A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the recipient admits a limited (or inferior) status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term.
The word entered the English language from the Old French charte, via Latin charta, and ultimately from Greek χάρτης (khartes, meaning "layer of papyrus"). It has come to be synonymous with a document that sets out a grant of rights or privileges.
The term is used for a special case (or as an exception) to an institutional charter. A charter school, for example, is one that has different rules, regulations, and statutes from a state school.
A charter member of an organization is an original member; that is, one who became a member when the organization received its charter.
Anglo-Saxon charters are documents from the early medieval period in Britain which typically make a grant of land or record a privilege. They are usually written on parchment, in Latin but often with sections in the vernacular, describing the bounds of estates, which often correspond closely to modern parish boundaries. The earliest surviving charters were drawn up in the 670s; the oldest surviving charters granted land to the Church, but from the 8th century surviving charters were increasingly used to grant land to lay people.
The British Empire used three main types of colonies as it sought to expand its territory to distant parts of the earth. These three types were royal colonies, proprietary colonies, and corporate colonies. A charter colony by definition is a "colony chartered to an individual, trading company, etc., by the British crown." Although charter colonies were not the most prevalent of the three types of colonies in the British Empire, they were by no means insignificant.
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority, and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code.
A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including (but not necessarily limited to) cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. Municipal incorporation occurs when such municipalities become self-governing entities under the laws of the state or province in which they are located. Often, this event is marked by the award or declaration of a municipal charter.
In project management, a project charter or project definition (sometimes called the terms of reference) is a statement of the scope, objectives and participants in a project. It provides a preliminary delineation of roles and responsibilities, outlines the project objectives, identifies the main stakeholders, and defines the authority of the project manager. It serves as a reference of authority for the future of the project.
In medieval Europe, royal charters were used to create cities (i.e., localities with recognised legal rights and privileges). The date that such a charter was granted is considered to be when a city was "founded", regardless of when the locality originally began to be settled.
At one time a royal charter was the only way in which an incorporated body could be formed, but other means (such as the registration process for limited companies) are generally now used instead.
A charter of "Inspeximus" (Latin, literally "We have inspected") is frequently a royal charter, by which an earlier charter or series of charters relating to a particular foundation (such as a monastery or a guild) was recited and incorporated into a new charter, usually in order to confirm and renew its validity under present authority. Where the original documents are lost, an inspeximus charter may sometimes preserve their texts and lists of witnesses.
Air charter is the business of renting an entire aircraft (i.e., chartering) as opposed to individual aircraft seats (i.e., purchasing a ticket through a traditional airline).Atlantic Charter
The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal policy statement issued during World War II on 14 August 1941 which defined the Allied goals for the post-war world. The leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States drafted the work and all the Allies of World War II later confirmed it. The Charter stated the ideal goals of the war: no territorial aggrandizement; no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people (self-determination); restoration of self-government to those deprived of it; reduction of trade restrictions; global cooperation to secure better economic and social conditions for all; freedom from fear and want; freedom of the seas; and abandonment of the use of force, as well as disarmament of aggressor nations. Adherents of the Atlantic Charter signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942, which became the basis for the modern United Nations.
The Atlantic Charter set goals for the postwar world and inspired many of the international agreements that followed the war. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the postwar independence of European colonies, and much more are derived from the Atlantic Charter.BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up. The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, and used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has also funded the BBC World Service (launched in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service), which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic and Persian.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Studios Ltd (formerly BBC Worldwide), which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and also distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, and from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd.
From its inception, through the Second World War (where its broadcasts helped to unite the nation), to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture. It is also known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both (as "Auntie Beeb" or "Auntie B").Bus
A bus (contracted from omnibus, with variants multibus, motorbus, autobus, etc.) is a road vehicle designed to carry many passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-deck rigid bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are used for longer-distance services. Many types of buses, such as city transit buses and inter-city coaches, charge a fare. Other types, such as elementary or secondary school buses or shuttle buses within a post-secondary education campus do not charge a fare. In many jurisdictions, bus drivers require a special licence above and beyond a regular driver's licence.
