United Nations History Project and Human Rights

The United Nations and international organizations in general are a growing field of historical interest and research. The United Nations History Project coordinated by Heidi J. S. Tworek, Lecturer on History and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University, provides a great starting point for every scholar who wants to research in UN archives and seeks to find online materials related to the United Nations. The website collates various research guides concerning the United Nations, offers syllabi and teaching material on UN topics as well as timelines, bibliographies and various sources on thirteen major UN history themes. The project seeks to connect scholars and archivists as well as to list existing academic networks for those working on similar topics. Thus, the project explicitly welcomes “contributions relating to archives, scholarly networks, and syllabi in English and other UN languages.”

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As part of the project’s archive guide one section provides various reports on the research experience of scholars working in UN archives. For instance my own contribution focuses on my positive experiences in the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. These archives comprise textual records, photographs, films and audio sources related to the work of the ICRC in conflicts around the world dating from the organization’s foundation to the present. In my view they are an invaluable resource for all historians working in the field of humanitarianism and human rights, regardless whether your research relates to the second half of the 19th or the 20th century. If you are interested to read more about my experience in the ICRC archives or the one of various colleagues working in other international archives you will our reports at: http://unhistoryproject.org/research/research_experiences.html

The issue of human rights is one of the thirteen major themes on UN history presented on the website. In the section http://unhistoryproject.org/themes/humanrights.html you can find an annotated bibliography and a timeline concerning human rights’ development as well as featured sources such as a text database on UN human rights documents. Enjoy exploring the United Nations History Project @: http://unhistoryproject.org/index.html


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