Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Samantha Power to Discuss America’s Policy toward Genocide

HOUSTON, TX (July 31, 2006) Journalist, professor and human rights activist Samantha Power will discuss her scholarly analysis of America’s policy toward genocide in a special free public lecture sponsored by Holocaust Museum Houston this fall at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Power, the founder and former executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, is the author of the 2003 book "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," which chronicles the American government’s reactions to genocides of the 20th century. The work won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction work.

She will discuss the book and U.S. foreign policy at a public address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006 at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, which is cosponsoring the event.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Power’s book won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize for the best book on U.S. foreign policy.

In her compelling and engaging narrative, Power – who also serves as a professor of human rights at the Kennedy School of Government – draws upon exclusive interviews with Washington’s top policymakers, access to newly declassified documents and her own reporting from the modern killing fields to trace the United States’ policy toward genocide.

Power devotes chapters to many of the indisputable cases of genocide in the 20th century. She details America’s passivity during the Khmer Rouge’s systematic murder of more than a million Cambodians, the Iraqi regime’s gassing of the Kurdish population, the Bosnian Serb Army’s butchery of unarmed Muslims, Adolf Hitler’s abolition of the Jews during the Holocaust and the Hutu genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda.

"A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" considers the various instances of genocide and the U.S. reaction. In each case, Power found that the United States has done little by way of response. "When innocent life is being taken on such a scale and the United States has the power to stop the killing at reasonable risk," Power argues, "it has a duty to act."

Power also devotes a significant part of the book to the story of Raphael Lemkin, the man credited with coining the word "genocide." Lemkin was an important figure behind the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Power moved to the United States from her native Ireland in 1979, and she attended Yale University and Harvard Law School. She served as a journalist for U.S. News and World Report and The Economist and covered the war in Yugoslavia from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, she joined the International Crisis Group as a political analyst, helping launch the organization in Bosnia.

Seating for the event is limited. To RSVP, please contact the Baker Institute by e-mail at bipprsvp@rice.edu or by fax to 713-348-5593. Fpr more information, contact Tamara Savage at tsavage@hmh.org or call 713-942-8000, ext. 104.

For those who cannot attend, the event will be broadcast over the World Wide Web at http://bakerinstitute.org. Click "Events," then select the Samantha Power event, and click "Webcast."

Power’s visit is underwritten by Bridgeway Charitable Foundation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Her appearance in Houston is in conjunction with the Museum’s genocide exhibit, "Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project."

Running Sept. 15, 2006 through Feb. 18, 2007 at the Museum, "Through the Eyes of Children" is an exhibition of children’s photography from orphans of the Rwandan genocide. A country roughly the size of Massachusetts and located in central Africa, Rwanda was the site of one of the most horrible events in history. The 1994 genocide left nearly 1 million people dead in approximately 100 days and caused the flight of 2 million internally displaced persons and 2 million refugees.

The Rwanda Project began in 2000, conceived by photographer David Jiranek as a four-week photographic workshop inspired by and centered on the importance of the children’s perspective and experience. Children ranging in age from eight to 18 were given disposable cameras to photograph themselves and their community. The exhibit is the result of continuing photographic workshops for children who live at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Underwriters of the Rwandan exhibition include Nina and Michael Zilkha, Nina and Michael Zilkha Endowment Fund, and Houston Endowment Inc., with special thanks to Continental Airlines. The program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX, 77004.

For more information about Holocaust Museum Houston, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

The Baker Institute is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the highest standards of intellectual excellence and integrity with a goal of helping to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of public policy by drawing together experts from academia, government, the media, business and non-governmental organizations. By so doing, the institute broadens the professional perspective and personal understanding of all those involved in the study, formulation, execution and criticism of public policy.

For more information on the institute, visit www.bakerinstitute.org.

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