Herman T. Salton

Associate Professor
Asian University for Women


In this Book Talk podcast, host Alistair Edgar is joined by Herman Salton to discuss his book Dangerous Diplomacy: Bureaucracy, Power Politics, and the Role of the UN Secretariat in Rwanda. Drawing on access to the archives of Sir Marrack Goulding (1936–2010), former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Dangerous Diplomacy considers the role of the UN Secretariat during the Rwandan genocide. Salton’s access to the archive provided a rich and unusual resource for this book as he was the first individual to study the archive after Goulding’s death, and found an extensive range of materials containing both personal and professional documents from Goulding’s 40-year career. Balancing Goulding’s archive with the other resources available on the Rwandan genocide, Salton’s book provides a detailed analysis of functioning—or dis-functioning—of the UN Secretariat at the time. Both Goulding’s records and Salton’s broader research illustrate the division between the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and Dangerous Diplomacy highlights the role such a divide had in the Rwandan operations. Considering the current situation and the potential for UN reform, Salton concludes by emphasizing the importance of the independence of the international civil service and advising against the separation of peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Mirroring the earlier conversation about DPA and DPKO, Salton stresses that peacebuilding and peacekeeping are two concepts that he feels are fluid and should not be divided.


About the Author
Herman T. Salton is Associate Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at the Asian University for Women, a liberal arts college in Chittagong, Bangladesh, with a support foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts that promotes gender equality and draws students from Asia and the Middle-East. He teaches and publishes in the areas of international politics, international law, human rights, and the United Nations.

Recorded March 2018