Press Release - American Academy of Political and Social Science

Ambassador Samantha Power to Receive 2019 Moynihan Prize in Social Science and Public Policy

| Jan. 24, 2019

Samantha Power, Belfer Center-based Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and former Ambassador to the United Nations, will receive the prestigious 2019 Moynihan Prize in Social Science and Public Policy, the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) announced today. The award will be presented at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in October.

This is the second consecutive year that a Belfer Center professor has been named recipient of the Moynihan Prize. The 2018 winner was John P. Holdren, Co-Director of the Center's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and former Science Advisor to President Obama.

The American Academy released the following announcement regarding the 2019 Moynihan Prize.

PHILADELPHIA, Jan 24, 2019 – The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) will award the 2019 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize to diplomat, academic, and human rights advocate Ambassador Samantha Power at an award ceremony to be held on October 3 of this year. The Moynihan Prize is awarded annually to a leading policymaker, social scientist, or public intellectual whose career demonstrates the value of using research and evidence to improve the human condition.

“The Academy searched for an ideal awardee to remind us that the namesake of this prize, Daniel Patrick Monihan, was not only Professor Moynihan and Senator Moynihan, but Ambassador Moynihan,” said AAPSS President Ken Prewitt. “Samantha Power held the role of Ambassador to the United Nations, an office once filled by Pat Moynihan, and in that office both Moynihan and Power fearlessly blended deep academic knowledge with compelling moral reasoning, becoming global voices on human rights. In accepting the 2019 Moynihan Prize, Ambassador Power reminds social scientists around the world that we have a moral obligation as well as an academic task.”

Ambassador Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, and was a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Obama has called her “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy.” At the UN, she rallied member nations to oppose Russian aggression in Ukraine, negotiated sanctions against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped to cripple ISIS’s financial networks, and helped to guide a coalition to end the Ebola crisis in Africa.

Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from around the world in places of conflict or from those rebuilding after conflict. She has been a columnist for TIME, contributor to The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, which also received a National Book Critics Circle award. She later applied her work as a journalist and chronicler of genocide around the world in her career as a public servant, where she encouraged proactive policies to end conflicts, prevent humanitarian crises, and promote peace.

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 where she worked to advance the rights and dignity of oppressed groups around the world. Power immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland when she was nine and went on to earn a BA from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is currently the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School.

Previous Moynihan Prize recipients also include economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz; sociologist William Julius Wilson; domestic policy analysts Isabell Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution (who won the Prize jointly in 2016); Alan Krueger, a former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Rebecca Blank, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and former acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce. A full list of Prize recipients can be found on the AAPSS website. As noted above, the 2018 Moynihan Prize winner was John P. Holdren, professor at the Kennedy School and Co-Director of the Belfer Center's Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, and Science Advisor to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from Jan. 2009 to Jan. 2017.

As the 2019 Moynihan Prize recipient, Ambassador Power will give a public lecture on October 3, 2019, in Washington, DC at the Williard Intercontinental at 4:00pm.



The American Academy of Political and Social Science, based in Philadelphia, is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies, dedicated to bringing evidence from the social sciences to bear in public policy debates and in public discourse. The Moynihan Prize was created to honor the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the use of rigorous social science in service of the public good. Ambassador Power’s 2019 Moynihan Lecture will be cosponsored by Sage Publications.


Tom Kecskemethy, Executive Director, The American Academy of Political and Social Science Tel: (215)746-7321, Email:

Sharon Wilke, Associate Director, Communications, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School  Tel: (617)495-9858, Email:



For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Ambassador Samantha Power to Receive 2019 Moynihan Prize in Social Science and Public Policy .” Press Release, American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 24, 2019.