The name “United Nations” was first coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who used it in the “Declaration by United Nations” on January 1, 1942, during World War II. At that time, representatives from 26 nations pledged that their governments would continue fighting together against the Axis powers. By 1945, representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco at the U.N. Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter which was signed on June 26 of that year.
The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, are:
1. to maintain international peace and security;
2. to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples;
3. to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
4. to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these common ends.
Today, new members are admitted by the General Assembly, the main deliberative organ, on the recommendation of the Security Council.
The Charter established six principal organs of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (VIVAT is a member at this level), the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. The United Nations, as a whole, encompasses 15 agencies and several programs.
For more information, please visit the United Nations’ web site, www.un.org. Observance Days are listed at www.un.org/observances/days.shtml. Our publication, The Calendar, also lists these U.N. days and high-level meetings in its international section.