Summary of A World Made New

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Rating

7 Overall

8 Importance

7 Innovation

7 Style


Recommendation

How did a standard of international human rights come into being? What threatens this standard today? Harvard law professor and former US Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon’s scholarly overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its authors and the debates that surround it addresses these questions in detail. Glendon’s text focuses on how Eleanor Roosevelt and her peers on the Human Rights Commission (particularly, Peng-chun Chang, René Cassin and Charles Malik) framed the work – collaborating across cultures and worldviews to yield an inspiring document to protect all people. In so doing, the book touches on important themes, including universality, multiculturalism, translation and political ideologies. The first chapters cover the process of creating the Declaration, providing insight into the practical complexities of drafting the text. Glendon then shifts to discussion of the Declaration’s content. Though a timeline and other editorial notes would help the overall fluidity and clarity of the sometimes dense material, it is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding human rights.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was developed,
  • Who was most involved in the process and
  • How the Declaration shapes approaches to human rights today.
 

About the Author

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was a former United States Ambassador to the Holy See and served as president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science.

 

Summary

Identifying the Need to Protect Human Rights

In the aftermath of World War II, world leaders began developing new institutions to help shattered societies and economies rebuild.  The Allies established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund in 1944. Just a month later, representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Britain gathered to begin work on what became the Charter of the United Nations.


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