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Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello & the Fight to Save the World, featuring Samantha Power in conversation with Azar Nafisi

February 21, 2008

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Barack Obama's Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, Samantha Power, examines in her new book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World, the humanitarian work of Vieira de Mello who as an idealist and fierce pragmatist worked in more war zones than any other person in his generation. Described as a cross between James Bond and Bobby Kennedy, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello died on August 19, 2003, when a suicide bomber detonated a truck of explosives in Baghdad.

Known for his adaptive and pragmatic problem-solving skills and suave negotiating tactics, Vieira de Mello had a 35-year head-start at thinking about some of the biggest questions consuming us today. Power states that Vieira de Mello had long ago stopped believing that he brought solutions to a troubled place, but he knew how to ask the questions that helped expose constructive ideas.

In conversation with Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Power will address the question, ?Who possesses the moral authority, the political sense, and the military and economic heft to protect human life and bring peace to the unruly world order. Examining the life of Sergio Vieira de Mello yields vital lessons for us today with his unique expertise on how to unite as nations, rebuild our international institutions, and establish peace and security in those parts of our world that need them the most.

photo of Samantha Power by Walter Chin

About Samantha Power

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of Global Leadership and Public Policy Practice at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Barack Obama, and a foreign policy columnist at Time magazine. In 2003, her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy. Her new book is Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World.

About Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi is a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books and Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov's Novels. Nafisi has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her cover story, "The Veiled Threat: The Iranian Revolution's Woman Problem" published in The New Republic, has been reprinted into several languages. Her new book, Things I Have Been Silent About, a memoir about her mother, is scheduled to be published in spring 2008.