- 1951 - 2005 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1.88 linear feet of textual records; 3262 videocassettes; 1391 audio reels and audio cassettes; 241 film reels
Name of creator
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Most of the sound recordings in this series were transferred directly to the Archives from the Information and Public Affairs Department (IPA) in the mid-1990s. Films and videos in this series were transferred from External Affairs (EXT) units to the Archives using approved records retention and disposition schedules. The textual records were part of the Central Files, then General Files later maintained by the Non-Regional Information Center (NRIC); these files were transferred to the Archives in 1994.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series contains sound recordings and films intended for public audiences that promote the World Bank Group or provide information about its operations. The series also contains a small amount of textual records relating to the production and distribution of films and radio programs by the External Relations (EXT) Vice Presidency and its predecessors. In most cases, EXT units were responsible for producing the material for radio, film and television.
The Bank's Public Relations Department (PRD) began producing documentary films about the Bank's work in 1951. These early films were circulated broadly to movie theaters, television stations, schools, universities, and adult discussion clubs. These earliest films are not contained in this series, presumably because they were discontinued after 2 to 3 years in circulation and may have been destroyed by the Office of Information.
With regard to radio programs, PRD's successor, the Office of Information (INFO), began creating and distributing recorded interviews with or speeches by Bank staff or senior country officials in 1955. These segments were used and distributed by the United Nations and carried to numerous radio stations in the United States.
The series is predominantly comprised of documentary or informational videos produced or co-produced by World Bank for international television media outlets or for development education. Videos date from 1984 to 2005 but are mostly from 1990 to early 2000. They document: development activities in various countries; interviews with government officials, citizens and workers; and raw footage shot in various countries including city, village and industrial scenes. Themes and topics include: first loans signed; Uganda education reform; industry in Russia; the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami in Asia; World Bank corporate videos; Young Professionals program; and World Development Report press briefings.
There is also a large volume of videos of the Bank's Public Service Announcements (PSAs) from 1997 to 2004, produced for television broadcasting, several of which aired on CNN (Cable News Network). Most of the PSAs are compilations and relate to more than one topic on each video. They cover issues such as governance, global hunger, the environment and sustainability, natural disasters, safe motherhood, AIDS, water, GEF, reconstruction in Bosnia, the southeast Asia financial crisis, transparency, slum upgrading, tropical diseases, and disability. Some of the individual item titles in the inventory do not indicate that they are PSA but were identified as such by relating their titles to others in the PSA inventory. PSA videos are primarily in English but also include Arabic, French, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and numerous other languages.
The series also contains joint-productions of the Bank including Staying Alive and two sequels, a documentary produced in partnership with UNAIDS and MTV (Music Television) that launched on World AIDS day, December 1, 1998. There are also several videos relating to the GlobalLinks documentary series produced by World Bank Institute (WBI) for educational purposes that was also licensed to broadcast on television, as well as the Azimuths video series, a co-production with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Information and Public Affairs Department's Production Services Section.
The series also contains film reels (predominantly 16mm) created in 1980 to 1985 and which relate to the work of the Bank. Titles include: Plague Upon the Land; Dandora; Seeds of Progress; Reflections on the 21st Century; Development is People; IDA; Neighborhood of Coelhos; The World Bank; and World Bank Trade Women. Some films such as Plague Upon the Land, Dandora, and The World Bank were translated into multiple languages. There are copies of some of the film titles that were transferred to the archives with the masters.
The series also includes a small number of films developed around 1984 to 1986 about the World Bank and development issues geared toward secondary school or higher education audiences. Titles include: Toward a Better World; Some Big Questions; Many Steps, One Goal; and What Happens When a Desert Blooms.
The series also contains sound recordings, primarily audio reels of radio broadcasts from 1970 to 1979 produced by the Radio Services Unit of Information and Public Affairs (IPA). The bulk of the sound recordings are Special Reports, a program about World Bank activities, announcements of loans for country projects, Bank Annual Reports and development trends, and interviews of Bank staff. Special Reports also feature excerpts of President McNamara speaking at Annual Meetings and his speeches and addresses while visiting various countries or attending ministerial or UN meetings. Other radio programs from this period include Africa Today, Progressive Asia, Finance and Development, Pioneros del Siglo, and Comments from the Inside. These recordings also feature news about World Bank loans and development initiatives in various countries and other economic and social development issues. British film actor, barrister and World Bank consultant Paul Danquah is featured in the various broadcasts as interviewer or host as are other IPA senior staff including Peter L. Chatenay, Garry Lightowler, and Pastor B. Siston.
The earliest sound recordings dating 1955-1967 comprise the Mallon Series interviews on World Bank and country development activities. Topics discussed include the building of a new railroad through Rhodesia and electric power plant in the Brazilian jungle (1955). There are also sound recordings narrating IPA Advisor William Bennett's flight from Egypt (1967). More recent radio broadcasts in the series include Challenges on World Development (1980) focused on rural development issues and two audio reels entitled The African Dilemma (1991). Most of the radio broadcasts are in English, but a considerable amount are also translated into several other languages. Arabic, Spanish and French are the other predominant languages.
Textual records in this series consist of original letters, copies of outgoing memoranda, and cables addressed to and sent by the Director or senior staff of IPA and its predecessors, PRD and INFO between 1951 to 1974. The correspondence primarily relates to the production, distribution and use of the earliest Bank films such as Power Changes Mexico (1951), India Fights Kans (1952), and On the Road (1955) as well as television broadcasts. Although some files are labelled "TV and Radio" there is very little information about the Bank's radio programs and broadcasting. Correspondence is authored by Directors Harold N. Graves and William Clark, Lars Lind, Public Affairs Chief David C. Fulton, and Tom Noone of the Office of Information, and addresses production and broadcast company executives, United Nations information officers, and government officials. Topics include: planning and budgeting of films; contracts with film production and distribution companies; technical production and editing; costs of printing for distribution; collaboration with USID (United States Information Agency), the National Council of Churches in Canada and ABC television; and occasional requests for interviews or television appearances from President McNamara or Vice President Garner. Correspondence occasionally includes attachments such as brochures, articles, and tables or figure sheets relating to budgets and audience screenings. A file containing the script and proposal for the development of the World Bank film Bank at Work (1957) is also included. The correspondence is in English, French, German, Spanish.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Textual records are arranged chronologically. The film and sound recordings are not in any discernible order.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Records are subject to the World Bank Access to Information Policy.
Conditions governing reproduction
Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The majority of the audio/visual materials in this series has not been viewed or subjected to a condition assessment. It is possible that individual items will not be accessible. Digitization of materials will be considered on a case-by-base basis.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Some of the audio-visual materials may have been digitized and could be accessed electronically, upo
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Internal World Bank Group Archives rules
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
19 November 2019