Yale-UN Oral History Project. (the Chronicle Library Shelf)

By Sutterlin, James; Krasno, Jean | UN Chronicle, June-August 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Yale-UN Oral History Project. (the Chronicle Library Shelf)


Sutterlin, James, Krasno, Jean, UN Chronicle


The Yale-United Nations Oral History Project was undertaken to gain a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes on political and security issues by talking to people who participated in major events in which the United Nations was involved. The goal is to record the experiences of those in key positions and make their views and understanding of events available to scholars and the general public for study and analysis. Some of those interviewed have written books about their experiences, but in most cases the interviews are the only record of specific events from the interviewee's point of view.

The research for the oral history project is purposefully clustered around specific issues, such as the founding of the United Nations, the Middle East wars, the Congo during the 1960s, the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, El Salvador, Cambodia, Namibia, the Iran/Iraq war, and the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) to investigate and eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, plus other topics. A concerted effort was made to interview people with different points of view in order to maintain a balanced interpretation of events.

The project was conducted in two stages: the first part, from 1989 to 1991, within the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, producing some 50 interviews; and the second, from 1996 until 2002, within the UN Studies at Yale, producing over 100 interviews. These were audiotaped, from which written transcripts were made. The interviewees were extremely cooperative, all believing that the United Nations is an extraordinary organization worthy of documentation, and each was asked to review the transcript and make any necessary corrections. The final versions, which include subject and name indexes and audio tapes, are on file at the UN Dag Hammarskjold and Yale University libraries, where they are available for research purposes.

The advantage of an oral history is that many of those interviewed will never write down their experiences or, if they do, may not give the personal accounts which emerged from the more relaxed conversational method undertaken through oral interviews, and therefore, much of their first-hand knowledge would be lost.

Many conversations and decisions are made informally and do not become part of the official record. This record, kept by the Government or the United Nations, may not include the behind-the-scene meetings, personal analyses and accounts, which are contained in the oral histories that may be the only source of certain information.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Yale-UN Oral History Project. (the Chronicle Library Shelf)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?