Colorful country flags fly in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York. Each flag represents a United Nations member state.

Photograph by B.A. Stewart and J.E. Fletcher
  • On October 24, 1946, the United Nations (UN) was founded in San Francisco, California. The United Nations is an international organization charged with providing international law, monitoring human rights, encouraging economic progress, and working towards world peace. Most of the countries in the world, 192 states, are members of the UN. The UN oversees peacekeeping forces that help settle conflicts between member nations, but has no police force or military of its own to enforce its decisions.

    The UN has many departments and divisions to deal with specific issues, but the two main leadership bodies are the General Assembly and the Security Council. The General Assembly is composed of representatives from all member states, with each member getting one vote. The Security Council is responsible for maintaining peace among member nations, and is made up of five permanent members (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China) and 10 rotating members. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York City.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    human rights Noun

    basic freedoms belonging to every individual, including the rights to social and political expression, spirituality, and opportunity.

    international organization Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: international organization
    law Noun

    public rule.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    Monitor Noun

    (1861-1862) steam-powered military ship protected by metal plates (an "ironclad") commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

    police Noun

    local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

    representative Noun

    someone or something who acts in place of a group of people.

    United Nations Noun

    international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.