United Nations Career Records Project (UNCRP)


The United Nations Career Records Project (UNCRP) was established in 1989 as a joint undertaking of the British Association of Former United Nations Civil Servants (BAFUNCS)  and the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, with the aim of establishing a collection of career and other records of former UN staff, as well as of those in diplomatic, technical, military or non-governmental organisation service linked to the UN system. Not all of the contributors are British, although the majority are.

The Objectives of the UNCRP

  1. To encourage BAFUNCS members – present and potential –  as well as others to contribute to the UNCRP in the form of completed questionnaires, memoirs, papers, reports, significant letters, and other documents they may have prepared, together with CVs, photos, etc.

  2. To make accessible UNCRP resources to a wider public of researchers, students, officials, staff of international organisations, NGOs and family members. They are designed to both facilitate knowledge of the past as well as learn lessons for the future. These resources also provide insight into the careers, experiences and writings of former United Nations staff, as well as into the internal workings of the United Nations System, and thus complement the United Nations’ archives of official documents.

Request for Contributions

Contributions are sought from all former UN staff and their spouses so as to strengthen the historical and personal records of former British, and other, UN staff members.  This applies to both former Professional as well as General Service staff. In order to strengthen the UNCRP collection all former UN staff are requested to consider contributing to it in any of the following ways:

  1. Completing a simple questionnaire
  2. Providing a curriculum vitae (CV)
  3. Submitting memoirs, in any style, format or length
  4. Providing photos of special events, with captions
  5. Providing unpublished papers, manuscripts, letters, UN reports, etc.
  6. Oral interview recordings (tape, CD)

Contributions should preferably be submitted electronically, but hard copy material is also welcome. Contributors are invited to indicate programmes and projects etc. with which they were associated, and to highlight lessons from their experience. The experiences of spouses are also particularly appreciated. Potential contributors may stipulate that papers may be closed for a period of years on the grounds of confidentiality. Contributors and their descendants retain ownership of their personal copyright even while donating their material

A key element of the above is the completion of a standard questionnaire which is up-dated periodically according to needs, and is also available from the UNCRP Coordinator, Michael Askwith (career.records@bafuncs.org) who will send you, if necessary, a hard copy of the UNCRP questionnaire, together with Notes on Completing it and Guidelines for Contributions.

It is also possible to record your contributions on tape, as part of an “oral history”.  If this approach is of interest, please contact the UNCRP: career-records@bafuncs.org

UNCRP Guide for Researchers

The contributions now number more than 500.   To make the Project better known and facilitate researchers’ access to this material, a Guide to the Project was published in 2017, in the main as an e-book.  Simply clicking here will bring up the whole Guide: searching the Index of Keywords (pp. 135-140) for the topic of your interest will in turn bring up the related entry numbers where, under each entry, you can find a brief career summary and short description of the material the person has contributed to the Project.

You can read of ‘Mohicans’ like Walter Hoffmann and Bill Tanzer; of the malariologist Jim Cullen’s conscious exposure of his arms and thighs to hungry mosquitoes; Colin Everard’s novels on air safety, based on his time with ICAO; Dame Iris Murdoch’s work for UNRRA; autobiographies by George Bishop, Duncan Forbes, Kenneth Sargent and Martin Barber among others; Brigadier Michael Harbottle’s proposals for peace-making roles for the world’s armies; Molly Bruce’s work with Eleanor Roosevelt for women’s and human rights.

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