Conversations from the Cullman Center: Richard Holbrooke: George Packer and Ambassador Samantha Power

May 13, 2019

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George Packer talks with Ambassador Samantha Power about his new biographyOur Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. Packer delves into the life of Richard Holbrooke, the force behind the Dayton Accords, which ended the Balkan wars, illustrating how his story is also that of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence.

George Packer is a staff writer at the Atlantic and the author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which was a New York Times best seller and winner of the 2013 National Book Award. His other nonfiction books include The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, and Blood of the Liberals, winner of the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is also the author of two novels and a play, Betrayed, winner of the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award, and the editor of a two-volume edition of the essays of George Orwell. Packer worked on Our Man during his Cullman Center Fellowship in 2016-2017.

Ambassador Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. From 2009 to 2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. Power is also author of the New York Times bestseller Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008) and was the co-editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). She is currently completing a memoir, The Education of an Idealist, forthcoming from HarperCollins.