Shanghai to UN: Intern’l Civil Servant’s Journey -by Jack Ling (former UNICEF ) Jan 2016

From Shanghai to The United Nations: An International Civil Servant’s Eventful Journey by Jack Chieh-Sheng Ling (Author)

The Chinese version of this book was published by the Commercial Press of China last September.  The English version is now available at Amazon as well as Kindle Store (So it can be read on a laptop, tablet or smart phone).


 Many might want to know something more about the Pate and Labouisse days (The United Nations Children’s Fund first executive directors). What did James Grant, Carol  Bellamy and more recent Exec.Dirs of UNICEF have to build on? One of the first UN organizations to win a Nobel prize (1965), it was recognized for local country offices and  innovative programmes around the world to reach the most destitute. With external outreach educating better off children as well as adults to others needs, its impact by the 1960’s and 70’s was already well beyond the limited resources at its disposal. JL’s story shares the dedication of the early staff, some of its successes and how it learned from mistakes of the international community. It also makes clear the varied backgrounds, nationalities and characters that worked together for this still important goal. Born in 1930,  JL shares his interesting and sometimes difficult circumstances in China and elsewhere before he was recruited as a general service international civil servant with regional responsibilities. He gives deserving credit to many organizations and individuals from earlier and later days that have helped the world learn and make sometimes slow but steady progress…He notes the sacrifice of the families of those involved in this work (especially before the more recent awareness of “work-life balance”). His 80+ years of experience and perspective is clear and encouraging.

From the publisher’s blurb:

Born to a bourgeois family in Shanghai in 1930, Jack Chieh-Sheng Ling grew up in the city’s French concession and at age of 16 enrolled in St. John’s University. In 1949, with the raging civil war interrupting his studies and editorship of the school paper, he moved to Hong Kong where he began an intensive journalist career. Later he got a chance to join the UN and began his long career as an international civil servant. Mr. Ling recounted his eventful life with high lighting of UNICEF wining the Noble Prize in 1965, working with super stars like Marlon Brando, Liv Ullmann to promote children’s health and rights, and how he joined and led the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, as well as how he achieved another top of his career working at the Department of International Health and Development at Tulane University. This is an intensive record of an international civil servant’s life. Anyone interested in the United Nations on how it works and how a career life is like to work for it should read it. If you are interested in the history of St. John’s University in Shanghai and the history of modern China, you shouldn’t miss it too.

More about Jack Ling at a recent event at UNICEF


I downloaded from amazon kindle and began reading on 7 hour bus trip between Penang and Port Dickson in Malaysia.
I believe many others will also be interested,especially those who may remember or heard stories about background on the struggle of the early days and since. It is quite encouraging that dedicated people keep coming forward in each generation to continue to address these problems

warm regards to all – adhiratha

Can also contact Jack at :jling30 (at)

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2 Responses to Shanghai to UN: Intern’l Civil Servant’s Journey -by Jack Ling (former UNICEF ) Jan 2016

  1. vmuthuswami says:

    Having started UNICEF career in the very early sixties, I (and many other old timers in India) had had the privilege of seeing/meeting with Maurice Pate, the real Founder of UNICEF, succeeded by another noble soul, Henry Labouisse. Pate was a kind of philosopher-white saint; his very presence on the lawns of UNICEF House at 11 Jorbagh, New Delhi, on that reception, was something of an experience of Awe for most of the young Indians who worked with UNICEF.

    Also I recall that during the ceremony (also in UNICEF New Delhi Lawns) commemorating UNICEF Nobel Prize received by Labouisse, we met him as the most natural/appropriate successor to Pate. His presence and genteel mannerisms reminded us of the axiom: greatness is always matched with humility.

    Jack Ling story was very interesting. I guess he visited UNICEF New Delhi office several times in the sixties and was considered as the giant among public information specialists. He was an instant hero among the Indian staff, as he was full of life and effervescence, and charmingly friendly.

    V.Muthuswami, Chennai, south India

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