CCNY, Yale Team Up To Organize Papers Of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan And Make Them Accessible To Scholars

NEW YORK, November 14, 2005 – The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at The City College of New York (CCNY) and United Nations History Project at Yale University will jointly create an organized historic record of selected official papers of United Nation Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The project will officially begin at the end of the Secretary-General’s second term, which will be completed on December 31, 2006.

Planning for the project began with a kickoff meeting Friday, November 11, at the Pocantico Conference of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Family estate in Tarrytown. Organizing and indexing the papers for publication will make the breadth and depth of the Secretary-General’s work accessible for scholarly research and seminar discussions.

“Making Kofi Annan’s papers available to scholars and policy makers opens an incredible window to understanding all of the controversies and issues of his 10 years in office,” said Jean E. Krasno, Yolanda Moses Scholar and Adjunct Professor at CCNY and a Fellow in International Security Studies and United Nations Studies at Yale.

“The project will enable researchers to carefully examine how Secretary-General Annan’s role as a peace maker evolved and how he used his office to set goals for the international community to address some of the underlying conditions contributing to disputes and outbreaks of conflict around the world.”

Dr. Krasno, who will serve as the principal investigator for the project, previously helped organize and archive the papers of U.N. Secretary-General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. She will be advised by Charles Hill and Bruce Russett at Yale. Dr. Hill organized Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s papers for publication. The physical work of the project will take place at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at City College.

The papers to be included in the project will be selected from the Secretary-General’s “official” records and will include speeches, public statements, letters and other documents chosen at the Secretary-General’s discretion. As director of the project, Dr. Krasno will conduct the selection process with guidance from an advisory council of scholars from Yale, CCNY, other universities and U.N. officials, and in accordance with the norms established by the International Council on Archives.

When the organization project is complete, the research team, which will include several CCNY graduate students, will have produced four end products:

A five-volume, bound set of papers organized in chronological order to be published by a professional publisher or university press.
A subject searchable CD ROM.
A web-based collection with word and phrase search capability.
A loose-leaf archival collection of the copies of the selected papers to be deposited in the Yale University Archives Library.
In keeping with United Nations policy, the “original” papers will be packed and stored in the U.N.’s archives after Secretary-General Annan’s current term expires January 1, 2007. The project will work with “copies” of the selected documents.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our graduate students,” said Professor Vincent Boudreau, Director of the Colin Powell Center and Chair of the CCNY Political Science Department. “Not only will they get the first look at this extensive archive of material on the work of the United Nations, but through the process of organizing the materials they will gain tremendous insight into the major issues of Kofi Annan’s tenure.”

The planning and preliminary coding phase is expected to run through December 2006. During this time, Dr. Krasno and her team will establish methodologies for coding, document selection and determining the indexing and search engine design. In addition, City College graduate students will be trained to read and code some documents that are currently in the public domain.

During the second phase, which will run from January 2007 through December 2008, the team will read and analyze approximately 10,000 pages of documents to determine whether they merit inclusion and to code them by subject. When the work is complete, scholars and interested policy makers will be able to search the documents by subject related to specific issues, such as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Millennium Goals and so forth.

The bulk of the work will be done at The City College, with CCNY graduate students working as researchers under Dr. Krasno’s supervision. In addition, Several Yale University faculty members, including Professors Charles Hill, Paul Kennedy and James Sutterlin, will provide expert advice on substantive aspects of the project and the methodology for creating the database and subject search technology. Because many of the documents cannot be removed from U.N. premises, they will be scanned at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.

The project has a $411,000 budget and is to be funded through contributions from foundations and private individuals.

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