The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were often very reluctant to do. The League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the fascist powers in 1930s. The onset of the Second World War made it clear that the League had failed in its primary purpose—to avoid any future world war. The United Nations effectively replaced it after World War II and inherited a number of agencies and organisations founded by the League. (more...)
On 13 December 1996, Annan was recommended by the United Nations Security Council to be Secretary-General, and was confirmed four days later by vote of the General Assembly. Annan took the oath of office without delay, starting his first term as Secretary-General on 1 January 1997. Annan replaced outgoing Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, becoming the first person from a black African nation to serve as Secretary-General.
The Macartney Embassy was a British mission to China in 1793. It is named for the first envoy of Great Britain to China, George Macartney, who led the endeavour. The goal of the embassy was to convince Emperor Qianlong of China to ease restrictions on trade between Great Britain and China by allowing Great Britain to have a permanent embassy in Beijing, and reduced tariffs on traders in Guangzhou.