What does a U.S. representative to the U.N. do?

Kelly Craft with hand raised, seated in front of
Ambassador Kelly Craft makes her first vote at a U.N. Security Council meeting on September 12. (© Richard Drew/AP Images)

Ambassador Kelly Craft presented her credentials to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on September 12 as the new U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, popularly known as “the U.N. ambassador.”

“I come to the United Nations not only as the president’s emissary, but also as the voice of America’s unwavering commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights, and, whenever possible, the peaceful resolution of conflicts,” said Craft, who was confirmed in her new position by the U.S. Senate on July 31.

As the leader of the U.S. Mission to the U.N., Craft’s most important job will be to represent the interests of the U.S. on the U.N.’s most powerful organ, the Security Council.

“In a world marked by humanitarian crises and geopolitical challenges, strong American leadership is absolutely critical, and I intend to provide it,” Craft said.

The U.N. Security Council is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. All 193 member states of the U.N. are obligated to comply with its decisions.

The United States, along with France, Russia, China and the United Kingdom, is among the five permanent members of the 15-member Security Council. Ten nonpermanent members are elected for two-year terms. Each member has one vote on the Council.

Role of the U.N. ambassador

The ambassador conveys the current U.S. position on major peace and security issues to the Security Council and the U.N. as a whole. He or she represents the U.S. at U.N. meetings.

The U.S. president nominates the U.N. ambassador, who is then confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Although the ambassador may or may not be a member of the U.S. president’s Cabinet, it’s the role of the U.N. ambassador to advise the president on international affairs, especially matters of peace and security.

“I will defend America’s values and interests. I will stand by our friends and allies. I will advocate for the poor and the weak. And I will never fail to work with those who genuinely wish to advance the cause of human dignity,” Craft said.

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