Special features, Monkey diplomacy

Monkey chairs the Security Council

No Comments 10 October 2010

Monkey chairs the Security Council

Though neither the Monkey nor his photographer are affiliated with the UN or any of its agencies, the Monkey supports its mission, and he has been known in the past to have carried out some of his diplomatic work on the premises of the UN Headquarters in New York. These pictures are from that period.

Monkey as UN Security Council President
The Monkey during his brief tenure as President of the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council round table
The Monkey at the UN Security Council round table between sessions.

UN Secretariat Building
The Monkey poses in front of the UN Secretariat Building, one of the world’s most famous structures. Built from 1949 to 1950, the 39 storey tower was a showpiece of architecture’s Modern movement. Encased by white marble endcaps and its signature blue-green windows, the Secretariat Building was the first structure in New York City to utilize a glass curtain wall (i.e., smooth exterior walls composed almost entirely of glass windows, enabled by a “thin” load-bearing structure steel skeleton and reinforced concrete floors). The trend caught on quickly: New York now boasts dozens of glass-curtain-wall skyscrapers, though few compare to the original.

Meeting Hall One, UNHQ
The Monkey poses for a portrait shortly before his address to international representatives in Meeting Hall One.

Delegates only, UNHQ
The Monkey waits for other delegates to arrive for an important meeting.

North Delegates Lounge, UNHQ
Some discussions are best settled over a drink. Here, the Monkey employs his diplomatic powers of persuasion in the UN’s North Delegates Lounge, arguably the best bar in New York City.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1284 times since the 2010 website relaunch.

United Nations


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192 member states

Land area:

The area of the original plot for the UN Headquarters is about 0.073 sq. km. Additional properties are leased as necessary.


The UN Headquarters are on international territory in New York City, New York, United States. Additional offices are located in cities around the world.


The UN is funded by a combination of voluntary contributions and member “dues” in the form of assessments based on the relative capacity of member states to pay (with preset floor and ceiling rates). While monetary contributions are critical, the UN also accepts contributions in the form of commodities which can be put to operational use (such as foodstuffs which can feed refugees).

Main language(s):

Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, French, Spanish, and Russian

Monkey's name:

El Qrd, Hóuzi, The Monkey, Le Singe, El Mono, Obezyana

Fun fact:

An introduction to the United Nations

U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the creation of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War as a replacement to the ineffectual League of Nations, which had failed to prevent the outbreak of war in 1939. The UN Charter was signed by the 50 original member states on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, California. On 24 October that year the Charter was ratified by the five permanent members of its Security Council (Britain, China, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States) and a majority of the other member states, and the United Nations came into existence.

The primary goal of the UN is to maintain global peace and security, something it attempts to do through dialogue and mediation as well as through the active deployment of member state-supplied forces for observer and peacekeeping missions. In 1948, it ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an ambitious doctrine that for the first time in human history drew up a legal system to define the rights of all humankind.

Since its founding, the UN has expanded its activities to include conflict resolution and the provision of humanitarian aid to refugees and victims of conflict; promoting democracy, development, and labor and human rights; fighting disease, poverty, starvation, pollution, environmental degradation, and nuclear proliferation; strengthening the rule of international law; reducing child mortality rates; improving literacy rates; protecting global cultural and historical sites and relics; collection of all manner of data; and a slew of other aims from clearing landmines to ensuring orderly travel on the sea and in the air.

Though rarely perfect in its handling of the plethora of problems and crises it faces, the UN remains the most inclusive, respected, and far-reaching organization on the planet and its work is incomparable. Like the governments of its member states, it can be slow to reform when necessary and is certainly capable of making mistakes, but the best argument in the oft-criticized UN’s favor is simply to consider how many more decisions would be made at gunpoint without it.

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