Atomic Energy Agency, International (IAEA), independent intergovernmental organization established in 1957 under the aegis of the United Nations to promote safe, secure, and peaceful uses of atomic energy. It reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council. Its headquarters are in Vienna; liaison and regional offices are located in Geneva, New York, Toronto, and Tokyo. It also runs or supports four research centers and scientific labs. The IAEA has three main aims: nuclear verification and security, safety, and technology transfer. It may purchase and sell fissionable materials, offer technical assistance for peaceful nuclear energy uses, and establish safeguards to prevent diversion of nuclear materials to military use. It inspects for compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a power strengthened as a result of the findings of Iraqi violations in 1992. More recently, the organization has been involved in taking measures against the threat of nuclear terrorism. The IAEA is made up of a general conference, consisting of representatives of all member states, a board of governors of 35 members, six deputy directors general, and a secretariat of some 2,200 individuals, all headed by a director-general. There are 151 member nations. In 2005 the IAEA and its director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei at the time, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent the use and spread of nuclear weapons and to ensure that peaceful uses of nuclear energy were safe.
Geophysical Year, International: see International Geophysical Year.
Centennial Exhibition, International, held in Philadelphia from May to Nov., 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The buildings, in Fairmount Park, included the Main Building, covering 20 acres (8 hectares), Machinery Hall, Agricultural Hall, Horticultural Hall, and Memorial Hall, many state buildings, and buildings of 37 foreign countries. The total number of persons attending in 159 days was almost 10 million. This was the first of a series of world's fairs that the United States was to hold, and it set a high standard, exhibiting in graphic manner the technical advances and industrial growth of the nation. Memorial Hall, a Renaissance structure of granite, became part of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
arbitration, international, judicial process by which international disputes, usually between states, are settled peacefully, generally through the use of a tribunal acting as a court of law. Such a tribunal may consist of an individual (e.g., an impartial head of state, the pope, the secretary-general of the United Nations), a neutral country, or an organization such as the Hague Tribunal. The parties to the dispute pick the arbitrating body themselves and are obligated to accept the terms of settlement. If the parties do not agree in advance to follow the decision reached by a third party, but merely agree to consider it, the process is termed conciliation (see mediation). Arbitration was practiced by the Greek city-states, and in the Middle Ages high ecclesiastical authorities were called upon to settle controversies. With the development of the modern system of nation-states, however, arbitration was less frequently used until the 19th cent. when the settlement by arbitration of the famous Alabama claims case between the United States and Great Britain brought this practice back into general use. Great advances have been made since then, most notably in the establishment of a Permanent Court of Arbitration (the Hague Tribunal) by the Hague Conferences. Functions analogous to arbitration were performed by the Permanent Court of International Justice (see World Court) under the League of Nations and have now been transferred to its successor, the International Court of Justice. Today many treaties contain clauses providing for arbitration or conciliation of disputes; the most notable of these is the Charter of the United Nations (Article 33).

See J. H. Ralston, International Arbitration from Athens to Locarno (1929); C. M. Bishop, International Arbitral Procedure (1930); K. S. Carlston, The Process of International Arbitration (1946); H. W. Briggs, The Law of Nations (2d ed. 1952); J. L. Brierly, The Law of Nations (6th ed. 1963); A. Cox, Prospects for Peacekeeping (1967); R. Fisher, Improving Compliance with International Law (1981).

International, any of a succession of international socialist and Communist organizations of the 19th and 20th cent.

The First International

The First International was founded in London in 1864 as the International Workingmen's Association. Karl Marx was a key figure in inspiring its creation and was later chosen as its leader. Its goal was to unite all workers for the purpose of achieving political power along the lines set down by Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto (1848). Marx viewed the International as a vehicle for revolution, but it played only a minor role in the revolutionary Commune of Paris (1871). Power struggles within the organization greatly weakened it, and the clash between Marx and the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin led to its complete disintegration (1876).

The Second International

By 1889, socialist parties had been founded in numerous European nations and the need for another International was felt. The Second, or Socialist, International, was founded in that year at a Paris congress, and it later set up permanent headquarters in Belgium, with Emile Vandervelde as its president. This International was predominantly political in character, and the German and Russian Social Democratic parties were its most important elements. Its early leaders included Engels, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, and Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov.

Despite the ideological schisms that plagued socialism during this period, the Second International did much to advance labor legislation and strengthen the democratic socialist movement. It failed, however, in what was perhaps its primary concern—the prevention of war. On the outbreak (1914) of World War I nearly all the socialist parties supported their individual governments, and the Second International collapsed.

The Third International (Comintern)

After the victory of Communism in the Russian Revolution (1917), a Third, or Communist, International was created (1919). Under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, this Communist International, or Comintern, hoped to foster world revolution. The Comintern was not generally acceptable to socialist labor groups, however, and was dissolved in 1943.

