There are a number of organizations that are working to promote the work of the United Nations. Below are links to some of those organizations and projects.

Fifty Years of the International Social Science Council
This brief history follows the ISSC through its first 50 years, showing how its relation to UNESCO has changed and it has developed its own programme, though one subject to many practical constraints. Relations with different nations’ representatives and with its component learned societies are illustrated, and it is shown how both international politics and individual interests and networks have played a role.

International Labour Organization (ILO) Century Project
In 2019 the ILO will complete its first century. This project aims to ensure that it reaches the centenary with as complete as possible an understanding of the success achieved to date and the conditions for that success. It will show how the ILO has adapted its instruments to changing global economic, social and political conditions. It will examine the importance of its distinctive tripartite framework, in which employers and workers are represented alongside governments, as a crucial factor in its ability to build a sustainable policy agenda, and the roles played by each of these actors. It will explore the genesis of the key ideas that the ILO has nurtured, and how they have come to influence global and national policy. It will look at the contributions of key figures within the Organization – the nine Directors-General, other influential staff members of the Office, leading personalities among its constituents. Please click here to see the ILO Century Project interview of UNIHP Co-director Louis Emmerij.

History of ISA: 1948-1997
Written by Jennifer Platt and published in 1998 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the International Sociological Association, this is a first book publication covering various aspects of ISA history. Illustrated with original photographs and congress posters it offers an attractive overview of a life of an international organization. Reading the history of the ISA may help you to reflect on the definitional evolution of what is included within the boundaries of sociology. This brief history of the International Sociological Association (ISA) shows how it has developed over its first 50 years, and relates this to the broader social context whether in UNESCO or in expanding world sociology. A quantity of data on such matters as the characteristics of participants and of research activities is given, and the patterns of internationalism are discussed. To purchase contact:

Oral History Project of the Association of Former WHO Staff (AFSM)
In 2005, the Association of Former WHO Staff Members began a project designed to gather the testimonies of distinguished former staff members in order to build up WHO's collective memory and make these historic resources available to researchers.

Professional Life Narrative of Paul Berthoud
This project tells the Professional Life Narrative of UNIHP interviewee Paul Berthoud, who has worked for the United Nations from 1951 to 1996. He served until retirement in 1983 in various positions in New York, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Geneva, whereupon he engaged in consultancies and training activities worldwide. His work for the United Nations has involved him in the legal, social, economic and administative fields, as well as in the servicing of intergovernmental meetings.
Please click here to download excerpts from Paul Berthoud's letters from New York to his family, 1951-1955.

UNDP History Project
Craig N. Murphy was working for the United Nations Development Programme on an official history, The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? published by Cambridge University Press in 2006 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of UNDP's official founding and the 60th anniversary of the UN's first discussions on technical assistance.

UNESCO History Project
This project launched by the Director-General of UNESCO on 30th April 2004 to support research on UNESCO’s history and to encourage critical and multidisciplinary reflection on the history of the UN agency and its past orientations, activities and results. For more information, please consult

UNESCO Association of Former Staff Members
AFUS carries out research and reflection on UNESCO's past, present and future, and has a program of publication.

UNHCR and the Global Cold War, 1971-1984
A joint research and archival project between the Graduate Institute of International Studies (GIIS) and the United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) with funding from the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN).

UNICEF History Project and remote access process
UNICEF's history project was launched in 1982 to preserve the organization's historical record and capture ongoing experience.  It is now coordinated by UNICEF's Strategic Information Section, Division of Policy and Planning.  In conjunction with various programme activities and two major world summits on children's issues in 1990 and 2002, UNICEF also began to record the personal experiences of a few pivotal UNICEF staff. These interviews along with other key documents, executive statements and speeches provide contextual "evidence" of activities as well as lessons learned for future initiatives. They also convey the story behind the events surrounding the summits and special events enlivened by personal perspective.  For more information consult:, an informal site for researchers that is used in place of sending electronic files via e-mail. The site has grown based on researcher interest in specific subjects and the resources available to post discovered material in electronic form. Some items on the informal site may be proposed for inclusion in a subsection of the official UNICEF site.

United Nations Oral History Project at Yale University
United Nations Studies at Yale has undertaken an oral history study to preserve the recollections of those involved in international political developments in which the United Nations has played a role. The current project is a continuation of a previous study undertaken under the auspices of Yale University between 1989-1991. It supplements the first study that covered some of the important developments in the earlier history of the United Nations. These interviews cover primarily issues of peace and security.

UN in Kenya History Project
The United Nations Country Team in Kenya under the leadership of UNDP in cooperation with the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi, is in the process of carrying out a study titled "The role of UN in Kenya's Socio-Economic Development: A Historical Assessment (1964-2004)". The objective of the study is to analyse Kenya's Socio-Economic development for the past 40 years and the role played by the United Nations in this historical period. The outcome of this project is expected to be a publication whose launch, next year, will be part of the celebrations of UN's 40th anniversary in Kenya. The study is planned to run from March through to September 2003. For more information: The Role of the United Nations in Kenya's Socio-Economic Development: A Historic Assessment (1964-2003).

World Academy of Art and Science Survey
In 2006, as part of a joint collaboration between Louis Emmerij and Robert Berg, a questionnaire was sent to Fellows of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences on what should be the shape and content of the UN’s intellectual agenda. The findings were discussed in a report, which was circulated to the new Secretary-General, UN delegations, other interested scholars, and the full membership of the Academy. Please click here to download the report.

United Nations Intellectual History Project
United Nations Intellectual History Project

Briefing Notes
Oral History Interviews
Seminars & Conferences
Progress Reports
Reading List
Related Projects

Ralph Bunch Institute for International Studies