Portal:United Nations

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The flag of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights issues. It was founded in 1945 with the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 countries.

The UN was founded after the end of World War II (October 24,1945) by the victorious Allied Powers in the hope that it would act to intervene in conflicts between nations and thereby avoid war. The organization's structure still reflects in some ways the political power-structure of when it was founded. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, each of which has veto power on any UN resolution, are the main victors of World War II or their successor states: the People's Republic of China (formerly the Republic of China), France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States.

There are currently 193 United Nations member states, including the majority of internationally recognized independent state. From its headquarters in New York City, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout each year. The United Nations is divided into five major administrative organs - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the Economic and Social Council. Additional bodies deal with the governance of all other United Nations system organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who attained the post on 1 January 2007. The newest Member State is South Sudan, added on July 2011.

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The UN headquarters in New York

The United Nations Headquarters is a distinctive complex in New York City that has served as the headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1950. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River. Though it is in New York City, the land occupied by the United Nations Headquarters is considered international territory, and its borders are First Avenue west, East 42nd Street south, East 48th Street north and the East River east.

Selected biography

George McGovern

George McGovern (19 July 1922– 21 October 2012) was a former United States Representative, Senator, and Democratic presidential nominee. McGovern lost the 1972 presidential election in a landslide to incumbent Richard Nixon. As a decorated World War II combat veteran, McGovern was noted for his opposition to the Vietnam War.

During his time as Director of the US Food for Peace Programmes, McGovern proposed establishing a multilateral food aid programme, which resulted in the creation of the United Nations World Food Programme in 1960. A longtime leader in ensuring nutrition and food security and fighting hunger and poverty, McGovern was appointed United Nations Ambassador on World Hunger in 2001. In 2008, he and Senator Bob Dole were named the 2008 World Food Prize Laureates for their work to promote school-feeding programs globally.

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Warren Austin at the Security Council
At the UN Security Council in September 1951, Warren Austin, the United States delegate, holds a Soviet-made submachine gun captured by American troops in July of the previous year. He charged that the Soviet Union was delivering arms to North Korea, at the time of the Korean War.

Photo credit: United States Information Agency

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Kofi Annan
More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General from 1997 to 2007

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