Dr. Kathryn De Lawter — Assistant Professor of Education, Pace University


Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury — Former Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the United Nations

Virginia Gamba – Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Marie-Paule Roudil — Director, UNESCO New York Office

Cora Weiss — President, Hague Appeal for Peace


Abdelkader Abbadi, PhD — Former Director, Political Affairs, and Deputy Director Security Council, United Nations

Irwin Arieff — Writer, Editor, Media Consultant

Robert Clark — Director, The Rockefeller Archive Center

Ramu Damodaran — Deputy Director for Partnerships and Public Engagement, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information and Chief, Academic Impact Initiative, United Nations

Pera Wells (Melbourne) — Vice-President, Australian Council for Human Rights Education

Lorna D. Edmundson, Ed.D — President Emerita, Wilson College and Member, Presidents Circle, The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW)

Meg Gardinier — Chair, U.S. Campaign for the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Secretary General, ChildFund

William Gaudelli, Ed.D — Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Mark Harris — President Emeritus, ELS Educational Services

Margaret Nkrumah (Ghana) — Educator and Member, Board of Trustees, African Leadership Academy

Carolina Owens —  Former Chief; Office of Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. UN, New York

William Pace Executive Director, World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy; Convener of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Jerry PiaseckiWriter and Independent Consultant, Save the Children, Australia Global Peace School Program

Guy C. Quinlan President, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy

Dr. Barbara Reynolds Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Guyana

Dr. Rima Salah – Assistant Clinical Professor, Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine

Lydia Swart Consultant, Center for United Nations Reform Education (CURE)

Pera Wells (Melbourne) — Former Secretary General, World Federation of United Nations Associations; Visiting Scholar, Trinity College, University of Melbourne

William Yotive — Model UN Coordinator, WFUNA


2018 Advisory Council Annual Luncheon

Journalist, writer, and Bard College lecturer Ian Williams, who has covered the UN for some 30 years, was the featured speaker at this year’s Advisory Council gathering.  As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time getting to know and reporting on the institution and its people at all levels, including 5 Secretary-Generals, he had many “behind the scenes” stories to tell.  Ian is also the author of UNtold – The Real Story of the UNITED NATIONS in Peace and War, an accessible and entertaining guide to the UN, presenting “simple facts about a complicated organization.”


2017 Advisory Council Annual Luncheon at Rockefeller Archives –

Advisory council member Bob Clark, Director of the Rockefeller Archive Center, gave an overview of the archives, including a tour featuring documents and mementos illustrating  the historical gift from the Rockefeller family that enabled UN headquarters’ establishment in New York City.  See below for a detailed description

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CTAUN Advisory Council Luncheon

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hillcrest – Home of the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC)

The Home Tour

The Committee On Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) Advisory Council and CTAUN members spent a delightful day at Hillcrest, a fieldstone home in Sleepy Hollow, New York, built for Martha Baird Rockefeller (1895-1971), the second wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960). This home was completed in 1963 and used primarily for entertaining. It now provides workspace for the researchers and staff of the Rockefeller Archive Center with a few rooms where Rockefeller memorabilia are on display. Researchers who visit the RAC work in the Reading Rooms on the second floor and may use the Researchers’ Lounge, the former pantry of the house.   The Archives are located on the expanded basement level of the home.

Bob Clark, a CTAUN Advisor and the Director of Archives, warmly welcomed us and as we arrived and were dropped off at the front door, we truly felt like guests! We enjoyed coffee served in the beautiful dining room. The dining room wall paper was a 19th century French mural. There was not enough to cover the corners so a painter was hired to fill in the gaps! We visited in the conference room where we gathered to enjoy our annual Advisory Council luncheon meeting.

Bob led us on a tour of the home. The foyer featured a beautiful floating staircase and was adorned by several portraits including one of John D. Rockefeller painted by Eastman Johnson in 1895 when John was 56 and quietly retiring from day to day management of Standard Oil. In 1912-13 the Supreme Court broke-up Standard Oil into thirteen smaller companies. This only increased his wealth as he was a share-holder for each of these new companies. The Living Room houses his desk from his Standard Oil office which was located at 26 Broadway in Manhattan. Rockefeller was a philanthropist even as a child and was one of the first billionaires in the world at that time. He gave to many Baptist causes and developed theories about what and how to give large sums of money in the most effective ways. He developed the Rockefeller Foundation and each generation of Rockefellers trains the next generation to give, and each family member chooses his/her own special causes.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s office at Hillcrest was previously the music room as Martha was a concert pianist. Presently, it has been refurbished with the oak paneling, mantle and furniture from his office at Standard Oil on Broadway (1924-1933) and then in Rockefeller Center (1933-1970). The books in the bookcase were from his office when he died in 1960

The Powder Room holds the Victorian furnishings from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s Powder Room in the Rockefeller’s apartment at 740 Park Avenue

The Archives

The Rockefeller Archive Center has become a premier center for research on philanthropy and civil society. Since CTAUN members represent civil society at the United Nations, we felt at home. We descended to the basement where the Archives are located. The collections contain “over 117 million pages of documents, 900,000 photographs, 18,000 reels of microfilm, 6,000 films and 45 terabytes of data in its digital repository.” The Archive was established in 1974 to assemble, preserve, and make accessible the records of the Rockefeller family and their wide-ranging philanthropic endeavors which include the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller University. The Archive Center has become a vital resource for research and public dialogue on the contributions of philanthropy to the well-being of people throughout the world.

