Committee

A committee (or "commission") is a body of one or more persons that is subordinate to a deliberative assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than would be possible if the assembly itself were considering them. Committees may have different functions and their type of work differ depending on the type of the organization and its needs.

C19 interior 053
Committee room, designed 1901, in Halifax Town Hall

Purpose

A deliberative assembly may form a committee (or "commission") consisting of one or more persons to assist with the work of the assembly.[1] For larger organizations, much work is done in committees.[2] Committees can be a way to formally draw together people of relevant expertise from different parts of an organization who otherwise would not have a good way to share information and coordinate actions. They may have the advantage of widening viewpoints and sharing out responsibilities. They can also be appointed with experts to recommend actions in matters that require specialized knowledge or technical judgment.

Functions

Committees can serve several different functions:

Governance
In organizations considered too large for all the members to participate in decisions affecting the organization as a whole, a smaller body, such as a board of directors, is given the power to make decisions, spend money, or take actions. A governance committee is formed as a separate committee to review the performance of the board and board policy as well as nominate candidates for the board.[3]
Coordination and administration
A large body may have smaller committees with more specialized functions. Examples are an audit committee, an elections committee, a finance committee, a fundraising committee, and a program committee. Large conventions or academic conferences are usually organized by a coordinating committee drawn from the membership of the organization.
Research and recommendations
Committees may be formed to do research and make recommendations on a potential or planned project or change. For example, an organization considering a major capital investment might create a temporary working committee of several people to review options and make recommendations to upper management or the board of directors.
Discipline
A committee on discipline may be used to handle disciplinary procedures on members of the organization.[4]
As a tactic for indecision
As a means of public relations by sending sensitive, inconvenient, or irrelevant matters to committees, organizations may bypass, stall, or disacknowledge matters without declaring a formal policy of inaction or indifference. However, this could be considered a dilatory tactic.[5]

Power and authority

Generally, committees are required to report to their parent body. Committees do not usually have the power to act independently unless the body that created it gives it such power.[2]

Procedures

When a committee is formed, a chairman (or "chair" or "chairperson") is designated for the committee.[6] Sometimes a vice-chairman (or similar name) is also appointed.[7] It is common for the committee chairman to organize its meetings. Sometimes these meetings are held through videoconferencing or other means if committee members are not able to attend in person, as may be the case if they are in different parts of the country or the world.

The chairman is responsible for running meetings. Duties include keeping the discussion on the appropriate subject, recognizing members to speak, and confirming what the committee has decided (through voting or by unanimous consent). Using Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), committees may follow informal procedures (such as not requiring motions if it's clear what is being discussed).[8] The level of formality depends on the size and type of committee, in which sometimes larger committees considering crucial issues may require more formal processes.

Minutes are a record of the decisions at meetings. They can be taken by a person designated as the secretary. For most organizations, committees are not required to keep formal minutes.[8] However, some bodies require that committees take minutes, especially if the committees are public ones subject to open meeting laws.

Committees may meet on a regular basis, such as weekly or more often, or meetings may be called irregularly as the need arises. The frequency of the meetings depends on the work of the committee and the needs of the parent body.

When the committee completes its work, it provides the results in a report to its parent body. The report may include the methods used, the facts uncovered, the conclusions reached, and any recommendations.[9] If the committee is not ready to report, it may provide a partial report or the assembly may discharge the committee of the matter so that the assembly can handle it. Also, if members of the committee are not performing their duties, they may be removed or replaced by the appointing power.[10] Whether the committee continues to exist after presenting its report depends on the type of committee. Generally, committees established by the bylaws or the organization's rules continue to exist, while committees formed for a particular purpose go out of existence after the final report.

Commit (motion)

Commit (RONR)
ClassSubsidiary motion
Requires second?Yes
Debatable?Yes, although debate on the motion must be confined to its merits only, and cannot go into the main question except as necessary for debate of the immediately pending question.
May be reconsidered?Yes, if a committee has not begun consideration of the question. A negative vote on this motion can be reconsidered only until such time as progress in business or debate has made it essentially a new question.
Amendable?Yes
Vote requiredMajority

In parliamentary procedure, the motion to commit (or refer) is used to refer another motion—usually a main motion—to a committee.

