Cover image for Historical dictionary of international organizations
Historical dictionary of international organizations
Schechter, Michael G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
lv, 247 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JZ4838 .S34 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



The Historical Dictionary of International Organizations provides an overview of the major international organizations (IOs), both intergovernmental and international nongovernmental, of the twentieth century. While the emphasis is on organizations which continue to operate today, important organizations that have ceased to operate are also included.

The extensive chronology traces the progression from the first few institutionally uncomplicated bodies to the countless organizations of the present that are often sophisticated, occasionally almost universal, and sometimes even supranational. The list of acronyms is indispensable in reading about them, here or elsewhere. The introduction delineates the broader context while the dictionary goes into specifics. Some entries present the more important IOs, what they do, how they function, who belongs, and where they fit in the contemporary international political and economic system. Others explain the rationale and workings of IOs in general. Many of the most significant organizational leaders are introduced, including officials, pioneers, and founders.

Obviously, neither this book nor the other volumes published or planned in the International Organizations Series could cover the whole field: the bibliography is a central part of this work. It is carefully structured to make it especially user-friendly. Schechter breaks the bibliography into several distinct sections: general works, the UN and its major organs, the Specialized and Related Agencies of the UN, regional organizations, non-UN, non-regional IGOs (including League of Nations), and international non-governmental organizations.

Author Notes

Michael G. Schechter is a professor at the James Madison College of Michigan State University.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This is the twenty-eighth volume in the publisher's Historical Dictionaries of International Organizations series, which covers global and regional organizations on a wide range of topics. The first edition, in 1998, was written by the same author, an expert and prolific writer on international relations for more than three decades. The very helpful 20-page introduction provides basic definitions, a historical overview, general trends, and careful speculation on the future of the organizations. Although there are earlier examples in history, the groups covered in this work have developed chiefly since the late nineteenth century, even though a few organizations that no longer exist are included. The more than 700 dictionary entries provide concise, accurate, and balanced information on the organizations, significant leaders, pertinent concepts such as Developing countries, and activities. The author distinguishes between organizations and concepts with similar names and provides important insight into initial and successor organizations: for example, the League of Nations and the United Nations. The work is current through August 2009. Users are aided by an initial 450-item list of acronyms and abbreviations and a 29-page chronology; cross-references and see also references within the entries; and an extensive, carefully arranged bibliography at the end. This fine work will be useful for many reference questions in public and academic libraries. Also available as an e-book.--Meyers, Arthur Copyright 2010 Booklist

Choice Review

In the latest volume in the "Historical Dictionaries of International Organizations" series, Schechter (international relations, Michigan State Univ.) provides a handy reference guide to major international bodies and personalities connected with them. Unlike Giuseppe Schiavone's International Organizations: A Dictionary (3rd ed., CH, Jun'93; 4th ed., 1997)--which adopts an institutional focus and discusses the origin and development, objectives, structure, and activities of selected international organizations--Schechter's contribution, in a quest for greater comprehensiveness, concentrates on the process of international organization as a manifestation of interstate cooperation. A useful introductory chapter is preceded by a chronology and followed by several hundred terse entries. The bibliography, drawing on a wealth of general and specialized works on international organization, is expansive. Academic libraries with both general political science reference collections and those devoted to international relations in particular will want to have either Schechter or Schiavone on their shelves, preferably both. Neither, however, are in the same league as Yearbook of International Organizations (35th ed., 1998-99), which, despite its steep price, remains the single most authoritative directory of international organizations. D. Ettinger George Washington University