UN Voices: The Struggle for Development and Social Justice

In This Review

UN Voices: The Struggle for Development and Social Justice

Edited by Thomas G. Weiss, Tatiana Carayannis, Louis Emmerij
Indiana University Press, 2005
544 pp. $75.00

This fascinating account of the UN's half century of involvement in economic and social development weaves together the personal stories and recollections of 73 UN civil servants and experts. The high politics of the Security Council are well known, but this rich oral history offers a rare glimpse at the "second UN" -- the semi-independent secretariats and professionals who conduct research, promote policy ideas, and shape critical programs. The narrative traces the evolution of UN institutions and activities from the 1945 founding through the rise of trade and development commissions and up to the proliferation of conferences on human rights, gender, the environment, and globalization. What is more interesting, it provides an absorbing intellectual history of the UN's efforts to translate ideas about sustainability, basic human needs, human security, and "the responsibility to protect" into programmatic forms of international cooperation. This book, an invaluable resource for both UN reformers and historians seeking to understand the UN's role in world affairs, shows convincingly that in the international marketplace of ideas, the UN has been a major commercial center.

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