The first stop was the Audio-Visual Room. We met Brent Phillips, the RAC’s audio-visual archivist and keeper of the film, photos and audio materials. He discussed the work of converting items from one form to another and how materials are made available for researchers to use. The materials were created in the twentieth century and are now being sent to vendors or converted by the RAC staff into modern day media.   It is a race against time to convert all of the materials before the outdated machines can no longer be repaired for use. We saw a Spencer Tracy film from 1946 encouraging everyone to donate clothing and blankets to the Victory Clothing Drive Although it is thought that the film was never shown, it was probably made as a public service news reel to be used following a movie. There was a bomb shelter in the original home which houses the computer server today.


Marissa Vassari, the RAC’s Assistant Archivist and Educator, shared with us an amazing display she had created for Antonio Gutierrez, the current Secretary General about the negotiations and acquisition of land on which the United Nations Headquarters was built.   We were able to see the maps of the land site, a memorandum documenting the events that led to the land purchase, photographs of the meetings, and a program of the Cornerstone Ceremony signed by Harry Truman. We saw other formal letters and personal notes – all displayed around two large square cabinets. We each received a copy of the six page memorandum from John D. Rockefeller Jr. describing the negotiations to purchase the property and his check for $8,500,000!



Bob Clark – Keynote for 2017 CTAUN Advisory Council Luncheon:

The Archive Center was established in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1974 to carry forward the Rockefeller family’s commitment to philanthropy and to the preservation of history. Hillcrest was converted into the Archive for the Rockefeller Family, Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Rockefeller University. In 1980, it expanded its collecting scope to include the records of non-Rockefeller philanthropic organizations such as the Commonwealth Fund and the Russell Sage Foundation. The Commonwealth Fund has supported work for access to health care and rural hospitals, and Health Care Policies including the Affordable Care Act of 2010. In 2011, the RAC added the collections of the Ford Foundation, making the Rockefeller Archive Center the premier place for the study of philanthropy as well as international Civil Society.

From 1974-2008, the RAC was administered by Rockefeller University in New York City. In 2008, the RAC separated from the University and became an independent operating foundation with its own endowment and separate board.

The next generations of Americans are being educated to continue the Rockefellers family’s philanthropic vision and the work of philanthropies throughout the world. Assistant Archivist and Educator, Marissa Vassari actively serves as a bridge between K – 12 education and the Archives. She currently works with a local fifth grade to incorporate the use of primary sources into their learning. They choose a topic and develop research questions. She also makes annotated bibliographic materials for their use. Some examples of special areas of interest include: Admiral Bird and his Antarctic Travel; Rockefeller donating to the UN; and, National Parks and the War of the Worlds Broadcast. Marissa also holds an Archival Teacher Round Table with 6 – 22 members. She challenges and inspires them with resources. The Archives shows its commitment to giving back to the community. Educational outreach is one important way.

The RAC’s collections include more than a hundred donor organizations including the Ford Foundation, which is “massive”. All of the Archive Center’s collection relate to philanthropy and civil society writ large, and it is not necessary for the collections to have a Rockefeller connection. While traditional archives are in paper form, the Archive Center is working closely with donor organizations to ensure that their born-digital records are transferred and preserved as part of the archives as well. The Center’s Reading Room is active with four hundred researchers working at the Center in a year. The staff also respond to over 2,000 email requests per year. Hillcrest’s 45 employees, thirty of whom manage the archival materials, are highly committed to the preservation and accessibility of these materials.

The Committee On Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) extends our warmest thank you to Bob Clark and Kathryn De Lawter, Advisory Council Chair for the informational and enjoyable day we spent together at Hillcrest! Special thanks to Ann Grosjean for authoring this inspiring record and for Bob and Kathryn’s editing of this report for our CTAUN Archives.



2016 Advisory Council Annual Luncheon featuring Ambassador Abbadi and his book on the history of the UN

Anne-Marie Carlson, Amb. Abbadi and Kathryn De Lawter

Anne-Marie Carlson, Amb. Abbadi and Kathryn De Lawter

Ambassador Abbadi addressing a captive audience

Featured speaker and CTAUN Advisory Council Member Ambassador Abbadi addressing a captive audience

Kathryn De Lawter welcoming attendees at the 2016 CTAUN Advisory Council luncheon

Kathryn De Lawter welcoming attendees at the 2016 CTAUN Advisory Council luncheon







Kirsten Grunberg presenting artwork to Ambassador Abbadi

Kirsten Grunberg presenting artwork to Ambassador Abbadi