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Commonwealth of Independent States

(203 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a voluntary association that includes 12 of the 15 republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union). Proclaiming itself a successor to the USSR in some aspects of international affairs, the commonwealth provides a framework for unified military policy, a single currency, and a single “economic space.” The Minsk Agreement of December 8, 1991, which established the commonwealth, was signed by the three Slav republics Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Later that month, eight other for…

Brunei

(964 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
The sultanate of Brunei (official name: Negara [State of] Brunei Darussalam) is a small enclave on the northwestern coast of Borneo. It is bordered by the South China Sea and, on land, is surrounded entirely by Sarawak, an eastern state of Malaysia. In 1997 the sultan was Sir Muda Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah, who, upon succeeding his father in October 1967, became the 29th ruler in a single family of sultans tracing back to Sultan Mohammed (reigned 1405–15), the first Brunei leader to embrace Islam. According to the official census, in 1991 the population of Brunei was…

Pakistan

(2,270 words)

Author(s): Schimmel, Annemarie | Editors, the
Pakistan became an independent state on August 14, 1947. The idea of a Muslim area in the northwest of the subcontinent was first suggested and supported by Muhammad Iqbāl (1877–1938), the poet-philosopher of Indian Muslims, at the annual gathering of the All India Muslim League in Allahabad on December 30, 1930. 1. History Muslims (Islam) came to India in 711 and took over the lower Indus Valley up to Multan (now southern Pakistan). By 800 a second wave came and, from Ghaznī in present-day Afghanistan, set up Muslim rule in northwest India. Ben…

UNESCO

(421 words)

Author(s): Kimminich, Otto | Editors, the
The founding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was proposed in 1943 by the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, which was meeting to seek ways of rebuilding the systems of education crippled by the war. The UNESCO charter was signed in London by 37 countries on November 16, 1945. Its model was the International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation, which the League of Nations had organized in January 1921. As of October 2005, UNESCO had 191 member states and 6 associate members. Because of tensions between states,…

Rwanda

(1,502 words)

Author(s): Rwagacuzi, Faustin | Editors, the
1. General Situation The Rwandese Republic, in east-central Africa, is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire). The frontiers were fixed during the colonial period (Colonialism), during which Rwanda was controlled first by Germany (from 1890), then by Belgium (from 1923). The official languages of Rwanda are French, English, and Kinyarwanda. The principal people groups are Hutu (85 percent of the population in 2003), Tutsi (14 percent), and Twa (1 percent). Tensions between these groups, in lar…

Bahrain

(736 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The State of Bahrain is an archipelago nation lying along the Arabian Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Roughly two-thirds of the population are Bahrainis, with the remainder resident foreign workers (Foreigners 2), divided among Asians (13 percent, mostly Indians and Pakistanis), other Arabs (10 percent, mainly Palestinians, Egyptians, and Saudis), Iranians (8 percent), and smaller groups of Europeans. The main island, Bahrain, is linked to Saudi Arabia by a 25-kilometer (15-mi.) causeway, and by shorter causeways to the other main islands, Muharr…

City

(3,219 words)

Author(s): Editors, The | Schäfers, Bernhard | Grünberg, Wolfgang
1. Biblical Aspects 1.1. General Biblical history includes a rich theology of the city, which we might see as a parable of all human history and destiny in its vertical relation to God. From the first narratives in Genesis (4ff.) to their counterpart in Revelation (17ff.), the city is a central locus of the development of sinful humanity and of the drama of God’s action both in a response of judgment and in an initiative of grace and salvation.…

Bahamas

(1,201 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, a West Indies nation independent since July 10, 1973, comprises an archipelago of 700 islands and over 2…

Niger

(624 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Republic of Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa, borders on Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, and Burkina Faso and Mali to the west. Europeans first entered Niger in the late 18th century, with the French making Niger part of French West Africa in 1904 (Colonialism). It became a colony within French West Africa (1922), an overseas territory of France (1946), an autonomous republic within the French community (1958), and an independent nation in 1960. After a military coup in 1974, Parliament was dissolved a…

Maldives

(441 words)

Author(s): Editors, The

Communication

(2,311 words)

Author(s): Hemels, Joan M. H. J. | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Editors, The
1. Term As a special form of social action, communication denotes the exchange of signs between a communicator and a recipient. This method of conveying meaning relates to the thinking, feelings, and acts of others. In communication science the term “communication” is normally limited to exchanges between one ¶ person or persons and another or others with the help of spoken language, signs, and symbols, including nonverbal. It is usual to think of the verbal elements as being auditorily perceived and primarily rationally or cognitively process…

Congo (Brazzaville)

(679 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Republic of Congo, whose capital is Brazzaville, is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic, as well as by the former Zaire, known since May 1997 as the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most important tribal groups are the 10 groups of the Kongo peoples (840,000), 15 groups of Teke (490,000), 6 groups of Mboshi (195,000), and 6 groups of Mbete (140,000). There are altogether over 75 ethnic groups speaking 60 different languages. Congo includes small percen…

Barbados

(1,057 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The independent island nation of Barbados occupies the easternmost land mass in the West Indies. Archaeological evidence indicates that Arawak Indians maintained permanent settlements there beginning approximately a.d. 1000. First contacts with European explorers occurred probably in the early 1500s, when the Spanish landed in Barbados to seek slaves for their gold mines in Hispaniola. By the mid-1500s, no Indians remained, nor did a party of 80 English settlers under Henry Powell encounter any inhabita…

Azerbaijan

(791 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
Azerbaijan is a Transcaucasian republic bordering on the Caspian Sea. Two parts of its territory have been claimed by neighboring Armenia: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, an exclave to the southwest separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by a strip of ¶ Armenia; and the Nagorno-Karabakh Aut…

Taizé Community

(443 words)

Author(s): Frey, Jakob | Editors, the
The founder and first prior of the ecumenical community of Taizé was Roger Schutz (1915–2005), ¶ born in Switzerland as the son of a Reformed pastor. After studying theology, he bought a house in 1940 in Taizé, near Cluny in Burgundy, started regular worship there (Hours, Canonical), and took in refugees. The first Protestant brothers joined him in 1942, the first Roman Catholics in 1969. In 2005 the community included more than 100 brothers, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant. Entry into Taizé involves vows binding one to community life (Monasticism) and celibacy. Fraternities exist in many lands at places of need. Since 1966 the Roman Catholic Soeurs de St. André have been among the many visitors, most of whom are youthful. A Council…

Creation

(7,608 words)

Author(s): Elsas, Christoph | Crenshaw, James L. | Horn, Friedrich Wilhelm | Editors, The | Frey, Christofer
1. In the History of Religion 1.1. Perspectives on Creation Philosophy and natural science trace the origin of the world and humanity back to impersonal, law-governed causes. Religion, however, finds a suprahuman plan behind life and its foundations. In addition to the elementary language of con…

Heterodoxy

(64 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
“Heterodoxy” (Gk. heterodoxia, “other opinion”), in a theological and ecclesiastical context, denotes teaching that diverges from official church doctrine. In the early church it meant the same as heresy (Ignatius). Today, however, especially for Roman Catholics, it means formal divergence from orthodoxy, with “heresy” used for outright denial of the truths of the faith (see 1983 CIC 1364). See Dogma The Editors

Oman

(956 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Sultanate of Oman, with Muscat (or Masqat) as its capital city, lies in the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula, strategically located at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Over 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the balance inhabiting largely desert areas. As early as the third century b.c., Oman (known before 1970 as Muscat and Oman) was an important and prosperous trading site, a harbor on routes to Vietnam and Indonesia. Since the settling of Arab tribes in Oman in the second century a.d., the population has been mostly Arab, with…

Creed

(72 words)

Author(s): Editors, The

Morocco

(1,056 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Kingdom of Morocco, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, lies between Algeria and the Western Sahara. In the 11th and 12 centuries it was the center of a Berber empire ruling much of Spain and northwest Africa. Spanish rule came in the 19th century, then French in the 20th century (Colonialism); independence was achieved in March 1956. Later that year Tangier (which had been internationalized in 1923) was turned over to the new country. In the 1970s Morocco annexed the Western Sahara (formerly the Spanish Sahara), beginning a…
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