The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies presents:

The History of the UN through its Most Cited Resolutions


Event Details:

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Room 1302, International Affairs Building

Watch the event recording HERE.


Moderated by Michael Doyle, University Professor, School of Law and Department of Political Science, Columbia University

With Rafael Mesquita, Visiting Scholar, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies; Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE, Brazil)



In this presentation, Rafael Mesquita will show the motivation and early results of his project to tell the history of the UN through its most cited resolutions. The research’s added value stems from its original corpus containing the 20,000+ resolutions that the main UN organs (Security Council, General Assembly, ECOSOC, and global conferences) have adopted from 1946 to 2022 and their cross-citations. This web of interlinked documents allows for the application of network analysis and text-mining tools to deliver the first-ever data-driven account of how the UN and leading global norms have evolved. The presentation will zoom in on resolutions concerning Human Rights, Peacekeeping, and Migration as illustrative examples. By sharing this content, Rafael Mesquita hopes to: collect feedback and comments that contribute to his book manuscript, identify synergies with research projects conducted by peers, and brainstorm on policy-oriented applications in partnership with the UN.


Speaker Bio:

Rafael Mesquita is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Political Science Department of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE, Brazil) and coordinator of the research program “Multilateralism and Global Challenges: Past, Present, and Future” funded by the Brazilian CNPq involving 7 universities in Brazil, France, and Germany. Rafael’s research has focused on the ground-up construction of original datasets in areas of international politics where open data are still lacking. This was first pursued with regards to the diplomatic networks of emerging countries and is now applied to the United Nations, with outputs of this agenda featured in Third World Quarterly, International Studies Review, and International Studies Quarterly. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies under the supervision of Professor Michael Doyle.

While at the Institute, Rafael is working on a book manuscript providing the first data-driven account of the evolution of the UN and of the core themes of international politics by applying network analysis and NLP methods to the corpus of all UN resolutions from 1946 to present day. Rafael has also provided consultancy to the UN in the context of the “Data Diplomacy Project“, which seeks to harness the potential of data science to level the playing field and equip governments more equitably to operate in multilateral organizations. He obtained his PhD in Political Science from UFPE in 2018/9, with visits to the University of Oxford and to the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). He is blessed with a precious family on both sides of the hemisphere, in Brazil and in the US.