Foreword
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Foreword It is surprising that there is no comprehensive history of the United Nations family of organizations. True, a few of the UN funds and specialized agencies have written or are in the process of writing their institutional histories . But this is mostly a recent endeavor and, indeed, it is no more than what should be expected of all public organizations, especially internationally accountable ones, along with enhanced efforts to organize their archives. We are all aware that institutions tend to put forward the best parts of their stories , but independent researchers should also document and analyze dispassionately institutional shortcomings as well as achievements. All this is an essential part of the record of international governance during the last halfcentury . Faced with this major omission—which has substantial implications for the academic and policy literatures—we decided to undertake the task of beginning to write an intellectual history, that is, a history of the ideas launched or nurtured by the United Nations. Observers should not be put off by what may strike them as a puffed-up billing. The working assumption behind this effort is straightforward: ideas and concepts are a main driving force in human progress, and they arguably have been one of the most important contributions of the world organization. The United Nations Intellectual History Project (UNIHP) was launched in  as an independent research effort based in the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. The project also maintains a liaison office in Geneva.We are grateful for the enthusiastic backing from the Secretary-General and other staff and governments within the UN system. Generous financial support from five foundations and eight governments ensures total intellectual and financial independence.Details of this and other aspects of the project can be found at our web site: www.unhistory.org. The work of the UN can be divided into two broad categories: economic and social development,on the one hand,and peace and security,on the other. vii The UNIHP is committed to produce fourteen volumes on major themes in the first arena and a further three volumes if sufficient resources can be mobilized for the latter. All these volumes will be published in a series by Indiana University Press. In addition, the Project has also completed an oral history collection of some seventy-five lengthy interviews of persons who have played major roles in launching and nurturing UN ideas—and sometimes in hindering them! Extracts from these interviews will be published in  in UN Ideas: Voices from the Trenches and Turrets. Authors of the Project’s various volumes, including this one, have drawn on these interviews to highlight substantive points made in their texts. Full transcripts of the oral histories will be disseminated in electronic form at the end of the Project to facilitate work by other researchers and interested persons worldwide. There is no single way to organize research and certainly not for such an ambitious project as this one. The way that we have structured this history is to select topics—ranging from trade and finance to human rights, from transnational corporations to development assistance, from gender to sustainability—to tease out the history of ideas under each of these topical headings. We have selected world-class experts for each topic, but each has been given freedom and responsibility to organize their own digging, analysis , and presentation. Guidance from ourselves as the project directors as well as from peer review groups is provided to ensure accuracy and fairness in depicting where the ideas came from, what happened to them within the UN system, and what happened afterward. The present volume is a crucial input in understanding how trade, finance, and development have been a main arena for the North-South encounter. This volume is written by John Toye and Richard Toye—a well-known development economist with a passion for history and a bona fide economic historian, respectively , who happen to be father and son. And how clearly this professional history background that runs through the Toye family comes out in the following pages! The authors have searched through UN archives in Geneva, New York, and Santiago de Chile. They have scoured personal files of UN officials— alive and dead—in Oxford, Washington, and other places. A large part of the study is woven around seven creative personalities who have put their stamp on the topic under consideration during the first quartercentury of the UN, thus dramatizing...


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