Buses may be used for scheduled bus transport, scheduled coach transport, school transport, private hire, or tourism; promotional buses may be used for political campaigns and others are privately operated for a wide range of purposes, including rock and pop band tour vehicles.
Horse-drawn buses were used from the 1820s, followed by steam buses in the 1830s, and electric trolleybuses in 1882. The first internal combustion engine buses, or motor buses, were used in 1895. Recently, interest has been growing in hybrid electric buses, fuel cell buses, and electric buses, as well as ones powered by compressed natural gas or biodiesel. As of the 2010s, bus manufacturing is increasingly globalised, with the same designs appearing around the world.Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (French: La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), in Canada often simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights. The Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada on April 17, 1982, along with the rest of the Act.
The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights is only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document. As a federal statute, it can be amended through the ordinary legislative process and has no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada also narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court was reluctant to declare laws inoperative. The relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada. The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II also wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The British Parliament formally enacted the Charter as a part of the Canada Act 1982 at the request of the Parliament of Canada in 1982, the result of the efforts of the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to greatly expand the scope of judicial review, because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights. The courts, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional federal and provincial statutes and regulations or parts of statutes and regulations, as they did when Canadian case law was primarily concerned with resolving issues of federalism. The Charter, however, granted new powers to the courts to enforce remedies that are more creative and to exclude more evidence in trials. These powers are greater than what was typical under the common law and under a system of government that, influenced by Canada's parent country the United Kingdom, was based upon Parliamentary supremacy. As a result, the Charter has attracted both broad support from a majority of the Canadian electorate and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power. The Charter only applies to government laws and actions (including the laws and actions of federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public school boards), and sometimes to the common law, not to private activity.Charter Communications
Charter Communications, Inc. is an American telecommunications and mass media company that offers its services to consumers and businesses under the branding of Spectrum. Providing services to over 26 million customers in 41 states, it is the second-largest cable operator in the United States by subscribers, just behind Comcast, and third largest pay TV operator behind Comcast and AT&T. It is the fifth largest telephone provider based upon residential subscriber line count.
In late 2012, with the naming of longtime Cablevision executive Thomas Rutledge as their CEO, the company relocated its corporate headquarters from St. Louis, Missouri, to Stamford, Connecticut, although many operations still remain based out of St. Louis. On May 18, 2016, Charter completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its sister company Bright House Networks, making it the third-largest pay television service in the United States. Charter ranked No. 74 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.Charter of Liberties
The Charter of Liberties, also called the Coronation Charter, was a written proclamation by Henry I of England, issued upon his accession to the throne in 1100. It sought to bind the King to certain laws regarding the treatment of nobles, church officials, and individuals. The nineteenth-century historians Frederick Maitland and Frederick Pollock considered it a landmark document in English legal history and a forerunner of Magna Carta.
The document addressed abuses of royal power by his predecessor William II (his brother William Rufus), as perceived by the nobility, specifically the over-taxation of the barons, the abuse of vacant sees, and the practices of simony and pluralism.
The Charter of Liberties was generally ignored by monarchs, until in 1213 Archbishop Langton reminded the nobles that their liberties had been guaranteed over a century prior in Henry I's Charter of Liberties.Charter of the United Nations
The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) of 1945 is the foundational treaty of the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization. The UN Charter articulated a commitment to uphold human rights of citizens and outlined a broad set of principles relating to achieving ‘higher standards of living’, addressing ‘economic, social, health, and related problems,’ and ‘universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.’ As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, Article 103 of the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations.The Charter was opened for signature on 26 June 1945 and was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries (Poland, the other original member, which was not represented at the conference, signed it two months later). It entered into force on 24 October 1945, after being ratified by the original five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the Republic of China (after 1949, located in Taiwan and was later replaced by the People's Republic of China), the Provisional Government of the French Republic (later replaced by the Fourth Republic and then the Fifth Republic), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (later replaced by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, and the United States—and a majority of the other signatories. In the meantime, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place on 6 and 9 August, respectively; the introduction of this new weapon of warfare completely changed the security environment in which the UN Charter was promulgated. Most countries in the world have now ratified the Charter.
