PassBlue is an online publication offering high-quality, serious reporting and vivid photographs on the United Nations. It is a project of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and as philanthropic journalism, PassBlue is a recipient of a grant from the Samuel Rubin Foundation.
PassBlue covers the UN with a primary focus on women, peace and security, forging a journalistic path through well-written articles and strong photographs. The aim is to clarify and explain the work of the UN with a spotlight on the status of women.
PassBlue also publishes in-depth reporting on the UN’s main bodies and specialized agencies, with a view to making the international institution as open and accessible as possible to readers. The UN is a large, complex institution, operating with a biennial operating budget of $5.15 billion, excluding a $7.8 billion annual budget for UN Peacekeeping Operations and other expenses, totaling about $9 billion biannually. It employs more than 44,000 staff members worldwide in the Secretariat category alone: 15,588 in departments and offices; 2,704 in regional commissions; nearly 24,000 in peacekeeping missions; and 1,849 in war tribunals.
PassBlue has quickly developed a reputation for incisive coverage on not only women’s issues but also on West Africa, the International Criminal Court, the Security Council, the General Assembly, US-UN relations, human rights, population, peace and security and top UN personnel changes. It was the first Web publication to report on Switzerland’s petition to the Security Council to have Syria’s human-rights abuses referred to the International Criminal Court; on ICC staff members taken hostage in Libya; on the UN’s genocide adviser resigning; on Mary Robinson becoming the first special envoy for Central Africa; on who writes Security Council resolutions; and on the Security Council addressing child soldier use in Colombia.
Moreover, PassBlue has covered the issues of women in numerous dimensions, including a much-read article on the low percentage of women in upper-level UN posts; the likely departure of Michelle Bachelet from UN Women; the plight of women in post-Arab Spring countries; the ICC’s efforts to prosecute for rape in conflicts; and the General Assembly’s resolution to ban female genital mutilation worldwide.
The articles and essays are written by such top UN journalists as Barbara Crossette, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times and UN correspondent for The Nation; Irwin Arieff, who covered the UN, the White House and the US State Department for Reuters; Helmut Volger, the editor of A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations and German commentator on the UN; and Dulcie Leimbach, former publications director of UNA-USA and editor and writer at The New York Times for more than two decades.
Through Goings-on, PassBlue reports on important UN appointments and personnel changes. Worldviews is a forum for opinions, and contributors have included Joseph Chamie, Jayantha Dhanapala, Fred Eckhard, Ramesh Thakur and Thomas Weiss. Books allows writers to expand on the topic at hand. UN Eats advises the UN community in New York on where to eat in the Turtle Bay neighborhood.
PassBlue is a play on the diplomatic passport known as “laissez-passer” (“let pass”), a blue travel document used by UN officials on missions and issued by national governments and world institutions during wartime and other periods to allow officers to travel to specific areas. The UN grounds passes are also blue; in addition, the UN issues passport-size IDs for travel on contract business.
PassBlue was designed by John Penney (email@example.com).
We encourage comments and contributions. To write for PassBlue, please use the contact form below to send a summary of your article and your background.
To donate to PassBlue and receive a US tax deduction, please submit the contact form below.
If you are interested in an internship at PassBlue, find out more on our Interns page.
PassBlue is dedicated to the memory of Janet Leimbach, Aug. 26, 1925-May 23, 2011.