Samantha Power, the new United States ambassador to the United Nations. Power was confirmed by the Senate on August 2. Photo by: Angela Radulescu / CC BY-NC-SA

The U.S. Senate confirmed human rights advocate Samantha Power as ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday, endorsing President Barack Obama’s nominee with an overwhelming bipartisan support.

After a 87-10 vote in her favor, 42-year-old Power will replace Susan Rice, who a month ago became National Security Adviser. In a statement issued after the confirmation, Obama said that as a long-time champion of human rights and dignity, Power “will be a fierce advocate for universal rights, fundamental freedoms and U.S. national interests.”

During the Senate hearing, the new ambassador to the world body criticised the U.N.’s alleged “bias” against Israel as well as the Security Council’s “failure” to respond to the Syrian crisis, a sentiment shared by many Republicans that supported her appointment.

Power earlier said that she believes the United Nations should be fair, efficient and stand up for human rights, and promised to push for the institution to treat every country equally, waste less funds amid budget cuts, protect whistleblowers and end corruption.

Chosen as a Devex 40 under 40 development leader in 2011, Power will be the first U.S. envoy to the United Nations with a clear development background to be chosen for the position. According to aid professionals consulted by Devex following her nominations, this proves the growing importance of the least developed countries in U.S. foreign policy during Obama’s second term.

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About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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