Q: What is the term of the Secretary-General?

A: The Secretary-General’s term is five years. Although there is technically no limit to the number of five-year terms the top official and chief administrative officer of the United Nations may serve, no Secretary-General so far has held office for more than two terms. The current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea will complete his term in office in December 2011.

Q: I’m bringing a group to the United Nations for a Guided Tour. How should I go about booking one?

A: If your group is composed of 12 or more people, you should book the tour in advance by telephoning Group Reservations at (212) 963 4440 or sending an e-mail to . If you have fewer than 12 persons in your group, no reservation is necessary. Guided tours are conducted Monday to Friday: 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tours last approximately 45 minutes. If you need a tour in a language other than English, call (212) 963-7539 on the day you plan to visit. For general information on tours including ticket prices, call (212) 963-TOUR (8687). The United Nations is located on First Avenue at 46th Street. Children under 5 are not admitted on the tour. If you are planning to bring a group of students please visit the Teacher’s Link. This web site offers step-by-step instructions for planning a visit to the United Nations, including suggestions for resources to use for preparation and then follow-up with students.

Q: How can I get information on the United Nations?

A: The Public Inquiries Unit distributes information kits containing pamphlets and fact sheets on a variety of topics of general interest as well as booklets for students at intermediate and secondary levels and a “teacher’s kit” containing a variety of UN publications. You can also click on the UN Website; UN CyberSchoolBus—or visit a depository library near you.

Q: How many countries are permanent members of the Security Council? Which ones are they?

A: The Security Council is made up of 15 members. The five permanent members—China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States—can block any proposal brought before the Council by casting a negative vote. The ten non-permanent members are periodically elected by all member states for a two-year term.

Q: I would like to send an e-mail to the Secretary-General to propose an idea for how to achieve global unity. What is his e-mail address?

A: E-mails addressed to the Secretary-General should be sent to Proposals can only be taken up by the United Nations when presented by an official representative of a member state and after being duly inscribed on the agenda of the organization and voted by its membership.

Q: How many countries are there in the world?

A: We are not an authority on this topic. We suggest you visit a public library in your area, consult an encyclopedia or a world almanac. The United Nations, however, has 192 member countries.

Q: Do you have a listing of job openings/volunteer positions/internships available?

A: You can find a listing of employment opportunities with the UN if you visit our Office of Human Resources Management, at 1 UN Plaza, Room DC1-0200, United Nations, New York, NY 10017 (How to apply?).They are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. For more information on employment opportunities, please click on Fact-sheet 17.

There is no official volunteer program at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. You may, however, find information on UN Volunteers, the volunteer arm of the UN that supports peace, relief and human development in 150 countries by visiting their website at:

For information on internships at the United Nations Headquarters, please click on the United Nations Internship Program.

Q: I am a high school graduate and I want to continue my studies at a university. Does the UN offer scholarships?

A: The UN offers no general scholarship or student exchange programs. However, UNESCO’s Study Abroad contains information on study, travel and work in member countries. This publication contains 2,950 entries concerning higher education and training opportunities in all disciplines in 124 countries. It includes information on scholarships, financial assistance, university-level courses, short-term courses, training programs, student employment possibilities and facilities for handicapped. This publication is available for consultation in many public libraries, or may be ordered from:

UNESCO Publishing, Promotion and Sales Division
1, rue Miollis, F-75732
Paris Cedex 15
Fax: 33 01 45 68 57 41
Additional information on educational opportunities at the UN is listed on its website at

Q: I heard that the UN issues international passports, visas and driver’s licenses. How can I apply?

A: No!! Neither the UN nor any of its specialized agencies or international organizations issues or authorizes the issuance of international driver’s licenses, passports or travel documents for the public. The issuance of such official documents is exclusively a function of national authorities. The UN is not a government and thus cannot issue any of the aforementioned documents.

Q: Where can I purchase or rent flags of various countries?

A: The UN flag and those of all Member States are available from UN Gift Centre, United Nations, New York, NY 10017. Telephone: (212) 963-7700/7702 or toll-free (1-800) 860-7752. The UN does not “loan” or “rent” flags to corporations or private individuals.

Q: I need/wish to donate/financial assistance from/to the UN.

A: The United Nations accepts voluntary financial contributions provided that the purpose for which the contributions are made is consistent with the aims and activities of the Organization. For further information, please click on donation. The United Nations cannot provide financial assistance to individuals or private organizations. Being an organization of sovereign states, its funds are allocated only to programs which have been officially approved by its Members.

(Source: UN)