History matters

WHO former staff are individuals with extraordinary dedication, vision and experience. Their work and their life stories constitute a large part of the history of WHO and its unique contribution to global health and significant achievements in public health.

This WHO initiative was established in 2004 inspired by a belief that understanding the history of health in the last sixty years would help the Organization to respond to the challenges of today. Learning from history is vital in helping shape a healthier future for everyone, especially those most in need. Sharing health knowledge inspired by history enriches global public health and benefits society at large.

AFSM Oral History Project

As part of the GHH Initiative, AFSM launched a project to record the narrative memories of former staff. The objective is to add information and insight to the collective memory of WHO.

AFSM "Remembering the Past" Project

As part of the Global Health History initiative, the Association of Former WHO Staff launched in August 2008 a new project, called "Remembering the Past". Here is how the project works: based on a list of suggested questions, the narrative memories are obtained through several email exchanges between a former WHO staff member and an AFSM interviewer. The project aims to reach people who served in a wide variety of capacities covering the full range from professional to support staff. As a final stage in the exchange, the interviewee reviews and corrects a final version of the text of the exchange and once satisfied, signs a release form. Final texts of the interviews are kept by the AFSM “Remembering the Past” project; they will also be deposited in the WHO Archives special collections. The texts are made available in accordance with agreements specified in the release form. This project complements the Oral History Project as an additional effective way to collect valuable historical primary resource material. In addition, it promotes contacts among former staff. We welcome all former WHO staff to participate in this new project. For more information, please contact AFSM (afsm_aoms@who.int)

AFSM Photo database and media collections

Former staff often have photos, films and other memorabilia relating to their work experience and social life at WHO. AFSM has established a photo database and media collections to capture and disseminate these valuable artifacts. Items with research value will be deposited also in the WHO Archives. Please contact AFSM if you have some materials to contribute.

More about ASFM and their partners in history

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AFSM General Assembly Assembly and Annual Reception: 8 October 2015

Contact information

Association of Former WHO Staff (AFSM)
World Health Organization Office 4141
CH-1211 Geneva
+41 22 791 3103

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