To promote interests such as ideological and economical, individuals, organizations, companies or governments recruit individuals or groups which exert influence in the target society.
Throughout the cold-war period the former Soviet Union and the USA were continuously recruiting existing or potential agents of influence from the other country's influential establishments such as media, civil and military institutions and the intellectual and political elite. These agents of influence were usually bribed, paid or converted to promote the interests of the "enemy" country. Agents of influence may also be recruited for industrial espionage at company or national level. Regardless of type, agents of influence may be employed against foe as well as friend.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.