A motion to commit should specify to which committee the matter is to be referred, and if the committee is a special committee appointed specifically for purposes of the referred motion, it should also specify the number of committee members and the method of their selection, unless that is specified in the bylaws.[11]

Any proposed amendments to the main motion that are pending at the time the motion is referred to a committee go to the committee as well.[10]

Once referred, but before the committee reports its recommendations back to the assembly, the referred motion may be removed from the committee's consideration by the motion to discharge a committee.

Recommit

In the United States House of Representatives, a motion to recommit can be made with or without instructions. If the motion is made without instructions, the bill or resolution is simply sent back to the committee. If the motion is made with instructions and the motion is agreed to, the chairman of the committee in question will immediately report the bill or resolution back to the whole House with the new language. In this sense, a motion to recommit with instructions is effectively an amendment.[12]

Variations for full assembly consideration

In Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), the motion to commit has three variations which do not turn a question over to a smaller group, but simply permit the assembly's full meeting body to consider it with the greater freedom of debate that is allowed to committees. These forms are to go into a committee of the whole, to go into a quasi-committee of the whole, and to consider informally. Passing any of these motions removes the limitations on the number of times a member can speak.[13] The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure has informal consideration, but does not have "committee of the whole" and "quasi committee of the whole".[14]

Discharge a committee

Discharge a committee (RONR)
ClassMotion that brings a question again before the assembly
In order when another has the floor?No
Requires second?Yes
Debatable?Yes; debate can go into question in hands of the committee
May be reconsidered?Negative vote only
Amendable?Yes

In Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, the motion to discharge a committee is used to take a matter out of a committee's hands before the committee has made a final report on it. A committee can use this motion to discharge a subcommittee.[15]

The vote required is a majority vote if the committee has failed to report at the prescribed time or if the assembly is considering a partial report of the committee.[16] Otherwise, it requires a majority vote with previous notice; or a two-thirds vote; or a majority of the entire membership.[16]

Under The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, the assembly that has referred a motion or a matter to a committee may, by a majority vote, withdraw it at any time from the committee, refer it to another committee, or decide the question itself.[17]

Types

Executive committee

Organizations with a large board of directors (such as international labor unions, large corporations with thousands of stock holders or national and international organizations) may have a smaller body of the board, called an executive committee, handle its business. The executive committee may function more like a board than an actual committee.[18][19] In any case, an executive committee can only be established through a specific provision in the charter or bylaws of the entity (i.e. a board cannot appoint an executive committee without authorization to do so).[18] Members of the executive committee may be elected by the overall franchised membership or by the board, depending on the rules of the organization. However formed, an executive committee only has such powers and authority that the governing documents of the organization give it. In some cases, it may be empowered to act on behalf of the board or organization, while in others, it may only be able to make recommendations.[18]

Conference committee

Governments at the national level may have a conference committee. A conference committee in a bicameral legislature is responsible for creating a compromise version of a particular bill when each house has passed a different version.

A conference committee in the United States Congress is a temporary panel of negotiators from the House of Representatives and the Senate. Unless one chamber decides to accept the other's original bill, the compromise version must pass both chambers after leaving the conference committee. The committee is usually composed of the senior members of the standing committees that originally considered the legislation in each chamber.

Other countries that use conference committees include France, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland.[20] In Canada, conference committees have been unused since 1947.[21] In the European Union (EU) legislative process, a similar committee is called a Conciliation Committee, which carries out the Triologue negotiations in case the Council does not agree with a text amended and adopted by the European Parliament at a second reading.

Different use of term

In organizations, the term "conference committee" may have a different meaning. This meaning may be associated with the conferences, or conventions, that the organization puts together. The committees that are responsible for organizing such events may be called "conference committees".

