The debate over the nature and future of the United Nations began before its inception in 1945, and is likely to continue far into its second half-century. The purpose of this collection is to examine something generally ignored in the debate, even in the professional literature: what the United Nations actually does. The volume consists of original, authoritative, critical analyses of a sampling of key UN activities. In addition to their credentials in their own specialties, most contributors have extensive UN experience as staff members, delegates or consultants. Most are international lawyers and the others have a wide variety of backgrounds. They come from 12 countries. Each chapter stands on its own as a significant contribution to our understanding of both the subject and the quiet, undramatic but vital worldwide work of the United Nations. Students, scholars, and other researchers involved with the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations will find this work of particular interest.