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Martin Barber Archive


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The archive comprises of papers and correspondence relating to the United Nations Mine Action Service, 1988-2007; Afghanistan, 1988-2006; Humanitarian Action, 1991-2009; Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, 1993-2009; Refugees, 1974-2008.


  • Creation: 1974-2009


3.3 Linear metres (22 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • German
  • Croatian

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 12712/1, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 12712/1-22

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12712


Correspondence and papers of Martin Barber, OBE, former director of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

Biographical / Historical

Martin Barber, OBE is a retired senior UN official. He completed his MA studies in French Language and Literature at St Andrew’s University in Scotland in 1968, and went on to gain both a B.Phil and PhD in South-East Asian Sociology from the University of Hull in 1971 and 1979 respectively. From 1982-89, Barber was the Director of the British Refugee Council; from 1989 to 1996, he worked with the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan, serving as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in 1995-6. From 1996 to 1998, he was Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Barber then went on to serve as director of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) at UN Headquarters from 2000 until 2005. Before that, he was chief of policy in the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). He was made an OBE in 2006 for services to de-mining.

After retiring, Barber was given an Honorary Fellowship by the Department of Political Studies at the University of Edinburgh from 2006 until 2010. He then became a Senior Adviser to the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid for the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a role he undertook until 2013. He then served as a Senior Adviser for UNOCHA from 2015 to 2016.

Now, Barber is a member of the International Executive Committee and writer for United Against Inhumanity, an emerging international campaign of individuals, civil society groups and non-governmental organizations concerned about the routine violation of norms and standards adopted after World War II to make the world a safer place for everyone endangered by conflict or in need of refuge.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive of Martin Barber, including paper and digital media, was donated to the Bodleian Libraries by Bill Jackson in October, 2017.

Catalogue of the Martin Barber Archive
Finding aid prepared by Ben Peirson-Smith; Iram Safdar
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom