Samantha Power on Development Diplomacy

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Heads of state and top leaders are arriving in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, where governments work together to reach agreement on global issues. Beyond its U.N. mission, the Biden administration also relies on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at summits such as this to help devise its development strategy and prioritize where its aid money goes.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power is tasked with figuring out how to distribute America’s global aid and development budget. Power is also a member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Council and a former ambassador to the U.N., so she wields considerable influence in the White House.

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, she joined FP editor in chief Ravi Agrawal for a wide-ranging interview. The two discussed USAID’s priorities for UNGA, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and how the Biden administration views the United Nations. 

Asked about Russia’s role in the food crisis, USAID Administrator Samantha Power says the toll has been significant and discusses ways her organization is helping Ukraine find workarounds to export its grain.

Samantha Power on her discussions with African heads of state about Russia’s promises of free grain: “There’s no delivery. There’s promise and no follow-through.”

USAID Administrator Samantha Power on the increasing shift to prioritize climate change within the organization she heads.

Watch Samantha Power’s response to criticism that the United Nations is paralyzed and that the United States is prioritizing clubs over the multilateral system.  

Samantha Power

USAID administrator

Samantha Power is administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to joining the Biden administration, Power was the Anna Lindh professor of the practice of global leadership and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the William D. Zabel professor of practice in human rights at Harvard Law School. She previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017. 

Host

Ravi Agrawal

Editor in chief, Foreign Policy

Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of FP Live, and a regular world affairs analyst on TV and radio. Before joining FP in 2018, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. He is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy.     

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Samantha Power on Development Diplomacy

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, FP editor in chief Ravi Agrawal sat down with USAID administrator Samantha Power for a wide-ranging interview. The two discussed USAID’s priorities for UNGA, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and how the Biden administration views the United Nations. 

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