The Gemini 3 Group Lecture
For many years, opinion polls told us that Colin Powell was the most trusted and admired person in this country, greeted like a rock star as he traveled around the world. The son of immigrants, he rose to become the president’s national security adviser, the most senior officer in the U.S. military, and the Secretary of State. The first person of color to hold any of those jobs, he seemed the vanguard of the post-racial state America hoped to achieve. Yet Powell’s life could only have happened at a particular time in our history, to a particular kind of Black man--one whose formative experiences were far different from those of most African Americans; who rose through a U.S. military in the midst of cultural and structural changes that redounded in his favor; and whose abilities both to lead, and to navigate successfully through a sometimes hostile world made him singularly successful in a political system that was increasingly riven with nastiness and confrontation. Those navigation skills ultimately contributed to his downfall in office, as his belief in being a good soldier led him to become the public face of an invasion of Iraq launched on a lie.
Speaker: Karen DeYoung
Karen DeYoung is Senior National Security Correspondent and an Associate Editor of The Washington Post. In more than four decades at the paper, she has served as bureau chief in Latin America and in London and reported in many other parts of the world, as well as correspondent covering the White House, US foreign policy, the intelligence community, and overall national security, and as assistant managing editor for national news, national editor and foreign editor.
DeYoung has been a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is the author of SOLDIER: The Life of Colin Powell, published in 2006 by Knopf.
She is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Edward Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting, Sigma Delta Chi awards for both investigative and foreign reporting, the Overseas Press Club award for international affairs reporting, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize awarded to The Washington Post team for national coverage of the war on terrorism, and was a 2013 Pulitzer finalist for reports about the U.S. use of drones for targeted killings.