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Palgrave Macmillan

Eric Drummond and his Legacies

The League of Nations and the Beginnings of Global Governance

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Argues that the present-day organizations of global governance are powerfully influenced by their early origins
  • Examines how the character of Eric Drummond influenced the establishment of the International Civil Service, the glue that holds the multilateral system together
  • Appeals to those who follow international affairs and twentieth century history; academics and students of global organizations, international relations and global governance; as well as those working, or wishing to work, in international organizations

Part of the book series: Understanding Governance (TRG)

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. A Great International Civil Servant

  2. Creating an Enduring International Civil Service

  3. Legacies of the League


About this book

This book shows how the first institution of global governance was conceived and operated. It provides a new assessment of its architect, Eric Drummond, the first Secretary-General of the League of Nations, appointed a century ago. The authors conclude that he stands in the front rank of the 12 men who have occupied the post of Secretary-General of the League or its successor, the UN. Part 1 describes his character and leadership. His influence in shaping the International Civil Service, the ‘beating heart’ of the League, is the subject of Part 2, which also shows how the young staff he appointed responded with imagination and creativity to the political, economic and social problems that followed World War I. Part 3 shows the influence of these early origins on today’s global organizations and the large scale absorption of League policies, programmes, practices and staff into the UN and its Specialized Agencies.


“The book, as such, will be of interest to academics, international civil servants, diplomats and practitioners alike. … Eric Drummond and His Legacies provides a much-needed historical and biographical perspective on actors responsible for building multilateral organisations.” (Jan Lüdert, LSE Review of Books,, September 4, 2019)

Authors and Affiliations

  • North Berwick, UK

    David Macfadyen

  • Kingham, UK

    Michael D. V. Davies

  • Richmond, UK

    Marilyn Norah Carr

  • Divonne-les-Bains, France

    John Burley

About the authors

David Macfadyen is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, UK, and has worked at a senior level in the World Health Organization (WHO). His research interests include the History of Medicine, which he has studied at the University of Glasgow, UK.
Michael Davies is a former staff member of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Development Bank. He is the author of International Organizations: A Companion and The Administration of International Organizations.

Marilyn Carr has worked for the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN Development Fund for Women. She studied Development Economics at the University of Sussex, UK, and is the author of many books and articles on science, technology and women’s economic empowerment.

John Burley was an economic adviser to the Government of Uganda before working for the UN, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Hewas a Director at the UN Conference for Trade and Development and has contributed to a number of published studies of the UN system.

Bibliographic Information

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