After World War II, the Comintern was replaced (1947) by the Communist Information Bureau, or Cominform, which aided the seizure of power by the Communists in Czechoslovakia. Because of world political pressures the Cominform lost its influence and power after 1948 and became a vehicle for Soviet propaganda. It was disbanded in 1956.

The Socialist International

After World War I, the Second International was revived (1919) by moderate socialists, and a Vienna, or Two-and-a-Half, International was formed (1921) from splinter leftist groups that spurned both the Second International and the Comintern. In 1923 the Second and Vienna internationals merged to form the Labor and Socialist International, which lasted until the beginning of World War II. After the war this International was continued under the name of the Socialist International, and it exists today. Among its tenets are support for internationally integrated economic systems and civil rights and opposition to left-wing and right-wing totalitarianism and all forms of exploitation and enslavement.


See J. Joll, The Second International, 1889-1914 (1955); M. M. Drachkovitch, ed., The Revolutionary Internationals, 1864-1943 (1966); J. Braunthal, History of the International (2 vol., 1967). See also bibliographies under communism and socialism.

date line, international: see international date line.

Study of the relations of states with each other and with international organizations and certain subnational entities (e.g., bureaucracies and political parties). It is related to a number of other academic disciplines, including political science, geography, history, economics, law, sociology, psychology, and philosophy. The field emerged at the beginning of the 20th century largely in the West and particularly in the U.S. as that country grew in power and influence. The study of international relations has always been heavily influenced by normative considerations, such as the goal of reducing armed conflict and increasing international cooperation. At the beginning of the 21st century, research focused on issues such as terrorism, religious and ethnic conflict, the emergence of substate and nonstate entities, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and efforts to counter nuclear proliferation, and the development of international institutions.

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Institution drawing membership from at least three states, having activities in several states, and whose members are held together by a formal agreement. Only a few existed before 1850; several thousand were active in the early 21st century. Some are intergovernmental (e.g., the United Nations), and some are nongovernmental (e.g., Amnesty International). Some have multiple worldwide or regional purposes (e.g., the European Union), and some have single purposes (e.g., the World Intellectual Property Organization). One effect of their proliferation is a stronger sense of interdependence among states, which in turn has stimulated recognition of the need for cooperation to address international and global problems.

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Body of legal rules, norms, and standards that apply between sovereign states and other entities that are legally recognized as international actors. The term was coined by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Important elements of international law include sovereignty, recognition (which allows a country to honour the claims of another), consent (which allows for modifications in international agreements to fit the customs of a country), freedom of the high seas, self-defense (which ensures that measures may be taken against illegal acts committed against a sovereign country), freedom of commerce, and protection of nationals abroad. International courts, such as the International Court of Justice, resolve disputes on these and other matters, including war crimes. Seealso asylum; immunity.

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or trade fair

Temporary market organized to promote trade, where buyers and sellers gather to transact business. Trade fairs are organized at regular intervals, generally at the same location and time of year. They are especially common in Europe and Asia, where nearly every country has at least one major annual international exposition. They range in scope from those dealing with one industry or branch of industrial production to general exhibits of goods and merchandise. Trade shows and conventions confined to a single industry or even to a specialized segment of an industry have become increasingly common.

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Instrument by which nation-states and international organizations regulate matters of concern. They are governed by international law, and their purposes include the development and codification of international law, the creation of international bodies, and the resolution of actual and potential international conflict. The most comprehensive agreement is a treaty; others, including conventions (e.g., the Geneva Conventions), charters (e.g., the UN charter), and pacts (e.g., the Kellogg-Briand Pact), are less formal and rely primarily on goodwill. Agreements may be negotiated between states, between an organization and a state, between organizations, or between any of those and a nongovernmental organization.

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Act of transferring parental rights and duties to someone other than the adopted person's biological parents. The practice is ancient and occurs in all cultures. Traditionally, its goal was to continue the male line for the purposes of inheritance and succession; most adoptees were male (and sometimes adult). Contemporary laws and practices aim to promote child welfare and the development of families. In the latter part of the 20th century, there was a relaxation of traditional restrictions on age differences between adoptive parents and children, on the parents' minimum income level, on the mother's employment outside the home, and on placements across religious and ethnic lines. Single-parent adoptions and adoptions by same-sex couples also became more acceptable. Beginning in the 1970s, a growing adoptees-rights movement in the United States called for the repeal of confidentiality laws in most states that prevented adoptees as adults from viewing their adoption records, including their original birth certificates.

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United Nations agency headquartered in Geneva. Its roots can be traced to 1865, when the International Telegraph Union was established to coordinate international development of the telegraph. It acquired its present name in 1934 and became a UN specialized agency in 1947. Its activities include regulating allocation of radio frequencies, setting standards on technical and operational matters, and assisting countries in developing their own telecommunications systems.

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or Système International d'Unités or SI system

International decimal system of weights and measures derived from and extending the metric system of units. Adopted by the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1960, it was developed to eliminate overlapping but different systems of units of measures fostered by rapid advances in science and technology in the 19th–20th centuries. Its fundamental units include the metre (m) for length, the kilogram (kg) for mass, and the second (sec) for time. Derived units include those for force (newton, N), energy (joule, J), and power (watt, W).

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Temporary specialized agency of the United Nations system (1946–52). The IRO assisted refugees and displaced persons in Europe and Asia who could not or would not return home after World War II. Taking over the work of its principal predecessor, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, it also assumed responsibility for the legal protection and resettlement of refugees previously carried out by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. It was succeeded by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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International Monetary Fund headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Specialized agency of the United Nations system. It was conceived at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) and officially founded in 1945 as a voluntary cooperative institution to help ensure the smooth international buying and selling of currency. More than 180 countries are members of the IMF. Its principal functions are stabilizing currency-exchange rates, financing the short-term balance-of-payments deficits of member countries, and providing advice and technical assistance to borrowing countries. Members contribute operating funds and receive voting rights according to their volume of international trade, national income, and international reserve holdings; the U.S. holds in excess of one-sixth of the voting rights, more than twice the percentage of any other member. The IMF has no coercive power over members, but it can refuse to lend money to members that do not agree to adhere to its policies; as a last resort it can ask members to withdraw from the organization. Critics of the IMF contend that the austerity and privatization measures it requires of borrowing countries reduce economic growth, deepen and prolong financial crises, and create severe hardships for the world's poorest people. Seealso International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; World Bank.

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officially International Criminal Police Organization

International organization whose purpose is to fight international crime. Interpol promotes the widest possible mutual assistance between the criminal police authorities of affiliated countries and seeks to establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary crime. The organization traces its history to 1914, when a congress of international criminal police, attended by delegates from 14 countries, was held in Monaco. Interpol was formally founded in Austria in 1923 with 20 member countries; after World War II its headquarters moved to Paris and, in 1989, to Lyon, France. By the early 21st century, its membership exceeded 180 countries. Interpol pursues criminals who operate in more than one country (e.g., smugglers), those who stay in one country but whose crimes affect other countries (e.g., counterfeiters of foreign currency), and those who commit a crime in one country and flee to another.

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Permanent judicial body established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998) to prosecute individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The court commenced operations on July 1, 2002, after the requisite number of countries (60) ratified the Rome Statute (some 140 countries signed the agreement). The ICC was established as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses in cases where national courts fail to act. It is headquartered in The Hague. By 2002 China, Russia, and the U.S. had declined to participate in the ICC, and the U.S. had campaigned actively to have its citizens exempted from the court's jurisdiction.

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or World Court

Principal judicial body of the United Nations, located at The Hague. Its predecessor organization was the Permanent Court of International Justice, the judicial body of the League of Nations. Its first session was held in 1946. Its jurisdiction is limited to disputes between states willing to accept its authority on matters of international law. Its decisions are binding, but it has no enforcement power; appeals must be made to the UN Security Council. Its 15-member body of judges, each of whom serves a nine-year term, is elected by countries party to the court's founding statute. No two judges may come from the same country. Seealso European Court of Justice.

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International organization officially founded in 1957 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Based in Vienna, its activities include research on the applicability of nuclear energy to medicine, agriculture, water resources, and industry; provision of technical assistance; development of radiation safeguards; and public relations programs. Following the Persian Gulf War, IAEA inspectors were called on to certify that Iraq was not manufacturing nuclear weapons. The IAEA and its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2005.

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International human-rights organization. It was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a London lawyer who organized a letter-writing campaign calling for amnesty for “prisoners of conscience.” AI seeks to inform the public about violations of human rights, especially abridgments of freedom of speech and religion and the imprisonment and torture of political dissidents. It actively seeks the release of political prisoners and support of their families when necessary. Its members and supporters are said to number one million people in some 140 countries. Its first director, Sean MacBride, won the 1974 Nobel Prize for Peace; AI itself won the award in 1977.

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This article is about Democracy Watch (International), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For other groups and publications named Democracy Watch, see Democracy watch.

Democracy Watch (International) is a service organization founded in 2003, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA with subsidiary offices in the Washington D.C., area. Its current executive chairperson is Scott Perry.


The chartered purpose of Democracy Watch (International) is to monitor, record and disseminate information about functional democracy in as many nations throughout the world as possible.


The groups executive directors stated that, by the evaluation of research material, including the dispatch of election monitoring volunteers from time to time, and by applying a predefined set of test standards to the information so obtained in an objective and uniform manner, the group works to shed a greater light and awareness on the global process of democratization.


Democracy Watch (International) web-site states that it is:

  • Non-Profit
  • Non-Aligned (accepting no funding from governmental or political organizations).
  • Purely informational; it is "the only non-aligned election/democracy monitoring organization of its kind in existence."

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