A force for peace: Expanding the role of the UN secretary-general under Trygve Lie, 1946-1953

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The UN Charter describes him or her merely as the “chief administrative officer of the organization,” yet today the Secretary-General is widely recognized as the UN’s chief political representative. How did this transformation and expansion of the office from administrative to political take place? Existing scholarship tends to emphasize the contribution made by Dag Hammarskjöld. This article challenges that story on two accounts: first, by pointing out the importance of institutional factors and not just the officeholder’s personality; and second, by examining the contribution made by Trygve Lie, the UN’s first Secretary-General. The article establishes a conceptual framework based on institutional theory to understand the role of the Secretary-General and analyzes Lie’s contribution in the period 1946-1953.


  • Ellen Jenny Ravndal
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • Executive heads, Institutionalism, International organization, Trygve Lie, UN Secretary-General
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-459
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Governance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch