Wellesley Professor Craig Murphy Writes
History of United Nations Development Programme

New Book Celebrates U.N.’s 60th Anniversary on Dec. 5

For immediate release:
Nov. 16, 2006
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, 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 years.”

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 Kamal Pasha).

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.