own talk was strong, straightforward, accessible, and down-to-Earth. Hell, if she hadn’t been foreign-born, she’d have made a bang-up president! If you’re looking to point out a female role model for today’s young girls, Samantha Power is as good as you’ll find.
I mentioned this last week and it bears repeating: Say what you will about the presidency of Barack Obama (under whom Power served) but the people he brought with him were brilliant and caring, and they possessed innate gravitas. As opposed to the hoodlums and clowns you-know-who has surrounded himself with in today’s White House.
That all said, here’s yesterday’s Big Talk: