Press Release: The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center Hosts the Ralph Bunche Centenary Commemoration Secretariat

August 7, 2003 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Laureate, international civil servant, scholar, and civil rights pioneer, Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche. To honor Bunche's life and emphasize the relevance of his legacy, a year-long international commemoration will take place through August 2004, with The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies (RBIIS) at The CUNY Graduate Center hosting the centenary Secretariat, which serves as catalyst and motivators for commemorative events in the United States and around the world.

An exhibit honoring the achievements of Dr. Bunche opened on August 7 at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Studies. The United Nations will launch its own exhibit that alternates text, photographic images, and objects related to the life and accomplishments of Dr. Bunche on October 8, and this exhibit will come to The CUNY Graduate Center on December 10, 2003. It will later travel to the Queens Museum of Art where it will be complemented with contemporary artwork and additional historical artifacts. Information and a full calendar of events about the educational outreach programs, conferences, symposiums, lectures, concerts, and special UN Day Celebrations that will be held locally and internationally can be found here:

Ralph Bunche (1903-1971) left a rich legacy of achievements wherever his career took him РUCLA, Harvard University, Howard University, field research in Africa, the Office of Strategic Services, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations. Bunche was propelled into the international limelight in 1950 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful role as UN Mediator in the negotiations that led to the armistice between Israel and its four Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Prior to this, Bunche made his mark as a scholar-activist, be it in the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. or against colonialism in Africa. He became a chief troubleshooter for peace, called upon by UN Secretaries-General Lie, Hammarskjöld, and U Thant.

The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The CUNY Graduate Center continues to honor the Bunche legacy by promoting research, graduate training, and public education about international affairs and solutions to contemporary global problems. Founded in 1973 as the Ralph Bunche Institute on the United Nations, it was renamed in 2001 and given a broader inter-disciplinary scope with the mandate to support and further strengthen international studies at The Graduate Center. Under the directorship of Thomas G. Weiss, presidential professor of Political Science, the Institute provides a congenial and inter-disciplinary setting for the activities by core and affiliated faculty and visiting scholars with international portfolios and research; and it facilitates the mentoring of graduate students. Further information about the Institute can be found at:

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, The Graduate Center draws its faculty of more than 1,600 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges and cultural and scientific institutions throughout New York City. According to the most recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions. Further information can be found at:

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2003

Category: Press Room | Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies