Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Mahmoud Abbas known by the kunya Abu Mazen, is the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority. He has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization since 11 November 2004, Palestinian president since 15 January 2005. Abbas is a member of the Fatah party and was elected Chairman of Fatah in 2009. Abbas was elected on 9 January 2005 to serve as President of the Palestinian National Authority until 15 January 2009, but extended his term until the next election in 2010, citing the PLO constitution, on December 16, 2009 was voted into office indefinitely by the PLO Central Council; as a result, Fatah's main rival, Hamas announced that it would not recognize the extension or view Abbas as the rightful president. Yet, Abbas is internationally recognized and Hamas and Fatah conducted numerous negotiations in the following years, leading to an agreement in April 2014 over a Unity Government, which lasted until October 2016, therefore to the recognition of his office by Hamas.
Abbas was chosen as the President of the State of Palestine by the Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council on 23 November 2008, a position he had held unofficially since 8 May 2005. Abbas served as the first Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from March to September 2003. Before being named prime minister, Abbas led the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department. Mahmoud Abbas was born in 15 November 1935 in the Galilee region of Mandatory Palestine, his family fled to Syria during the 1948 Palestine war. Before going to Egypt, Abbas graduated from the University of Damascus. Abbas entered graduate studies at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where he earned a Candidate of Sciences degree, his doctoral dissertation was "The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism", a conspiracy theory about the Holocaust. He is married to Amina Abbas and they have had three sons; the eldest, Mazen Abbas, ran a building company in Doha and died in Qatar of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 42.
The kunya of Abu Mazen means "father of Mazen." Their second son is Yasser Abbas, a Canadian businessman, named after former PA leader Yasser Arafat. The youngest son is a business executive. Abbas has eight grandchildren, six of whom are part of the Seeds of Peace initiative bringing them in touch with young Israelis. In the mid-1950s, Abbas became involved in underground Palestinian politics, joining a number of exiled Palestinians in Qatar, where he was Director of Personnel in the emirate's Civil Service. While there in 1961, he was recruited to become a member of Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat and 5 other Palestinians in Kuwait in the late 1950s. At the time, Arafat was establishing the groundwork of Fatah by enlisting wealthy Palestinians in Qatar and other Gulf States. According to Abu Daoud, part of the funds raised by Abbas were used, without the latter's knowledge, to implement the 1972 Munich massacre, he was among the first members of Fatah to call for talks with moderate Israelis, doing so in 1977.
In a 2012 interview, he recalled, " because we took up arms, we were in a position to put them down with credibility."Abbas has performed diplomatic duties, presenting a moderating contrast to the PLO's "revolutionary"policies. Abbas was the first PLO official to visit Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War in January 1993 to mend fences with the Gulf countries after the PLO's support of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War strained relations. In the Oslo I Accord, Abbas was the signatory for the PLO on 13 September 1993, he published a memoir, Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo. In 1995, he and Israeli negotiator Yossi Beilin wrote the Beilin–Abu Mazen agreement, meant to be the framework for a future Israeli–Palestinian peace deal, it emerged in September 2016 that Abbas may have once worked for the KGB, as early as 1985 in Damascus, according to a document uncovered in the Mitrokhin Archive, where he is registered as agent "Krotov". Palestinian officials replied that at the time in question, the PLO collaborated with Moscow, that Abbas was their liaison man in the Palestinian-Soviet friendship foundation.
By early 2003, as Israel and the United States refused to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, it was thought that Abbas would be a candidate for the kind of leadership role envisaged by both countries. As one of the few remaining founding members of Fatah, he had some degree of credibility within the Palestinian cause, his candidacy was bolstered by the fact that other high-profile Palestinians were for various reasons not suitable. Abbas's reputation as a pragmatist garnered him favor with the West and some members of the Palestinian legislature. Under international pressure, on 19 March 2003, Arafat appointed Abbas Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. According to Gilbert Achcar, the United States imposed Abbas on Arafat, the democratically elected leader, though the majority of Palestinians thought of the former as a Quisling. A struggle for power between Arafat and Abbas ensued. Abbas's term as prime minister was characterised by numerous conflicts between him and Arafat over the distribution of power.
The United States and Israel accused Arafat of undermining his government. Abbas hinted. In early September 2003, he confronted t
Iraq the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Assyrians, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandeans and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan and Mandeanism present; the official languages of Iraq are Kurdish. Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf; these rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers known as Mesopotamia, is referred to as the cradle of civilisation.
It was here that mankind first began to read, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian empires, it was part of the Median, Hellenistic, Sassanid, Rashidun, Abbasid, Mongol, Safavid and Ottoman empires. The country today known as Iraq was a region of the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century, it was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, Basra Vilayet. In April 1920 the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy joining these vilayets into one Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq; the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created.
Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005; the US presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west, it has since been defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017. On 9 December 2017, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL after the group lost its territory in Iraq. Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of one autonomous region; the country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets.
Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF; the Arabic name العراق al-ʿIrāq has been in use since before the 6th century. There are several suggested origins for the name. One dates to the Sumerian city of Uruk and is thus of Sumerian origin, as Uruk was the Akkadian name for the Sumerian city of Urug, containing the Sumerian word for "city", UR. An Arabic folk etymology for the name is "well-watered. During the medieval period, there was a region called ʿIrāq ʿArabī for Lower Mesopotamia and ʿIrāq ʿAjamī, for the region now situated in Central and Western Iran; the term included the plain south of the Hamrin Mountains and did not include the northernmost and westernmost parts of the modern territory of Iraq. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the term Eyraca Arabic was used to describe Iraq.
The term Sawad was used in early Islamic times for the region of the alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contrasting it with the arid Arabian desert. As an Arabic word, عراق means "hem", "shore", "bank", or "edge", so that the name by folk etymology came to be interpreted as "the escarpment", viz. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the "al-Iraq arabi" area. The Arabic pronunciation is. In English, it is either or, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Random House Dictionary; the pronunciation is heard in US media. In accordance with the 2005 Constitution, the official name of the state is the "Republic of Iraq". Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC northern Iraq was home to a Neanderthal culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave This same region is the location of a number of pre-Neolithic cemeteries, dating from 11,000 BC. Since 10,000 BC, Iraq was one of centres of a Caucasoid Neolithic culture (k
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for consideration of national security, military matters, foreign policy matters with senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Since its inception under Harry S. Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies; the Council serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies. The Council has counterparts in the national security councils of many other nations; the predecessor to the National Security Council was the National Intelligence Authority, established by President Harry S. Truman's Executive Letter of 22 January 1946 to oversee the Central Intelligence Group, the CIA's predecessor; the NIA was composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.
The National Security Council was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. It was created because policymakers felt that the diplomacy of the State Department was no longer adequate to contain the USSR in light of the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States; the intent was to ensure coordination and concurrence among the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and other instruments of national security policy such as the Central Intelligence Agency created in the National Security Act. In 2004, the position of Director of National Intelligence was created, taking over the responsibilities held by the head of CIA, the Director of Central Intelligence, as a cabinet-level position to oversee and coordinate activities of the Intelligence Community. On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama merged the White House staff supporting the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council into one National Security Staff; the HSC and NSC each continue to exist by statute as bodies supporting the President.
The name of the staff organization was changed back to National Security Council Staff in 2014. On January 29, 2017, President Donald Trump restructured the Principals Committee, while at the same time altering the attendance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence. On April 5, 2017, President Trump removed Steve Bannon from the Security Council. According to National Security Presidential Memorandum 2, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence were to sit on the Principals Committee as and when matters pertaining to them arise, but will remain part of the full National Security Council. However, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus clarified the next day that they still are invited to attend meetings. With National Security Presidential Memorandum 4 in April 2017, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "shall" attend Principals Committee meetings and included the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency as a regular attendee.
The reorganization placed the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development as a permanent member of the Deputies Committee, winning moderate praise. On 6 April 2017, the White House Chief Strategist was removed from the National Security Council and the roles of the director of national intelligence, CIA director and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were restored to the Principal's Committee. For a detailed history of the United States National Security Council by year see: The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947, amended by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949. In 1949, as part of the Reorganization Plan, the Council was placed in the Executive Office of the President; the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group reports to the NSC. A secret National Security Council panel pursues the killing of an individual, including American citizens, called a suspected terrorist. In this case, no public record of this decision or any operation to kill the suspect will be made available.
The panel's actions are justified by "two principal legal theories": They "were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Reuters has reported that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was on such a kill list and was killed accordingly. On February 4, 2013, NBC published a leaked Department of Justice memo providing a summary of the rationale used to justify targeted killing of US citizens who are senior operational leaders of Al-Qa'ida or associated forces; the Trump Administration's National Security Council, as per the statute and National Security Presidential Memorandum–4, is chaired by the President. Its members are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, the National Security Advisor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Representative of the
Australian National University
The Australian National University is a national research university located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Its main campus in Acton encompasses seven teaching and research colleges, in addition to several national academies and institutes. Founded in 1946, it is the only university to have been created by the Parliament of Australia. A postgraduate research university, ANU commenced undergraduate teaching in 1960 when it integrated the Canberra University College, established in 1929 as a campus of the University of Melbourne. ANU employs 3,753 staff; the university's endowment stood at A$1.13 billion in 2012. ANU is regarded as one of the world's leading research universities, it is ranked 1st in Australia and the whole of Oceania, 24th in the world by the 2019 QS World University Rankings, 49th in the world by the 2019 Times Higher Education. ANU was named the world's 7th most international university in a 2017 study by Times Higher Education. In the 2017 Times Higher Education Global Employability University Ranking, an annual ranking of university graduates' employability, ANU was ranked 21st in the world.
ANU is ranked 100th in the CWTS Leiden ranking. The university is well known for its programmes in the arts and social sciences, ranks among the best in the world for a number of disciplines including politics and international relations, social policy, geography. ANU counts six Nobel laureates and 49 Rhodes scholars among its faculty and alumni; the university has educated two prime ministers, 30 current Australian ambassadors and more than a dozen current heads of government departments of Australia. The latest releases of ANU's scholarly publications are held through ANU Press online. Calls for the establishment of a national university in Australia began as early as 1900. After the location of the nation's capital, was determined in 1908, land was set aside for the university at the foot of Black Mountain in the city designs by Walter Burley Griffin. Planning for the university was disrupted by World War II but resumed with the creation of the Department of Post-War Reconstruction in 1942 leading to the passage of the Australian National University Act 1946 by the Chifley Government on 1 August 1946.
A group of eminent Australian scholars returned from overseas to join the university, including Sir Howard Florey, Sir Mark Oliphant, Sir Keith Hancock and Sir Raymond Firth. Economist Sir Douglas Copland was appointed as ANU's first Vice-Chancellor and former Prime Minister Stanley Bruce served as the first Chancellor. ANU was organised into four centres—the Research Schools of Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Pacific Studies and the John Curtin School of Medical Research; the first residents' hall, University House, was opened in 1954 for faculty members and postgraduate students. Mount Stromlo Observatory, established by the federal government in 1924, became part of ANU in 1957; the first locations of the ANU Library, the Menzies and Chifley buildings, opened in 1963. The Australian Forestry School, located in Canberra since 1927, was amalgamated by ANU in 1965. Canberra University College was the first institution of higher education in the national capital, having been established in 1929 and enrolling its first undergraduate pupils in 1930.
Its founding was led by Sir Robert Garran, one of the drafters of the Australian Constitution and the first Solicitor-General of Australia. CUC was affiliated with the University of Melbourne and its degrees were granted by that university. Academic leaders at CUC included historian Manning Clark, political scientist Finlay Crisp, poet A. D. Hope and economist Heinz Arndt. In 1960, CUC was integrated into ANU as the School of General Studies with faculties in arts, economics and science. Faculties in Oriental studies and engineering were introduced later. Bruce Hall, the first residential college for undergraduates, opened in 1961; the Canberra School of Music and the Canberra School of Art combined in 1988 to form the Canberra Institute of the Arts, amalgamated with the university as the ANU Institute of the Arts in 1992. ANU established its Medical School in 2002, after obtaining federal government approval in 2000. On 18 January 2003, the Canberra bushfires destroyed the Mount Stromlo Observatory.
ANU astronomers now conduct research from the Siding Spring Observatory, which contains 10 telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope. In February 2013, financial entrepreneur and ANU graduate Graham Tuckwell made the largest university donation in Australian history by giving $50 million to fund an undergraduate scholarship program at ANU. ANU is well known for its history of student activism and, in recent years, its fossil fuel divestment campaign, one of the longest-running and most successful in the country; the decision of the ANU Council to divest from two fossil fuel companies in 2014 was criticised by ministers in the Abbott government, but defended by Vice Chancellor Ian Young, who noted:On divestment, it is clear we were in the right and played a national and international leadership role. E seem to have played a major role in a movement; as of 2014 ANU still had investments in major fossil fuel companies. A survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2017 found that the ANU had the second highest incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
3.5 per cent of respondents from the ANU re
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public research university in Tel Aviv, Israel. With over 30,000 students, the University is the largest in the country. Located in northwest Tel Aviv, the University is the center of teaching and research of the city, comprising 9 faculties, 17 teaching hospitals, 18 performing arts centers, 27 schools, 106 departments, 340 research centers, 400 laboratories. Besides being the largest university in Israel, it is the biggest Jewish university in the world, it compromises nine faculties, 106 departments, 90 research institutes. It originated in 1956; the original 170-acre campus has been expanded and now makes up 220 acres in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan neighborhood. It ranks among the top academic institutions in the world by the Shanghai Ranking, Times Higher Education, the QS World University Rankings. TAU's origins date back to 1956, when three research institutes – the Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics, the Institute of Natural Sciences, the Institute of Jewish Studies – joined together to form Tel Aviv University.
Operated by the Tel Aviv municipality, the university was granted autonomy in 1963. The Ramat Aviv campus, covering an area of 170-acre, was established that same year; the university maintains academic supervision over the Center for Technological Design in Holon, the New Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and the Afeka College of Engineering in Tel Aviv. The Wise Observatory is located in Mitzpe Ramon. Faculties Katz Faculty of the Arts Fleischman Faculty of Engineering Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences Entin Faculty of Humanities Buchmann Faculty of Law Wise Faculty of Life Sciences Sackler Faculty of Medicine Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences Coller School of ManagementIndependent schools Porter School of Environmental Studies Buchmann-Mehta School of Music David Azrieli School of Architecture Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine Miller School of Education Shapell School of Social Work TAU International Sagol School of NeuroscienceInstitutes and centers A full list of Tel Aviv University's over 130 research institutes and centers is available here.
TAU International affords thousands of students from across the globe the opportunity to study at Tel Aviv University. All TAU International programs are conducted in English. Programs include Semester or Year Abroad, Degree Programs, Specialized Programs, such as the International LL. M at the Faculty of Law. Students in the Undergraduate or Semester Abroad Programs are given the option of housing at the Einstein Dorms, just outside the university. Undergraduate programs: B. S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering via the International Engineering School International B. A. degree in Liberal Arts and HumanitiesGraduate programs: In May 2007, New York University and Tel Aviv University approved a plan to establish an NYU Study Abroad Campus in Israel based at Tel Aviv University. The Center for World University Rankings ranked Tel Aviv University 81st in the world and third in Israel in its 2016 CWUR World University Rankings, they have ranked it as 56 in 2012. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2012 placed Tel Aviv University among the world's top 90 universities.
The ratings reflect an overall measure of esteem that combines data on the institutions' reputation for research and teaching. This achievement positioned TAU on the same level as Brown University in Rhode Island and Leiden University in the Netherlands. In 2013 QS World University Rankings ranked Tel Aviv University 196th in the world, making it the second-highest ranked university in Israel, its subject rankings were: 202nd in Arts and Humanities, 295th in Engineering and Technology, 193rd in Life Sciences and Medicine, 208th in Natural Science, 240th in Social Sciences and Management. In 2016 QS World University Rankings ranked Tel Aviv University 22nd in the world for citations per faculty, the indicator that measures a university's research impact; this makes Tel Aviv University the leading university in Israel in terms of research. In 2015 the Academic Ranking of World Universities gave Tel Aviv University the following subject rankings: 20th in Computer Science, 51-75 in Mathematics, 76-100 in Physics and 76-100 Economics/Business.
In 2016 it was ranked as 51-75 in Engineering. From the year 2007 until 2018, Tel Aviv university ranks as 30th in the world in Computer Science according to CSRankings, the same rank as Harvard and the highest ranked in Israel. Tel Aviv University offers special programs of Jewish studies to teachers and students from the United States, Brazil and Mexico; the programs are in English. The Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law has exchange agreements with 36 overseas universities, including: University of Virginia, Cornell University, Boston University, UCLA, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, EBS, McGill, Osgoode Hall, Kuwait University, Umm al-Qura University Queens University, Bergen, STL, KoGuan, Jindal Global, University of Hong Kong, Singapore Management University, Stockholm University, Sydney, Sciences Po, Lucern, Buenos Aires and Madrid. In 2013, Tel Aviv University and Ruppin Academic Center jointly created a study center at the Mediterranean Sea, where students will undertake advanced studies of issues impacting the coast
Reform Judaism is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to the ceremonial ones, a belief in a continuous revelation intertwined with human reason and intellect, not centered on the theophany at Mount Sinai. A liberal strand of Judaism, it is characterized by a lesser stress on ritual and personal observance, regarding Jewish Law as non-binding and the individual Jew as autonomous, openness to external influences and progressive values; the origins of Reform Judaism lay in 19th-century Germany, where its early principles were formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger and his associates. It is identified with progressive political and social agendas under the traditional Jewish rubric Tikkun Olam, or "Repairing of the World". Tikkun Olam is a central motto of Reform Judaism, action for its sake is one of the main channels for adherents to express their affiliation; the movement's greatest center today is in North America.
The various regional branches sharing these beliefs, including the American Union for Reform Judaism, the Movement for Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism in Britain, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, are all united within the international World Union for Progressive Judaism. Founded in 1926, the WUPJ estimates it represents at least 1.8 million people in 50 countries: close to a million registered adult congregants, as well as numerous unaffiliated individuals who identify with it. This makes it the second-largest Jewish denomination worldwide, its inherent pluralism and great importance placed on individual autonomy impede any simplistic definition of Reform Judaism. They warrant and obligate further modification and reject any fixed, permanent set of beliefs, laws or practices. A clear description became challenging since the turn toward a policy favouring inclusiveness over a coherent theology in the 1970s; this overlapped with what researchers termed as the transition from "Classical" to "New" Reform in America, paralleled in the other, smaller branches across the world.
The movement ceased stressing principles and core beliefs, focusing more on the personal spiritual experience and communal participation. This shift was not accompanied by a distinct new doctrine or by the abandonment of the former, but rather with ambiguity; the leadership allowed and encouraged a wide variety of positions, from selective adoption of halakhic observance to elements approaching religious humanism. The declining importance of the theoretical foundation, in favour of pluralism and equivocalness, did draw large crowds of newcomers, it diversified Reform to a degree that made it hard to formulate a clear definition of it. Early and "Classical" Reform were characterized by a move away from traditional forms of Judaism combined with a coherent theology. Critics, like Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan, warned that Reform became more of a Jewish activities club, a means to demonstrate some affinity to one's heritage in which rabbinical students do not have to believe in any specific theology or engage in any particular practice, rather than a defined belief system.
In regard to God, while some voices among the spiritual leadership approached religious and secular humanism – a tendency that grew from the mid-20th century, both among clergy and constituents, leading to broader, dimmer definitions of the concept – the movement had always maintained a theistic stance, affirming the belief in a personal God. Early Reform thinkers in Germany clung to this precept; the God-Idea as taught in our sacred Scripture" as consecrating the Jewish people to be its priests. It was grounded on a wholly theistic understanding, although the term "God-idea" was excoriated by outside critics. So was the 1937 Columbus Declaration of Principles, which spoke of "One, living God who rules the world"; the 1976 San Francisco Centenary Perspective, drafted at a time of great discord among Reform theologians, upheld "the affirmation of God... Challenges of modern culture have made steady belief difficult for some. We ground our lives and communally, on God's reality." The 1999 Pittsburgh Statement of Principles declared the "reality and oneness of God".
British Liberal Judaism affirms the "Jewish conception of God: One and indivisible and immanent, Creator and Sustainer". The basic tenet of Reform theology is a belief in a continuous, or progressive, occurring continuously and not limited to the theophany at Sinai, the defining event in traditional interpretation. According to this view, all holy scripture of Judaism, including the Pentateuch, were authored by human beings who, although under divine inspiration, inserted their understanding and reflected the spirit of their consecutive ages. All the People Israel are a further link in the chain of revelation, capable of reaching new insights: religion can be renewed without being dependent on past conventions; the chief promulgator of this concept was Abraham Geiger considered the founder of the movement. After critical research led him to regard scripture