Dublin-born Samantha Power has been appointed to a key diplomatic post by President Obama. In appointing the former Pulitzer Prize winner as U.N Ambassador Obama stated:
“Samantha first came to work for me in 2005, shortly after I became a United States senator, as one of our country's leading journalists; I think she won the Pulitzer Prize at the age of 15 or 16. One of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy, she showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity.
In response Power stated:
“It has been my privilege here at the White House to serve you, and it would be the honor of a lifetime to fight for American values and interests at the United Nations. Now that I have two small children, Declan and Rian -- somewhere -- the stakes feel even higher.
“Thank you, Tom and Susan. I consider myself immensely fortunate these last four years to have collaborated with both of you. There are two no more dedicated professionals on this Earth, no more strategic stewards of our foreign policy than these two individuals. And I'm honored and immensely humbled to share the stage with you.
“I moved to the United States from Ireland when I -- with my parents, who are here -- when I was 9 years old. I remember very little about landing in Pittsburgh, except that I was sure I was at the largest airport in the history of the world. I do remember what I was wearing -- a red, white and blue stars and stripes t-shirt. It was the t-shirt I always wore in Ireland on special occasions.
“Even as a little girl with a thick Dublin accent who had never been to America, I knew that the American flag was the symbol of fortune and of freedom. But I quickly came to learn that to find opportunity in this country, one didn’t actually need to wear the flag, one just needed to try to live up to it.
“For the next three months, I came home from school every day, as my mother can attest, my dad can attest, and I sat in front of the mirrors for hours, straining to drop my brogue so that I, too, could quickly speak and be American.
“Not long ago, my husband, Cass Sunstein, came across a letter written toward the end of World War II by his father, Dick Sunstein, who was a Navy lieutenant. Dick had happened to stop briefly in San Francisco after his two years fighting for this country in the Pacific, and he wrote to his family on April 25th, 1945, the very day that the nations of the world were coming together in San Francisco to establish the new United Nations.
“And in this letter to my mother-in-law, who I never had the chance to meet, he wrote, excitedly, “Conference starts today. The town is going wild with excitement. It is a pleasure to be here for the opening few days. Let’s pray that they accomplish something.”
“Let’s pray that they accomplish something. The question of what the United Nations can accomplish for the world and for the United States remains a pressing one. I have seen U.N. aid workers enduring shellfire to deliver food to the people of Sudan. Yet I’ve also see U.N. peacekeepers fail to protect the people of Bosnia. As the most powerful and inspiring country on this Earth, we have a critical role to play in insisting that the institution meet the necessities of our time. It can do so only with American leadership.
“It would be an incomparable privilege to earn the support of the Senate and to play a role in this essential effort, one on which our common security and common humanity depend.”