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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.

© 2002-2018