President-elect Joe Biden has announced that he has picked Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, to run the agency overseeing American foreign humanitarian and development aid.
“Power will rally the international community and work with our partners to confront the biggest challenges of our time – including COVID-19, climate change, global poverty, and democratic backsliding,” his transition team said in a statement late on Wednesday.
“A crisis-tested public servant and diplomat, Ambassador Power has been a leader in marshaling the world to resolve long-running conflicts, respond to humanitarian emergencies, defend human dignity, and strengthen the rule of law and democracy,” it added.
If confirmed by the Senate, Power will head the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which has an annual budget of about $20bn. Biden also announced that he is elevating the position to the National Security Council within the White House, a signal that he will prioritise outreach to other nations.
Biden has said that USAID will coordinate the US’s work to lead a global response to combat the coronavirus and help the most vulnerable nations. He called Power “a world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity”.
As a journalist, activist, and diplomat, I’ve seen the world-changing impact of @USAID. At this critical moment, I feel immensely fortunate to have the chance to serve again, working with the incredible USAID team to confront COVID-19, climate change, humanitarian crises, & more. https://t.co/LP3NhBvkZj
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) January 13, 2021
“As a journalist, activist, and diplomat, I’ve seen the world-changing impact of USAID. At this critical moment, I feel immensely fortunate to have the chance to serve again, working with the incredible USAID team to confront COVID-19, climate change, humanitarian crises, & more,” Power posted on Twitter after the annoucement.
Power, 50, served as UN ambassador from 2013 to 2017. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, about the US foreign policy response to genocide.