Professor Craig Murphy Writes
History of United Nations Development Programme
Book Celebrates U.N.’s 60th Anniversary
on Dec. 5
Nov. 16, 2006
Mass. -- In his new book, The United Nations Development
Programme: A Better Way? (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Craig Murphy,
the M. Margaret Ball Professor of International Relations at
Wellesley College, traces the history of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), the central network coordinating U.N. work
in more than 160 developing countries. The book commemorates
the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.
The book covers the
UNDP’s organizational structure and
mission, its relationship to multilateral financial institutions
and the development of its doctrines. Murphy’s work involved
hundreds of interviews and archival work in more than 30 countries.
Looking back on the
massive project, Murphy said he enjoyed “seeing
a bit of the U.N. very ‘up close,’ a sort of ‘West
Wing’ view of the U.N. system, and a huge contrast to most
of my research work, which was in the field in the poorest countries.”
To produce the book, Murphy was chosen from a field of international
experts by U.N. Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown more
than two years ago.
“I got a phone call, somewhat out of the blue, in February
2004 asking me if I would be interested in applying for the post,” Murphy
said. “They interviewed quite a range of people—scholars,
journalists and people with long careers of ‘on the ground’ development
work—from at least four continents. In any event, I was somewhat
surprised that they chose me, someone from the U.S., but apparently
I had some fairly strong supporters among a group of economists
who had been involved with the U.N.'s development work over many
At the book’s launch at the U.N. headquarters in New York
City last month, Murphy talked about the organization’s historic
anniversary coming up next month.
“Sixty years ago, on Dec. 5, 1946, Fiorello LaGuardia, the
Republican from New York, made an impassioned speech to the first
session of the U.N.’s Second Committee. He urged the U.N.
to keep the promise made to people of Africa, Asia and Latin America
during the Second World War by setting up permanent programs to
bring technical assistance in all fields to all parts of the developing
world. UNDP is what kept that promise.”
In the book, Murphy argues that the founding principles of the
UNDP remain as relevant today, in a world divided by terrorism,
as they were in the aftermath of World War II. He finds its fundamental
problems, including the opposition of traditionally isolationist
forces in the industrialized world, have remained equally constant.
“Students of development, the U.N. and international relations
have waited a long time for this authoritative examination of the
UNDP,” said Thomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor, CUNY
Graduate Center, and co-director, U.N. Intellectual History Project. “Informative,
provocative, and controversial—this book provides the largest
remaining missing piece in the historical puzzle of post-war multilateralism.”
Murphy joined the Wellesley College faculty in 1981. He teaches
courses in comparative politics, international relations, north/south
relations and peace studies. He did his undergraduate work at Grinnell
College in Iowa, the Commonwealth Institute in London and the University
of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He completed his graduate
work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the
Canadian Peace Research Institute.
At Wellesley, he has twice served as director of the Peace Studies
program and directed or co-directed the International Relations
Program for 10 years. He has served as chair of the political science
department and as director of the social sciences.
Another major study by Murphy, International Organization and
Industrial Change: Global Governance since 1850, explores the impact of global-level
international agencies on the world economy. His other recent books
include Global Institutions, Marginalization, and Development and
edited volumes Egalitarian Politics in an Age of Globalization
and International Relations and the New Inequality (with Mustapha
Murphy is the author, co-author or co-editor of three earlier
books as well as special issues of the journals Development and
Review of International Political Economy. His articles have appeared
in many policy and scholarly journals.
He was a founding editor of the international public policy journal,
Global Governance, which received the 1996 award of the American
Association of Publishers for the best new journal in the social
sciences, management and the humanities. He has served as president
of the International Studies Association, the professional association
of scholars of international relations, and as chair of the Academic
Council on the U.N. System.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an
excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference
in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300
undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For
more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.