Standing committee

A standing committee is a subunit of a political or deliberative body established in a permanent fashion to aid the parent assembly in accomplishing its duties, for example by meeting on a specific, permanent policy domain (e.g. defence, health, or trade and industry). A standing committee is granted its scope and powers over a particular area of business by the governing documents.[22] Standing committees meet on a regular or irregular basis depending on their function, and retain any power or oversight originally given them until subsequent official actions of the governing body (through changes to law or by-laws) disbands the committee.

Legislatures

Most governmental legislative committees are standing committees. The phrase is used in the legislatures of the following countries:

Under the laws of the United States of America, a standing committee is a Congressional committee permanently authorized by United States House of Representatives and United States Senate rules. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 greatly reduced the number of committees, and set up the legislative committee structure still in use today, as modified by authorized changes via the orderly mechanism of rules changes.

Examples in organizations

Examples of standing committees in organizations are an audit committee, an elections committee, a finance committee, a fundraising committee, a governance committee, and a program committee. Typically, the standing committees perform their work throughout the year and present their reports at an annual meeting of the organization.[23] These committees continue to exist after presenting their reports, although the membership in the committees may change.

Nominating committee

A nominating committee (or nominations committee) is a group formed for the purpose of nominating candidates for office or the board in an organization.[24] It may consist of members from inside the organization. Sometimes a governance committee takes the role of a nominating committee. Depending on the organization, this committee may be empowered to actively seek out candidates or may only have the power to receive nominations from members and verify that the candidates are eligible.

A nominating committee works similarly to an electoral college, the main difference being that the available candidates, either nominated or "written in" outside of the committee's choices, are then voted into office by the membership. It is a part of governance methods often employed by corporate bodies, business entities, and social and sporting groups, especially clubs. The intention is that they be made up of qualified and knowledgeable people representing the best interests of the membership. In the case of business entities, their directors will often be brought in from outside, and receive a benefit for their expertise.

In the context of nominations for awards, a nominating committee can also be formed for the purpose of nominating persons or things held up for judgment by others as to their comparative quality or value, especially for the purpose of bestowing awards in the arts, or in application to industry's products and services. The objective being to update, set, and maintain high and possibly new standards.

Steering committee

A steering committee is a committee that provides guidance, direction and control to a project within an organization.[25] The term is derived from the steering mechanism that changes the steering angle of a vehicle's wheels.

Project steering committees are frequently used for guiding and monitoring IT projects in large organizations, as part of project governance. The functions of the committee might include building a business case for the project, planning, providing assistance and guidance, monitoring the progress, controlling the project scope and resolving conflicts.

As with other committees, the specific duties and role of the steering committee vary among organizations.

Special committee

A special committee (or working, select, or ad hoc committee) is established to accomplish a particular task or to oversee a specific area in need of control or oversight.[26] Many are research or coordination committees in type or purpose, and are temporary. Some are a sub-group of a larger society with a particular area of interest which are organized to meet and discuss matters pertaining to their interests. For example, a group of astronomers might be organized to discuss how to get the larger society to address near earth objects. A subgroup of engineers and scientists of a large project's development team could be organized to solve some particular issue with offsetting considerations and trade-offs. Once the committee makes its final report to its parent body, the special committee ceases to exist.[26]

Subcommittee

A committee that is a subset of a larger committee is called a subcommittee. Committees that have a large workload may form subcommittees to further divide the work. Subcommittees report to the parent committee and not to the general assembly.[8][27]

Committee of the whole

When the entire assembly meets as a committee to discuss or debate, this is called a "committee of the whole". This is not an actual committee but a procedural device that is more commonly used in legislative bodies.

Central Committee

Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the 20th century and of surviving communist states in the 21st century. In such party organizations the committee would typically be made up of delegates elected at a party congress. In those states where it constituted the state power, the Central Committee made decisions for the party between congresses, and usually was (at least nominally) responsible for electing the Politburo. In non-ruling Communist parties, the Central Committee is usually understood by the party membership to be the ultimate decision-making authority between Congresses once the process of democratic centralism has led to an agreed-upon position

See also

References

  1. ^ Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5.
  2. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 490
  3. ^ Walker, Dick; Bauser, John (April 2012). "So You Need (to Improve) a Governance Committee?". guidestar.org. GuideStar. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  4. ^ Robert 2011, p. 669
  5. ^ Robert 2011, p. 172
  6. ^ Robert 2011, p. 175
  7. ^ Robert 2011, p. 176
  8. ^ a b c Robert III, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-306-82019-9. Archived from the original on 2017-08-11.
  9. ^ Robert III 2011, p. 164
  10. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 177
  11. ^ Robert 2011, p. 171
  12. ^ Lynch, Megan S. (January 6, 2016). The Motion to Recommit in the House of Representatives (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  13. ^ Robert 2011, p. 168
  14. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 232, 233, 236
  15. ^ Robert 2011, pp. 310–311
  16. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 312
  17. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 57
  18. ^ a b c Robert 2011, p. 485
  19. ^ Robert III 2011, p. 157
  20. ^ Tsebelis, George; Money, Jeannette (1997). Bicameralism. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 9780521589727.
  21. ^ Hays, Hon. Dan (Autumn 2008). "Reviving Conference Committees". revparl.ca. Canadian Parliamentary Review. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  22. ^ Robert 2011, p. 491
  23. ^ Robert 2011, p. 502
  24. ^ Robert 2011, p. 433
  25. ^ Mcleod (2008). Management Information Systems (10 ed.). Pearson Education. p. 201. ISBN 978-81-317-1949-7.
  26. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 492
  27. ^ Robert 2011, p. 497
Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

The CPC is officially organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the CPC is the National Congress, convened every fifth year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and State President (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts, the party leader is the country's paramount leader. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in October 2012.

The CPC is committed to communism and continues to participate in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties each year. According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The command economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".

Since the collapse of Eastern European communist governments in 1989–1990 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CPC has emphasised its party-to-party relations with the ruling parties of the remaining socialist states. While the CPC still maintains party-to-party relations with non-ruling communist parties around the world, since the 1980s it has established relations with several non-communist parties, most notably with ruling parties of one-party states (whatever their ideology), dominant parties in democracies (whatever their ideology) and social democratic parties.

FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA FEEF-ə; French for 'International Federation of Association Football', Spanish: Federación Internacional

de Fútbol Asociación, German: International Verband des Association Football) is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.

FIFA was founded in 1904 to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, its membership now comprises 211 national associations. Member countries must each also be members of one of the six regional confederations into which the world is divided: Africa, Asia, Europe, North & Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania, and South America.

Although FIFA does not control the rules of football, that being the responsibility of the International Football Association Board, it is responsible for both the organization of a number of tournaments and their promotion, which generate revenue from sponsorship. In 2017, FIFA had revenues of over US $734 million, for a net loss of $189 million, and had cash reserves of over US$930 million.Reports by investigative journalists have linked FIFA leadership with corruption, bribery, and vote-rigging related to the election of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the organization's decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. These allegations led to the indictments of nine high-ranking FIFA officials and five corporate executives by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges including racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. On 27 May 2015, several of these officials were arrested by Swiss authorities, who were launching a simultaneous but separate criminal investigation into how the organization awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Those among these officials who were also indicted in the U.S. are expected to be extradited to face charges there as well. Many officials were suspended by FIFA's ethics committee including Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. In early 2017 reports became public about FIFA president Gianni Infantino attempting to prevent the re-elections of both chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert, during the FIFA congress in May 2017. On May 9, 2017, following Infantino's proposal, FIFA Council decided not to renew the mandates of Borbély and Eckert. Together with the chairmen, 11 of 13 committee members were removed.

House Un-American Activities Committee

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC, or House Committee on Un-American Activities, or HCUA) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. The HUAC was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Fascist or Communist ties. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security". When the House abolished the committee in 1975, its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee's anti-communist investigations are often compared with those of Joseph McCarthy who, as a U.S. Senator, had no direct involvement with this House committee. McCarthy was the chairman of the Government Operations Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate, not the House.

International Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee (IOC; French: Comité International Olympique CIO) is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, it is the authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games.The IOC is the governing body of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic Movement. As of 2016, there are 206 NOCs officially recognised by the IOC. The current president of the IOC is Thomas Bach of Germany, who succeeded Jacques Rogge of Belgium in September 2013.

International Organization for Standardization

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in 164 countries.It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 17 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

The movement consists of several distinct organizations that are legally independent from each other, but are united within the movement through common basic principles, objectives, symbols, statutes and governing organisations. The movement's parts are:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland, in particular by Henry Dunant and Gustave Moynier. Its 25-member committee has a unique authority under international humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. The ICRC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions (in 1917, 1944 and 1963).

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 and today it coordinates activities between the 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies within the Movement. On an international level, the Federation leads and organizes, in close cooperation with the National Societies, relief assistance missions responding to large-scale emergencies. The International Federation Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1963, the Federation (then known as the League of Red Cross Societies) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the ICRC.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in nearly every country in the world. Currently 190 National Societies are recognized by the ICRC and admitted as full members of the Federation. Each entity works in its home country according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement. Depending on their specific circumstances and capacities, National Societies can take on additional humanitarian tasks that are not directly defined by international humanitarian law or the mandates of the international Movement. In many countries, they are tightly linked to the respective national health care system by providing emergency medical services.

KGB

The KGB (Russian: Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности (КГБ), tr. Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, IPA: [kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪnːəj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ] (listen)), translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. As a direct successor of preceding agencies such as Cheka, NKGB, NKVD and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia, and consisted of many ministries, state committees and state commissions.

The agency was a military service governed by army laws and regulations, in the same fashion as the Soviet Army or MVD Internal Troops. While most of the KGB archives remain classified, two online documentary sources are available. Its main functions were foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, operative-investigatory activities, guarding the State Border of the USSR, guarding the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government, organization and ensuring of government communications as well as combating nationalism, dissent, and anti-Soviet activities.

In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the KGB was split into the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.

After breaking away from Georgia in the early 1990s with Russian help, the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia established its own KGB (keeping this unreformed name).

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of its governing Communist Party from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy.

Of mixed Russian and Ukrainian heritage, Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai to a poor peasant family. Growing up under the rule of Joseph Stalin, in his youth he operated combine harvesters on a collective farm before joining the Communist Party, which then governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist-Leninist doctrine. While studying at Moscow State University, he married fellow student Raisa Titarenko in 1953 prior to receiving his law degree in 1955. Moving to Stavropol, he worked for the Komsomol youth organisation and, after Stalin's death, became a keen proponent of the de-Stalinization reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee in 1970, in which position he oversaw construction of the Great Stavropol Canal. In 1978 he returned to Moscow to become a Secretary of the party's Central Committee and in 1979 joined its governing Politburo. Within three years of the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, following the brief regimes of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, the Politburo elected Gorbachev as General Secretary, the de facto head of government, in 1985.

Although committed to preserving the Soviet state and to its socialist ideals, Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary, particularly after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. He withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States President Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War. Domestically, his policy of glasnost ("openness") allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika ("restructuring") sought to decentralise economic decision making to improve efficiency. His democratisation measures and formation of the elected Congress of People's Deputies undermined the one-party state. Gorbachev declined to intervene militarily when various Eastern Bloc countries abandoned Marxist-Leninist governance in 1989-90. Internally, growing nationalist sentiment threatened to break up the Soviet Union, leading Marxist-Leninist hardliners to launch an unsuccessful August 1991 coup against Gorbachev. In the wake of this, the Soviet Union dissolved against Gorbachev's wishes and he resigned in December. Out of office, he launched his Gorbachev Foundation, became a vocal critic of Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and campaigned for Russia's social-democratic movement.

