Never Learn to Type: A Woman at the United Nations

Author(s): Margaret Joan Anstee


A fascinating account of a remarkable life that took the author, through hard work and determination, from rural England to the highest ranks of the United Nations Dame Margaret Anstee was born in the 1920s to a poor family in rural Essex. With the support of her parents and through her own determination, she graduated from Cambridge with first class honours, and entered the Foreign Office where she worked with the spy Donald Maclean shortly before his defection with Guy Burgess. Her career here ended as was customary at the time, when she married a diplomat and was posted to Singapore. As the marriage began to fail Margaret accepted a job at the United Nations in order to earn her fare back to England. It was the start of a career that was to push the boundaries at every step. She became the first woman to be posted to her beloved South America, where she drove through the Andes in her VW Beetle, she headed up the first Government think tank during Harold Wilson?s Government and she was the first woman to break the glass ceiling at the United Nations. Dame Margaret Anstee served the United Nations for four decades, both at the New York Headquarters and in some of the poorest countries of the world attempting to help the victims of war, poverty and natural disasters. Throughout this time Dame Margaret has worked relentlessly to overcome the inequalities between the developed and developing world, a battle that she considers essential for the survival of both worlds.


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"...continues to leave her audiences breathless with intrigue." (Mid Wales Journal, August 2006)

Dame Margaret Anstee served the United Nations (UN) for over four decades (1952-93), and, in 1987, was the first woman to achieve the rank of Under Secretary-General. She worked on operational programmes of economic and social development in all regions of the world, mostly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From 1987-92 she served as Director-General of the UN at Vienna, Head of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs and Co-ordinator of all UN narcotic drug control programmes. From 1992-3 she was the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Angola, the first woman to head a UN peacekeeping mission including its military component. Dame Margaret served successively as Resident Representative of UNDP in eight countries, in Asia, Latin America and Africa. From 1974-87 she occupied senior positions at UN headquarters in New York and was also given special responsibility for a number of disaster relief programmes, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Mexican earthquake of 1985 and the Kuwait oil wells of 1991. From 1967-8 Dame Margaret served as Senior Economic Adviser to Harold Wilson in the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of the United Kingdom. Dame Margaret was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, of which she is an Honorary Fellow. She continues to work ad honorem for the UN and for the President and Government of Bolivia. Amongst other activities she is a member of Jimmy Carter's International Council for Conflict Resolution.

Dedication.The United Nations System.Preface.Map 1.Map 2.PART ONE. THE EARLY YEARS.1. Prelude.2. A Rural Childhood.3. Wartime Schooldays.PART TWO: FRESH FIELDS AND PASTURES NEW.4. The Groves of Academe.5. The Foreign Office.6. Land of the Morning.7. English Interlude.PART THREE: FIELD MISSIONS IN THE NEW WORLD AND AFRICA.8. The Athens of the Americas.9. The Purple Land.10. On Top of the World.11. At the Court of the Lion of Judah.PART FOUR: INTERLUDE IN EUROPE.12.10 Downing Street 1967-68.13. UN Reform: The Study of the Capacity of the UN Development System, Geneva and New York 1968-70.PART FIVE: RETURN TO THE FIELD: MOROCCO AND CHILE.14. In the Shadow of the Atlas.15. Chile: Democracy Subverted.PART SIX: NEW YORK.16. New York I: UNDP Headquarters 1974-78.17. New York II: The Department of Technical Cooperation for Development (DTCD), 1978-87.18. Special Missions and Thwarted Ambitions.PART SEVEN: VIENNA.19. In Vienna Woods 1987-92.20. Debt, Development, Democracy and Disasters.PART EIGHT: PEACE-KEEPING.21. The Lands at the End of the World 1992-93.PART NINE: POSTSCRIPT.22. Life After the United Nations.Epilogue.List of Acronyms.Index.

General Fields

  • : 9780470854310
  • : wiley
  • : wiley
  • : April 2004
  • : 198mm X 132mm X 30mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Margaret Joan Anstee
  • : Paperback
  • : New edition
  • : 341.23092
  • : 560
  • : Illustrations, maps, ports.