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Ralph Bunche: UC pathbreaker and global peacemaker

UCLA alum Ralph Bunche ’27 becomes the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Credit: UCLA

Ralph Bunche was a man of many firsts. He was the first African American valedictorian at UCLA. The first African American in the country to receive a Ph.D. in political science. And the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche is considered the “Father of Peacekeeping” for negotiating an end to the first Arab-Israeli war while working at the United Nations.

In 1949, Bunche stood in his hotel room on the Greek island of Rhodes with members of the Israeli delegation and the Egyptian delegation. Two groups of people, sharing a room, that hadn’t been able to reach a resolution over the control of Palestine in more than 30 years. Now, in the midst of the first Arab-Israeli War, Bunche had been sent by the United Nations to end the conflict. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but was determined to find a resolution.

Read full article about Bunche’s remarkable life and career.


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