Widely considered one of the most significant figures of the second half of the 20th century, Gorbachev remains the subject of controversy. The recipient of a wide range of awards—including the Nobel Peace Prize—he was widely praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War, curtailing human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and tolerating both the fall of Marxist–Leninist administrations in eastern and central Europe and the reunification of Germany. Conversely, in Russia he is often derided for not stopping the Soviet collapse, an event which brought a decline in Russia's global influence and precipitated an economic crisis.

Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize (Swedish, Norwegian: Nobels fredspris) is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".Per Alfred Nobel's will, the recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway. Since 1990, the prize is awarded on 10 December in Oslo City Hall each year. The prize was formerly awarded in the Atrium of the University of Oslo Faculty of Law (1947–1989), the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), and the Parliament (1901–1904).

Due to its political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has, for most of its history, been the subject of numerous controversies.

Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize (, Swedish pronunciation: [nʊˈbɛlː]; Swedish definite form, singular: Nobelpriset; Norwegian: Nobelprisen) is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

The will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established the five Nobel prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. The prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace activism, physics, and physiology or medicine.In 1968, Sweden's central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which, although not a Nobel Prize, has become informally known as the "Nobel Prize in Economics".The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Between 1901 and 2018, the Nobel Prizes (and the Prizes in Economic Sciences, from 1969 on) were awarded 590 times to 935 people and organizations. With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 27 organizations and 908 individuals. The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the Peace Prize ceremony, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient (known as a "laureate") receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2017, each prize is worth 9,000,000 SEK, or about US$1,110,000, €944,000, £836,000 or ₹73,800,000.) Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23-carat gold, and later in 18-carat green gold plated with a 24-carat gold coating.

The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented. A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people.

Olympic Games

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (French: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, the five Continental games (Pan American, African, Asian, European, and Pacific), and the World Games for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The Deaflympics and Special Olympics are also endorsed by the IOC. The IOC has had to adapt to a variety of economic, political, and technological advancements. The abuse of amateur rules by the Eastern Bloc nations prompted the IOC to shift away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allowing participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialisation of the Games. World wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.The Olympic Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organising committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Games, and organises and funds the Games according to the Olympic Charter. The IOC also determines the Olympic programme, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games. There are several Olympic rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third-place finishers in each event receive Olympic medals: gold, silver, and bronze, respectively.

The Games have grown so much that nearly every nation is now represented. This growth has created numerous challenges and controversies, including boycotts, doping, bribery, and a terrorist attack in 1972. Every two years the Olympics and its media exposure provide athletes with the chance to attain national and sometimes international fame. The Games also constitute an opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world.

Thesis

A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some contexts, the word "thesis" or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a doctorate, while in other contexts, the reverse is true. The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis or dissertation can vary by country, university, or program, and the required minimum study period may thus vary significantly in duration.

The word "dissertation" can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term "thesis" is also used to refer to the general claim of an essay or similar work.

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard (; born April 12, 1981) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district since 2013. Following her election in 2012, she became the first Samoan American and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009. She previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004. When she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at age 21, Gabbard was the youngest woman to be elected to a U.S. state legislature. Gabbard was a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

As of 2019 Gabbard supports abortion rights, Medicare for All and same-sex marriage; she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She is critical of interventionism in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. She also denounced U.S. involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. Her opposition to removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power by force and her voting and lobbying against LGBT rights prior to 2005 have attracted controversy. She has since changed her views concerning LGBT rights.

On January 11, 2019, Gabbard announced her campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020.

UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; French: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate members. Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.

UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press, regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information". Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.The broad goals and objectives of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities.

Unita Blackwell

Unita Zelma Blackwell (March 18, 1933 – May 13, 2019) was an American civil rights activist who was the first African American woman to be elected mayor in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Blackwell was a project director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped organize voter drives for African Americans across Mississippi. She was also a founder of the US China Peoples Friendship Association, a group dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between the United States and China. Barefootin', Blackwell's autobiography, published in 2006, charts her activism.

