17 UN Trivia Facts to Unite the Bar

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2022)

On October 24th of every year the UN celebrates United Nations Day, which is basically its birthday. Anyway, the UN was founded in 1945 following WWII and UN Day was declared in 1947. But we’re here for trivia facts, and if you’re out there trying to unite the trivia teams in the bar, maybe these facts about the UN will help you out. You know, when you think about it, everyone would earn more points if they all worked together. Think on that one for a minute. Anyway, here are some UN trivia facts.

UN Trivia Facts 

1. The UN exists basically because the League of Nations didn’t really do that great of a job after WWI.

2. The UN is headquartered in New York, but it is considered international territory–so it’s not legally beholden to New York City’s fire codes. For a while, it didn’t meet those requirements. They got in a fight over it and New York won. 

3. The land the UN headquarters sits on was originally purchased by J.D. Rockefeller Jr.

Flags outside the GA Hall during the General Assembly 75th session: General Debate

4. UN diplomats would owe New York $16 million in unpaid parking tickets if they bothered to pay. 

5. Only five nations have permanent veto power within the UN. They’re China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US. 

6. Oh also, they’re called the P5.

7. There’s a rotating roster of 10 non-permanent members of the UN with veto power, five of them are elected for a two-year stint as veto holders.

8. In case you were wondering, Russia has used the veto the most since 1992, totaling 121 times. This includes Russia’s time as the USSR. In second place is the US, having used it 82 times.

9. France and the UK haven’t used their veto since the end of 1989.

10. Palestine and the Vatican City have permanent invitations to observe the UN General Assembly, but they’re not considered members.

11. While it’s recognized by 102 UN members, Kosovo isn’t a member. Neither are Western Sahara, Taiwan, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, or Northern Cyprus.

12. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish are the official languages of the UN, and delegates do have to use these languages.

13. The UN’s emblem hasn’t changed since 1946. Talk about knowing who you are from the get-go.

14. 51 countries were among the founders of the UN.

15. Trygve Lie was the first elected Secretary-General of the UN.

16. V.K. Krishna Menon delivered the longest speech in UN history in 1957 clocking in at like eight hours. He was defending India’s position on Kashmir.

17. The UN has won an Oscar.

See if you know these famous people addressing the UN here.

About the Author:

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Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.