Bunche, Ralph

▪ American diplomat
in full  Ralph Johnson Bunche 
born Aug. 7, 1904, Detroit, Mich., U.S.
died Dec. 9, 1971, New York, N.Y.
 U.S. diplomat, a key member of the United Nations for more than two decades, and winner of the 1950 Nobel Prize for Peace for his successful negotiation of an Arab-Israeli truce in Palestine the previous year.

      Bunche worked his way through the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated in 1927. He also earned graduate degrees in government and international relations at Harvard University (1928, 1934) and studied in England and South Africa. In 1928 he joined the faculty of Howard University, Washington, D.C., where he set up a department of political science. Meanwhile, he traveled through French West Africa on a Rosenwald field fellowship, studying the administration of French Togoland, a mandated area, and Dahomey, a colony. He later did postdoctoral research at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and at the London School of Economics before returning to Africa for further studies in colonial policy. Between 1938 and 1940 he collaborated with Gunnar Myrdal (Myrdal, Gunnar), the Swedish sociologist, in the monumental study of U.S. race relations, published as An American Dilemma in 1944.

      During World War II Bunche served in the U.S. War Department, the Office of Strategic Services, and the State Department. He was active in the preliminary planning for the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference of 1945 and in 1947 joined the permanent UN Secretariat in New York as director of the new Trusteeship Department.

      Asked by Secretary General Trygve Lie to aid a UN special committee appointed to negotiate a settlement between warring Palestinian Arabs and Jews, he was thrust unexpectedly into the principal role when the chief mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, was assassinated in 1948. Bunche finally negotiated armistices between February and May 1949.

 Elevated in 1955 to the post of undersecretary and two years later to undersecretary for special political affairs, Bunche became chief troubleshooter for Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. One task he undertook was the UN program concerning peaceful uses of atomic energy. In 1956 he supervised the deployment of a 6,000-man UN neutral force in the area of the Suez Canal following the invasion of that area by British, French, and Israeli troops. In 1960 he again found himself in charge of UN peacekeeping machinery—this time in the Congo region. Finally, in 1964 he went to Cyprus to direct the 6,000 neutral troops that intervened between hostile Greek Cypriots and Turks.

      Attracting some criticism for seeming to neglect the Civil Rights Movement at home during the 1950s and '60s, Bunche began to speak out more directly on U.S. racial discrimination. In addition, though not in the best of health, he participated in the 1965 civil rights marches in both Selma and Montgomery, Ala., and also served as a board member for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 22 years. Ralph J. Bunche: Selected Speeches and Writings was published in 1995.

Additional Reading
Peggy Mann, Ralph Bunche, UN Peacemaker (1975); Benjamin Rivlin (ed.), Ralph Bunche: The Man and His Times (1990); Brian Urquhart, Ralph Bunche: An American Life (1993).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bunche, Ralph — (1904–71)    US Nobel laureate, 1950. The grandson of an American Negro slave, Bunche was the senior US official in the United Nations Secretariat. After the murder of Count BERNADOTTE in 1948, Bunche carried on as acting Palestine mediator. He… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Bunche, Ralph J. — ► (1904 71) Abogado, sociólogo y político estadounidense. Fue premio Nobel de la Paz en 1950 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bunche,Ralph Johnson — Bunche (bŭnch), Ralph Johnson. 1904 1971. American diplomat. He won the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the United Nations Palestine Commission. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bunche, Ralph Johnson — (1903 1971)    Born in Detroit, Ralph Bunche moved first to Albuquerque with his family in 1914, and then to Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1927 with a major in international relations. Bunche… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Bunche, Ralph (Johnson) — (7 ago. 1904, Detroit, Mich., EE.UU.–9 dic. 1971, Nueva York, N.Y.). Diplomático estadounidense. Obtuvo varios grados académicos en la Universidad de Harvard y desde 1928 fue profesor en la Universidad de Howard. Estudió política colonial en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bunche, Ralph (Johnson) — born Aug. 7, 1904, Detroit, Mich., U.S. died Dec. 9, 1971, New York, N.Y. U.S. diplomat. He earned graduate degrees at Harvard University and taught at Howard University from 1928. After studying colonial policy in Africa, he collaborated with… …   Universalium

  • Bunche, Ralph (Johnson) —  (1904–1971) American statesman; one of the founders of the United Nations. Awarded Nobel Peace Prize (1950) …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Bunche — Bunche, Ralph J …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ralph Bunche — at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Born August 7, 1903(1903 08 07) Detroit, Michigan …   Wikipedia

  • Bunche — Ralph J. Bunche Ralph Johnson Bunche (* 7. August 1904 in Detroit, Michigan, USA; † 9. Dezember 1971 in New York, N.Y.) war ein US amerikanischer Diplomat und Bürgerrechtler. Er erhielt den Spingarn Prize durch den …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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