The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum Welcomes Pulitzer Prize Winning Author & Foreign Policy Advisor Samantha Power on December 6

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (November 12, 2008) -- The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, an annual event presented by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire, welcomes Samantha Power, author of Chasing the Flame: One Man’s Fight to Save the World to Portsmouth on December 6. She will sign copies of her book at RiverRun Bookstore on Congress Street from noon to 1 pm and then deliver the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum annual speech in honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1906 Nobel Peace Prize at Wentworth By the Sea at 3 pm.

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of Global Leadership and Public Policy Practice at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a foreign policy columnist at Time magazine. In 2003, her book, A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy.

Chasing the Flame was a nationwide bestseller when it was published last winter and is now available in paperback for the first time. According to Penguin Books, it is “the story of UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello’s life and of the troubled times we live in, and as more and more Americans are thinking about foreign policy issues and our role in the world, this one man’s life provides invaluable lessons on how we should respond to the challenges of this new era. Samantha Power’s book is [both] a biography of Vieira de Mello [and] a riveting account of the last four decades of global conflicts and our attempts to understand and resolve them… [T]he life of Sergio Vieira de Mello yields vital lessons for us today, providing us with his unique expertise on how to unite as nations, rebuild our international institutions, and establish peace and security in those parts of our world that need them the most.”

In an interview with Penguin Books about why she wrote Chasing the Flame, Ms. Power was asked what someone who desires to follow in Sergio’s footsteps should do. She said, "A surprising number of people long to make a difference, but a) don't know how, or b) know how, but don't believe it can make a difference. Yet an even more surprising number of people don't explore the opportunities (or the potential impact) before assuming there is no role they can usefully play… I hope [the book] inspires a desire to inject their wisdom into the public sector in some fashion, whether part-time or full-time.”

On December 6th, Ms. Power will speak on her book and issues of diplomacy and foreign policy at the annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum. In 1905, the Governor, US Navy and people of New Hampshire hosted Russian and Japanese diplomats on behalf of President Theodore Roosevelt for the peace conference to end the Russo-Japanese War. The result was the Treaty of Portsmouth, for which Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, presented on December 10, 1906. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, hosted by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire is an annual commemoration of that peace process. The Forum is held at Wentworth By the Sea Hotel (which housed both delegations to the peace conference) in the Grand Ballroom, where the Japanese hosted a reception for all participants to celebrate the successful conclusion of the negotiations.

The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was founded in 1994 to provide an opportunity for diplomats and scholars to explore diplomatic themes "in the spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.” Each year the Forum presents a speaker with a current theme and/or book. In 2007, Middle East envoy Ambassador Dennis Ross spoke on his book Statecraft. Previous Forum guests have included Ms. Power's Harvard colleague Graham Allison, John Curtis Perry and Eileen Babbitt from the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University and Russian and Japanese diplomats.  The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum also maintains a permanent and traveling exhibit (displayed at the New Hampshire State Archives in Concord and at the John Paul Jones House Museum) and the website that the Library of Congress cites as the best resource on the topic for its educational value and accessibility. Supported by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire, the Forum produces additional annual events including a Seacoast Wind Ensemble concert, New Hampshire Humanities Council lectures, Pontine Theatre play, Portsmouth Peace Treaty/Labor Parade, Beat Night and the annual bell-ringing commemoration of the Treaty signing on September 5th.

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum tickets are $15 per person ($7 for students/seniors) for the 3 pm speech at Wentworth. A book-signing will follow. Tickets are also available for a 1:30 pm pre-lecture reception and lunch with Ms. Power at Wentworth By the Sea. These are $60 per person and include the Forum speech. For tickets and information, contact: Stephanie Seacord, 603-772-1835 or visit

To learn more about the Treaty, scheduling an exhibit, NH Humanities Council lecture, or other programs, visit ###


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