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Creating Community at the World Bank Group

The first issue of International Bank Notes was published on April 25, 1947, shortly after the World Bank opened for business.  While it was a newsletter designed specifically for staff, it also reveals how the World Bank created a community.

The first issue highlighted the personal aspect of working at the World Bank: weddings; visitors to Washington staff; sightseeing in Washington; lectures at the National Gallery of Art; as well as introducing new staff and their countries of origin. The first issue also solicited a name for the newsletter, which did not yet have a title.  

Document of the month - December 2011 - No name newsletter


 The header for the first issue of International Bank Notes (April 1947), which did not yet have a title.



By the time the second newsletter was issued on May 9, 1947 the publication had a name: International Bank Notes.  The third issue of June 6, 1947 outlined the purpose of International Bank Notes:  “The purpose of this newsletter is to give you information of a personal nature rather than to attempt to duplicate press releases, digests, and what could be termed ‘official’ memoranda….in that way all will become better acquainted.”

While the newsletter continued to print information such as Bank picnics, carpools, and birthdays, the June 20, 1947 issue published the first biography of senior persons in the Bank, namely Sir Gordon Munro, the Executive Director for the United Kingdom.  From then on, each newsletter published a biography.  In this issue, the international nature of the World Bank was confirmed by the announcement of language classes in Spanish and French for staff.

The July newsletter gave the following facts and figures about World Bank Staff. 

“The Bank now has 322 people.  The Administrative Department is leading with 88, Research and Loan follow with 56 and 54, respectively…..Of the 44 member nations, 19 are represented on the staff.  The United States is leading, with Canada, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, China and Belgium running a close race.  Czechoslovakia and Poland came next with Chile and Cuba following them closely.  Then come Denmark, Greece, Guatemala, India, Iran, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa.”

Document of the month - December 2011 - Lobster bisque recipe


Lobster Bisque recipe in July 1947 issue of International Bank Notes 


The July newsletter also began a tradition of publishing recipes submitted by staff.  The first recipe published in the newsletter was for a tasty lobster bisque.  In the following issues for 1947, information on group health insurance, a new circulating library, the teletype system between Washington  DC and London, the staff salary policy, as well as information on the most recent Bank loans was published.

In the space of nine months, International Bank Notes changed from a newsletter that published only staff personals and announcements, to an important internal tool that reflected both the community of staff and the organization’s initiatives and objectives. 

This feature is produced by the World Bank Group Archives to highlight the World Bank's contributions to development.  For more information concerning the the above documents and images (or any of the Archives holdings) please contact us via the Access to Information website.

Previously Featured Documents/Photos

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