The Origins of UNICEF, 1946-1953

The Origins of UNICEF, 1946-1953

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The Origins of UNICEF traces the history of the founding of the world's most well-known and often controversial relief aid organization for children. UNICEF modeled itself after several national organizations as well as some of the early twentieth-century transnational and international relief aid organizations, catering to a clientele that many observers claimed would be impossible to resist or ignore. In only a few years, UNICEF's programs provided relief aid to millions of children in locations around the globe, but the atmosphere of post-war cooperation, quickly supplanted by Cold War tensions, caused UNICEF's efforts to be scrutinized lest they be too closely aligned with either the United States or the Soviet Bloc. UNICEF remains one of the most highly regarded and effective child relief-aid organizations in the world. The story of its founding and its first years as an aid organization provide insight into how an international, apolitical, philanthropic organization must maneuver through political and cultural tensions in order to achieve its goal of mitigating human suffering.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 182 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 15.24mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 14 black & white illustrations
  • 0739176242
  • 9780739176245

Review quote

The goal of humanitarian organizations is obviously to relieve suffering, but their work is also shaped by politics and other ideological considerations. Morris chronicles the establishment and early years of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the influence of the ideas and practices about aid to children and mothers inherited from its predecessor charities, the Commission for Relief in Belgium and Save the Children, as well as the emergence of the Cold War. The leadership of the first executive director, Maurice Pate; the roles of Dr. Martha Eliot and other personnel; interactions with related agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization; and efforts to support US foreign policy in Europe to secure crucial funding are explored. After achieving success in the immediate postwar period with relief programs, including supplemental feeding, clothing distribution, and vaccinations and other medical care, UNICEF gained permanent status within the UN in 1953 and shifted its focus to international development programs geared to children while continuing to provide aid to them in regions affected by conflict. For 20th-century history and humanitarian studies collections. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. CHOICE The Origins of UNICEF, 1946-1953 is an important analysis of global organization in the Cold War era. In tracing UNICEF's evolution from temporary institution to permanent status, Morris shows us not just how international politics, and particularly US policy, influenced this organization, but how US and Western cultural concepts of the family were packaged with relief work. Morris' book is a reminder that even the most seemingly apolitical gestures of philanthropy are laden with political and cultural meaning. -- Krista Sigler, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College Jennifer Morris takes us back to the origins of a relief organization dedicated to the noblest of causes: the health of children and their mothers. We see inside UNICEF's creation after World War II. Dr. Morris also has great coverage of the organization's first director, Maurice Pate. It's important we know this history as the struggle for the basic rights of nutrition and health for children and mothers continues to this day. -- William Lambers, expert on the UN and world hunger, and author of Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World
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About Jennifer M. Morris

Jennifer M. Morris is associate professor of European, world, and women's history at Mount St. Joseph University.
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Table of contents

Chapter One: Charity for Children Chapter Two: Continuing the Tradition: The United Nations and Postwar Relief for Children, 1946 Chapter Three: A Plan of Work Chapter Four: Feeding Children Chapter Five: Medical Treatment for Children Chapter Six: Continuing the Work for Children
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