24 October was later declared as United Nations Day by the United Nations General Assembly.Charter school
A charter school is a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established state school system in which it is located. Charter schools are an example of public asset privatization.There is ongoing debate on whether charter schools ought to be described as private schools or state schools. Advocates of the charter model state that they are public schools because they are open to all students and do not charge tuition, while critics cite charter schools' private operation and loose regulations regarding public accountability and labor issues as arguments against the concept.Charter township
A charter township is a form of local government in the U.S. state of Michigan. Townships in Michigan are organized governments. A charter township has been granted a charter, which allows it certain rights and responsibilities of home rule that are generally intermediate between those of a city (a semi-autonomous jurisdiction in Michigan) and a village. Unless it is a home-rule village, the latter is subject to the authority of any township in which it is located.Chartism
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, and 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire.
The People's Charter called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic:
A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice.
Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation.
Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones.
Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period.Chartists saw themselves fighting against political corruption and for democracy in an industrial society, but attracted support beyond the radical political groups for economic reasons, such as opposing wage cuts and unemployment.Gary, Indiana
Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States, 25 miles (40 km) from downtown Chicago, Illinois. Gary is adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Park and borders southern Lake Michigan. Gary was named after lawyer Elbert Henry Gary, who was the founding chairman of the United States Steel Corporation. The city is known for its large steel mills, and as the birthplace of the Jackson 5 music group.The population of Gary was 80,294 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth-largest city in the state of Indiana. It was a prosperous city from the 1920s through the mid-1960s due to its booming steel industry, but overseas competition and restructuring of the steel industry resulted in a decline and a severe loss of jobs.
Since the late 1960s, Gary has suffered drastic population loss, falling by 55 percent from its peak of 178,320 in 1960. The city faces the difficulties of many Rust Belt cities, including unemployment, decaying infrastructure, and low literacy and educational attainment levels. It is estimated that nearly one-third of all houses in the city are unoccupied or abandoned.List of counties in California
The U.S. state of California is divided into 58 counties. The region was first divided into twenty-seven counties on February 18, 1850. These were further sub-divided to form sixteen additional counties by 1860. Another fourteen were counties formed through further subdivision from 1861 to 1893. California is home to San Bernardino County, the largest county in the contiguous United States, as well as Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The most recent county to form was Imperial County, in 1907.
California counties are general law counties by default, but may be chartered as provided in Article XI, Section 3 of the California Constitution. A charter county is granted considerably more home rule authority than a general law county. Of the 58 counties in California, 14 are governed under a charter. They are Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Tehama.More counties in California are named for saints than in any other state.Magna Carta
Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for "the Great Charter of the Liberties"), commonly called Magna Carta (also Magna Charta; "Great Charter"), is a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War. After John's death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest which was issued at the same time. Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes. His son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England's statute law.
The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling English Parliament passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles.
The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1787, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States. Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries. Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot".In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, two at the British Library, one at Lincoln Cathedral and one at Salisbury Cathedral. There are also a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia. The original charters were written on parchment sheets using quill pens, in heavily abbreviated medieval Latin, which was the convention for legal documents at that time. Each was sealed with the royal great seal (made of beeswax and resin sealing wax): very few of the seals have survived. Although scholars refer to the 63 numbered "clauses" of Magna Carta, this is a modern system of numbering, introduced by Sir William Blackstone in 1759; the original charter formed a single, long unbroken text. The four original 1215 charters were displayed together at the British Library for one day, 3 February 2015, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh (; RAH-lee) is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second-largest city in the state, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 479,332 as of July 1, 2018. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.
