World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Erskine Barton Childers


Erskine Barton Childers

Erskine Barton Childers

Erskine Barton Childers (11 March 1929 – 25 August 1996) was a writer, BBC correspondent and United Nations senior civil servant. He was the eldest son of Erskine Hamilton Childers (Ireland's fourth President) and Ruth Ellen Dow Childers. His grandparents Mary Alden Childers and Robert Erskine Childers and the latter's double first cousin Robert Barton were all Irish nationalists involved heavily with the negotiation of Irish independence; which ultimately led to his grandfather's execution during the Irish Civil War. His great aunt was Gretchen Osgood Warren.


  • Early life 1
  • The BBC and the Arab World 2
  • United Nations Civil Servant 3
  • The Ford Foundation and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation 4
  • Notes 5
  • Further reading 6

Early life

Erskine Childers was born in Dublin to Erskine Hamilton Childers and his first wife Ruth Ellen Dow. He grew up in a multi cultural atmosphere which was to influence his whole life.[1] From an early age, he had an obvious fascination with history and world affairs. He studied at Newtown School, Waterford[2] and much later on at Trinity College, Dublin and Stanford University. At Stanford University he was actively involved with the National Student Association and rose to Vice-President of the organisation by 1949.

The BBC and the Arab World

By 1960, Childers was in London working for the BBC in both Radio and Television.[3] His broadcasts from the BBC World Service ranged on varying topics from the Suez Crisis and Palestine to the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963. He was one of the first presenters at the start of the BBC TV show The Money Programme in 1966. The Suez Canal and Palestine issues would later form the basis of his writing on the subjects.

He was distinguished as one of the first mainstream writers in the West to systematically challenge the contention that Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War (see 1948 Palestinian exodus) fled their homes primarily from Arab broadcast evacuation orders (see Broadcasts for Christopher Hitchens' article about same), rather than from the use of force and terror by armed forces of the newly forming state of Israel.

United Nations Civil Servant

He specialised in UN issues, even serving as a periodic consultant including a special mission in the Congo for Secretary-General U Thant. In 1967, under the leadership of Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr.; Childers was hired to lead a United Nations, UNICEF & UNDP programme called Development Support Communication; or DSCS. In 1968 Childers co-authored a paper with United Nations colleague Mallica Vajrathon called "Project Support Communication," later published in an important anthology about social change.[4] In this paper he wrote,

"If you want development to be rooted in the human beings who have to become the agent of it as well as the beneficiaries, who will alone decide on the kind of development they can sustain after the foreign aid has gone away, then you have got to communicate with them, you have got to enable them to communicate with each other and back to the planners in the capital city. You have got to communicate the techniques that they need in order that they will decide on their own development. If you do not do that, you will continue to have weak or failing development programs. It's as simple as that. No innovation, however brilliantly designed and set down in a project plan of operations, becomes development until it has been communicated".[5]

From 1975 to 1988, Childers was based in New York as Director of Information for

  • [3] Erskine B. Childers on
  • Erskine B Childers "Renewing The United Nations System " (Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (1994)
  • Erskine B Childers "In A Time Beyond Warnings : Strengthening The United Nations System" (Catholic Institute For International Resources) (1993) ISBN 1-85287-118-0
  • Erskine B Childers and Sir Brian Urquhart A World in Need of Leadership: Tomorrow's United Nations The Ford Foundation, (New York) 1996
  • Erskine B Childers and Sir Brian Urquhart Renewing the United Nations System The Ford Foundation, (New York) 1994
  • Erskine B Childers and Sir Brian Urquhart Toward a More Effective United Nations, Reorganization of the United Nations Secretariat: A Suggested Outline of Needed Reforms, Strengthening International Response to Humanitarian Emergencies The Ford Foundation, (New York) 1992
  • Erskine B Childers "Where Democracy Doesn't Work Yet" Harpers Magazine, April 1960 |
  • Erskine B Childers "Il Mondo Arabo : Volume 20" (Cose D'Oggi) (Milano) Valentino Bompiani (1961)
  • Erskine B Childers "Challenges To The United Nations : Building A Safer World" (St. Martin's Press) New York (1994) ISBN 0-312-12575-5
  • Erskine B Childers "The Road To Suez" (MacGibbon & Kee) (London) (1962)
  • Erskine B Childers "Common Sense About the Arab World" (Macmillan Publishers) (1960)
  • The Other Exodus, his much quoted article in The Spectator, 12 May 1961
  • [4] Ford Foundation Page on his contribution to UN Reform.

Further reading

  1. ^ "Erskine H. Childers :President of Ireland; A Biography" John Young (Colin Smythe)(Buckinghamshire)(1985) ISBN 0-86140-195-6; p 22.
  2. ^ "Erskine H. Childers :President of Ireland; A Biography" John Young (Colin Smythe)(Buckinghamshire)(1985) ISBN 0-86140-195-6; p 104.
  3. ^ "Erskine H. Childers :President of Ireland; A Biography" John Young (Colin Smythe)(Buckinghamshire)(1985) ISBN 0-86140-195-6; p 132.
  4. ^ "Colle, R. (2006). Erskine Childers: a Devcom pioneer. In A. Gumucio-Dagron, & T. Tufte, (Eds.) Communication for Social Change Anthology: Historical and Contemporary Readings. South Orange, NJ: Communication For Social Change Consortium. ISBN 0-9770357-9-4 ; pp. 495–499
  5. ^ Alfonso Gumucio Dagron; Thomas Tufte (21 August 2006). Communication for social change anthology: historical and contemporary readings. CFSC Consortium, Inc. pp. 495–.  
  6. ^ In Memoriam: Erskine Childers, 1929–1996
  7. ^ Learning | Impact | Ford Foundation


He became Secretary General of the Roundwood, Ireland.

After his retirement, Erskine Childers continued to strive relentlessly for the ideals for which he had worked so hard. He co-authored several notable books for the

The Ford Foundation and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.