United States President Barack Obama (far right) chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York in 2009.
Photograph by Pete Souza, White House

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  • On January 17, 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first session. The Security Council consists of five permanent member nations (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 non-permanent member nations elected for two-year terms. The United Nations is an international organization created after World War II to deal with global issues and relationships among nations.

    Since its establishment, the UN Security Council has issued more than 1,800 resolutions in response to global issues. The council’s mission is to use diplomacy, economic sanctions, and military action to prevent wars, resolve disputes between countries, and protect populations from disaster and genocide.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    diplomacy Noun

    art and science of maintaining peaceful relationships between nations, groups, or individuals.

    Encyclopedic Entry: diplomacy
    disaster Noun

    terrible and damaging event.

    economic sanction Noun

    penalty or punishment, such as increased taxes on imports, imposed by one nation or group of nations on another nation.

    genocide Noun

    intentional mass murder of a specific religious, cultural, or ethnic group.

    international organization Noun

    unit made up of governments or groups in different countries, usually for a specific purpose.

    Encyclopedic Entry: international organization
    military Noun

    armed forces.

    United Nations Noun

    international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.

    World War II Noun

    (1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)