Bob Reinalda, “The Further Design of International Secretariats by Frontierspersons” Panel 21

This exploratory paper looks at the creation of international organizations. It does not start from the states that set up organizations but from the biographical literature on executive heads. It focuses on the roles of the first executive heads who set up the bureaucracy, or international secretariat, and launch the organization’s first activities and policy processes. The first section of the paper discusses ideas about the further design of organizations after the signing of the constitution in conjunction with the fact that in the constitutions relatively little is written about the secretariat and its staff. It then refers to the IO BIO Project, which has published entries with short life and career descriptions of 22 first executive heads, also called frontierspersons. The next section examines two executive heads of nineteenth-century international organizations, five heads from the League of Nations System, twelve heads from the United Nations System and three more heads of some non-UN organizations and is followed by a conclusion about the further design of these international organizations.

Dr. Bob Reinalda is Senior Researcher at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He has published the Routledge History of International Organizations: From 1815 to the Present Day (2009) and has edited the Ashgate Research Companion to Non-State Actors (2011) and the Routledge Handbook of International Organization (2013). Together with Kent J. Kille, The College of Wooster, he is editor of IO BIO, the Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries-General of International Organizations.

Download the Paper