Raleigh is home to North Carolina State University (NC State) and is part of Research Triangle Park (RTP), together with Durham (home of Duke University and North Carolina Central University) and Chapel Hill (home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The "Triangle" nickname originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located in Durham and Wake counties, among the three cities and their universities. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had an estimated population of 2,037,430 in 2013. The Raleigh metropolitan statistical area had an estimated population of 1,214,516 in 2013.
Most of Raleigh is located within Wake County, with a very small portion extending into Durham County. The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh's primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns.
Raleigh is an early example in the United States of a planned city. Following the American Revolutionary War when the US gained independence, this was chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and incorporated in 1792 as such. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the North Carolina State Capitol in Union Square at the center. During the American Civil War, the city was spared from any significant battle. It fell to the Union in the closing days of the war, and struggled with the economic hardships in the postwar period related to the reconstitution of labor markets, over-reliance on agriculture, and the social unrest of the Reconstruction Era. Following the establishment of the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in 1959, several tens of thousands of jobs were created in the fields of science and technology, and it became one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.Royal charter
A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta (great charter) of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs (with municipal charters), universities and learned societies.
Charters should be distinguished from royal warrants of appointment, grants of arms and other forms of letters patent, such as those granting an organisation the right to use the word "royal" in their name or granting city status, which do not have legislative effect. The British monarchy has issued over 1,000 royal charters. Of these about 750 remain in existence.
The earliest charter recorded by the UK government was granted to the University of Cambridge in England in 1231, although older charters are known to have existed including to the Worshipful Company of Weavers in England in 1150 and to the town of Tain in Scotland in 1066. Charters continue to be issued by the British Crown, a recent example being that awarded to The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, in 2014.Spectrum (cable service)
Spectrum or Charter Spectrum is a trade name of Charter Communications, used to market consumer cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless services provided by the company.
The brand was first introduced in 2014; prior to that, these services were marketed primarily under the Charter name. Following the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks by Charter, these operations also assumed the Spectrum brand.Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable (TWC) was an American cable television company. Before it was purchased by Charter Communications on May 18, 2016, it was ranked the second largest cable company in the United States by revenue behind only Comcast, operating in 29 states. Its corporate headquarters were located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, with other corporate offices in Stamford, Connecticut; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Herndon, Virginia. From 1971 to 1981, Time Warner Cable, as Warner Cable, owned Dimension Pictures.
It was controlled by Warner Communications, then by Time Warner. That company spun off the cable operations in March 2009 as part of a larger restructuring. From 2009 to 2016, Time Warner Cable was an entirely independent company, continuing to use the Time Warner name under license from its former parent (including the "Road Runner" name for its Internet service, now Spectrum Internet).
In 2014, the company was the subject of a proposed purchase by Comcast Corporation, valued at $45.2 billion; however, following opposition to the deal by various groups, along with plans by the U.S. government to try to block the merger, Comcast called off the deal in April 2015. On May 26, 2015, Charter Communications announced that it would acquire Time Warner Cable for $78.7 billion, along with Bright House Networks in a separate $10.1 billion deal, pending regulatory approval.The purchase was completed on May 18, 2016; Charter had continued to do business as Time Warner Cable in its former markets, but has now re-branded these operations under the Spectrum brand in most markets (even Charter launched this brand in 2014), though it will continue to use the roadrunner.com email addresses and adelphia.net email addresses to new customers.United Nations
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House, and signed on 26 June 1945 in the Herbst Theatre auditorium in the Veterans War Memorial Building. This charter took effect on 24 October 1945, when the UN began operation.
The UN's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted primarily of unarmed military observers and lightly armed troops with primarily monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles. The organization's membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization which started in the 1960s. Since then, 80 former colonies had gained independence, including 11 trust territories, which were monitored by the Trusteeship Council. By the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council; the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of Justice; and the UN Secretariat. The UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work.
The organization, its officers and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes.
Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, biased, or corrupt.
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