Dr. Ralph J. Bunche
was born on August 7, 1904. He was the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He received it in 1950 for negotiating a cease-fire armistic between Israelis and Arabs during the war which followed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
A graduate of UCLA in 1927, Bunche earned a PhD from Harvard in 1934 in Government and International Relations. Ralph Bunche was a social scientist and professor. After earning his MA at Harvard, Bunche joined the faculty of Howard University in 1928 and founded the Political Science Department in 1929,teaching generations of students to think globally, strategically and intentionally about the world in which they lived and the possibilities and implications for the future. In 1939 he joined the staff of the Swedish Social Scientist Gunnar Myrdal, who was studying racial segregation in the US. Bunche conducted research in the south and analyzed data for the resulting book, The American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and American Democracy, by Gunnar Myrdal (1939).
in 1941, Dr. Bunche began working for the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), prior to the end of World War II Bunche joined the State Department in 1944 and worked on issues of colonalism in West African states. he played an essential role in the creation of the United Nations. In 1945, he served as an advisor to the us delegation at the 1945 San Francisco conference and assisted with the drafting of key chapters of the United Nations charter, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. in 1946, Ralph Bunche went into un service as the director of the trusteeship division, and in the following year secretary-general Trygve Lie sent him to the Middle East to help to devise a plan for dividing Palestine between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs rejected the un resolution concerning a jewish state, and went to war with Israel. When the chief un negotiator Folke Bernadotte was assassinated in the autumn of 1948, Ralph Bunche replaced him. In the following year he succeeded in bringing about an armistice agreement between Israel and four Arab states, after tough negotiations.
In 1953-1954, Dr. Bunche served as the President of the American Political Science Association (APSA). In 1954, he was appointed at the under-secretary general of the United Nations, where he lead peace-keeping initatives and missions until the mid -1960s. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated him as a recipient of the Medal of Freedom. President Lyndon Baines Johnson awarded him with the honor. Dr. Bunche championed civil and human rights both in the us and internationally. He believed in “the essential goodness of all people, and that no problem in human relations is insoluble. Dr. Bunche marched with Dr. King in the 1963 March on Washington and in the 1965 during the Selma to Montgomery March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Due to illness, Dr. Bunche retired from the UN in 1971. He died later that year on December 9, 1971.