University News

UCLA Participates in a Year of Celebrations to Honor Ralph Bunche; Kickoff Events Commemorating his 100th Birthday Begin Aug. 7


UCLA is planning arange of events and special projects to celebrate the centenary of Ralph J. Bunche,the UCLA graduate who helped draft the1945 United Nations charter,brokered the 1949 armistice ending the first Arab-Israeli War and became the first African American to win a NobelPeace Prize.

Bunche is arguablyUCLA's most distinguished alumnus and will be the focus of many events at theuniversity as part of the commemoration of his 100th birthday. A politicalscience major, he served as a Daily Bruin columnist and reigned as a basketballstar. Bunche graduated from UCLA as valedictorian in 1927.

The centennial of Bunche's birth is Thursday, Aug. 7, a daythat has been declaredRalph J. Bunche Day in California and in Washington, D.C.

Ceremonies on Aug. 7 will celebrate the beginning of a yearof events and programs focused on Bunche, including the debut of a new UnitedNations postage stamp in his honor, academic programs that will explore hislegacy and new educational materials that support learning about the U.N.mediator on Palestine who received theNobel Prize in 1950 for negotiating armistice agreements between Israel and theArab states.

On campus, Buncheis the namesake of a prominent academic building, an endowed chair ininternational studies, an interdisciplinary center for African-Americanresearch and instruction, and a scholarship that annually benefits between 100and 150 undergraduates who have track records of academic excellence andcommunity involvement.

Below are thespecial events and programs at UCLA or organized in cooperation with theuniversity. Other events and projects will debut during the next year.

Aug. 7

Kickoff centenaryevent: Ralph J. Bunche's legacy in Los Angeles

Thomas Jefferson HighSchool, 1319 E. 41st St., Los Angeles CA90011

This event at Bunche's high school alma mater will includeremarks by local officials and other dignitaries, presentations to the 2003graduates of the Dunbar EDC Bunche Youth Leadership Academy and special guestspeaker Vera De Vera, Western regional director of the Fannie Mae Foundationand former Bunche Scholar at UCLA.

Aug. 7 through spring2004

Exhibits of Bunche holdings by UCLA's Charles E. YoungResearch Library

UCLA Research Libraryand Web sites

Home to oneof the most extensive collections of Bunche's papers, the library's specialcollections department plans two displays:

          A preliminary digital exhibition of highlights from theBunche collection will go online Aug. 7 at Amore comprehensive version will launch later this fall.

          A three-month physical display of the library's Buncheholdings will go on view beginning in January 2004.

Fall 2003

Grades 9–12 education planning guide: 'The Life and Workof Ralph Bunche'

UCLA-based National Center for History in the Schools

This fall the National Center for History in the Schoolswill publish a 180-page planning guide for teachers of grades 9–12 that followsBunche's life and career. For more information on the lesson plan, visit

Oct. 9

Naming Ceremony: UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for AfricanAmerican Studies

The interdisciplinary center that coordinates instructionand research on African-American subjects at UCLA has been named after thecampus' famous alumnus. Festivities at the formal ceremony celebrating thenaming of the center include presentation of a new portrait of Bunche bypopular artist LeRoy Neiman, a UCLA benefactor; and the announcement of thehonorary holder of the Ralph J. Bunche Chair in InternationalRelations (a permanent selection is anticipated next year).

February and spring2004


Bunche's contributions to American intellectual life andto African independence

Two UCLA conferences will focus on Bunche's legacy:

          UCLA's Bunche Center for African American Studies willhost a Feb. 20–21 conference that will focus on Bunche's contribution to thelandmark 1944 study "An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and ModernDemocracy," the most comprehensive look to date at American race relations.

       UCLA's African Studies Center and GlobalizationResearch Center-Africa will host a spring 2004 conference on Bunche's impact onthe decolonization of Africa.

Poster honoring Bunche

A new posterhonoring Bunche will be unveiled by prominent Los Angeles muralistJudy Baca, art professor with UCLA's Cesar E. Chavez Center forInterdisciplinary Instruction. Release date of the poster will be announcedlater this year.

For more information about the Ralph Bunche centenarycelebration, visit



Media Contact