The United Nations Career Records Project (UNCRP) was set up in 1989 with the aim of constructing an archive of recollections and journals relating to the careers of UN officials from throughout the organization, including its many specialized agencies.
The resulting collection includes a wealth of contributions from workers in the field, peacekeeping forces and administrative staff, as well as material from national representatives to the UN and from Non-Governmental Organization (the Anti-Slavery Society and the Quakers) members involved in UN work. Contributions take the form of contemporaneous papers, memoirs and interviews (recordings and transcripts), almost all of which are available for consultation. The project remains open for further contributions. For ease of access full details of the collection are kept on a computer database, and a hard copy catalogue is also available. Further information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org
2005 sees the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations, and discussions of the report of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. In Oxford these two aspects of the UN's past history and future development were explored in a day-long programme devised and co-hosted by the Bodleian Library and the Department of Politics, Centre for International studies.
The UN at 60: Future Directions and Past Recollections took place on Friday, 20 May. The morning session, held in Convocation House in the Old Bodleian, provided a forum for members of the British Association Former UN Civil Servants (BAFUNCS), university and local branches of the UN Association, the academic community, and others, to outline what they held to be the key moments in either their careers (where applicable) of the history of the UN. Participants were invited to focus on the recent past, the years between the end of the first phase of the UNCRP in 1993 and the start of the first Iraq War in 2002.
The event was recorded and a copy of the subsequent transcription was added to the library's holdings of UN-related material. A diverse range of topics were recalled including climate change, the erosion of state sovereignty, peace-keeping, human development, technical assistance, and the volunteer programme; places remembered included Nigeria, Rio, Guatamala, Turkey, and Kashmir. The morning session ended with a reception hosted by Blackwell's bookshop.
Further details on the morning session, including images, audio extracts with transcripts are available. A copy of the full, edited transcripts is available in the Special Collections Reading Room: MS. Eng. 7221.
In the afternoon, several participants attended "A More Secure World: Our Shared Resposibility" roundtable on the report of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, held in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford.
In addition to the papers of the UNCRP, the Bodleian holds a number of major collections relating to the history of the UN. These include the papers of Sir Isiah Berlin (1909-97), Sidney Dell (1918-90), Baroness (Evelyn) Emmet (1899-1980), Gilbert Murray (1866-1957), George Ivan Smith (1915-95) and Sir Roger Makins (later Lord Sherfield) (1904-96), and many individual letters.
Information from the Refugees Studies Programme is available from Queen Elizabeth House, the Centre for Development Studies in the University of Oxford.