Rockefeller Archive Center

Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports are created by recipients of research travel stipends and by many others who have conducted research at the RAC. The reports demonstrate the breadth of the RAC's archival holdings, particularly in the study of philanthropy and its effects. Read more about the history of philanthropy at Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
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Rockefeller Philanthropies and Malaria Control in Early 20th Century Palestine

April 30, 2021

This report summarizes two weeks of research at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), conducted in April 2019. I focused my research on the involvement of Rockefeller philanthropies such as the International Health Board and Rockefeller Foundation in antimalarial operations in British-ruled Palestine during the beginning of the 20th century. The research I conducted at the RAC helped me determine that the most important scientific unit working to combat malaria in Palestine as well as to facilitate Jewish settlement in the country was, in essence, a quasi-Rockefeller agency. Additionally, the research I conducted suggests that the events in Palestine should be placed in a broader, global context of the interventions of Rockefeller's International Health Board around the world.

Universality in Action: Human Rights Activism in Palestine in the 1980s

March 19, 2020

This research report is a short section from my dissertation investigating Arab human rights NGOs from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. The Ford Foundation provided financial support to several organizations in the region. At the RAC, I was primarily interested in the Palestinian organization Al Haq, located in the West Bank, though I was also able to gather material about NGOs in Gaza, Tunisia, and Cairo. My goal was to understand how these organizations used international law in their advocacy. The chapter from which this report is drawn details how the work of Arab NGOs contributes to the debates over whether human rights law is universal. The chapter argues that human rights practice is an important piece of this discussion. It details how Arab NGOs created, adapted, and implemented what were becoming hallmarks of human rights advocacy: factfinding and documentation, education, litigation, and international advocacy. The diversity of practices among these organizations highlights that universality does not require homogeneity. The human rights "tent" extends far enough to include both professional, centralized organizations like Al Haq and more sprawling, radical organizations like those discussed elsewhere in the dissertation.

Efforts to Eradicate Malaria in Palestine

January 1, 2011

Significant hope was vested in the League of Nations (LON) when it was established after World War I. As declared during its first council meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 1920, "humanity at large looks towards the League for the solution of the tremendous problems arising out of the War." Stemming from this was the mandate system, which was enshrined in Article 22 of the Covenant of the LON. The mandate system was intended to be a deviation from prior colonial practices. In contrast to colonialism, during which there was no formalized international supervisory power over the colonizers, various powers were delegated to oversee the administration of the territories of the former Ottoman, and German powers. The territories which belonged to the vanquished powers would be placed "in trust" under the administration of various mandatory powers. The mandatory powers had to adhere to the principles in Article 22. Additionally, the LON was supposed to supervise the various powers designated to ensure that the territories 'unable to stand by themselves' were duly guided towards self-government. Three categories of mandates were prescribed. The "A" mandated territories were deemed to the closest to the attainment of self-government, in contrast to the "B" and "C" mandates that were deemed to be further remote from civilization. Regarding the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain was allotted an "A" mandate over Palestine and Iraq; France was similarly given a mandate over Syria and Lebanon. These territories were deemed incapable of governing themselves by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and were thus placed under the administration of more capable powers with the objective of leading them towards eventual self-government.

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