United States House Committee on the Judiciary

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, also called the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities. The Judiciary Committee is also the committee responsible for impeachments of federal officials. Because of the legal nature of its oversight, committee members usually have a legal background, but this is not required.

In the 116th Congress, the chairman of the committee is Democrat Jerry Nadler of New York, and the ranking minority member is Republican Doug Collins of Georgia.

United States House of Representatives

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.

The composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of Representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U.S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all Representatives have been directly elected. The total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration. In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue; the impeachment of federal officers, who are sent to trial before the Senate; and, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for President, the duty falls upon the House to elect one of the top three recipients of electors for that office, with one vote given to each state for that purpose. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol.

The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, who is elected by the members thereof (and is therefore traditionally the leader of the controlling party). The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members.

United States Senate

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety. Each state, regardless of its population size, is equally represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 to 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states they represented; they are now elected by popular vote, following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.

As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers. In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House.

The Senate is widely considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, who is President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, who is customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers.

Watergate scandal

The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States during 1972 to 1974, following a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and President Richard Nixon's administration's subsequent attempt to cover up his involvement. After the five burglars were caught and the conspiracy was discovered—chiefly through the work of a few journalists, Congressional staffers and an election-finance watchdog official—Watergate was investigated by the United States Congress. Meanwhile, Nixon's administration resisted its probes, which led to a constitutional crisis.The term Watergate, by metonymy, has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such dirty tricks as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as political weapons.The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by members of the Nixon administration, the commencement of an impeachment process against the president, and Nixon's resignation. The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials.The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking into the DNC headquarters at the Watergate complex on Saturday, June 17, 1972. The FBI investigated and discovered a connection between cash found on the burglars and a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP), the official organization of Nixon's campaign. In July 1973, evidence mounted against the president's staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee. The investigation revealed that Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and that he had recorded many conversations.After a series of court battles, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that the president was obligated to release the tapes to government investigators (United States v. Nixon). The tapes revealed that Nixon had attempted to cover up activities that took place after the break-in, and to use federal officials to deflect the investigation.

Facing virtually certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, preventing the House from impeaching him. On September 8, 1974, his successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him.

The name "Watergate" and the suffix "-gate", used after an identifying term (e.g. Bridgegate), have since become synonymous with political and non-political scandals in the United States, and some other parts of the world.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping (; Chinese: 习近平; Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕǐ tɕîn.pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician serving as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Often described as China's "paramount leader" since 2012, he officially received the title of "core leader" from the CPC in 2016. As general secretary, Xi holds an ex-officio seat on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's top decision-making body.Xi is the first general secretary born after the Second World War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a cave in the village of Liangjiahe, where he organised communal labourers. After studying at the Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier student", Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian from 1999 to 2002, and governor, then party secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as party secretary for a brief period in 2007. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Hu Jintao's presumed successor. Xi was vice president from 2008 to 2013 and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.

Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to ensure internal unity. His signature anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Described as a Chinese nationalist, he has tightened restrictions over civil society and ideological discourse, advocating Internet censorship in China as the concept of "internet sovereignty". Xi has called for further socialist market economic reforms, for governing according to the law and for strengthening legal institutions, with an emphasis on individual and national aspirations under the slogan "Chinese Dream". He has also championed a more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China's claims in the South China Sea, and its role as a leading advocate of free trade and globalization. Xi has sought to expand China's African and Eurasian influence through the One Belt One Road Initiative. The 2015 meeting between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou marked the first time the political leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait have met since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950.Considered the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People's Republic, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. Said to be one of the most powerful leaders in modern Chinese history, Xi's political thoughts have been written into the party and state constitutions, and under his leadership the latter was amended to abolish term limits for the presidency. In 2018, Forbes ranked him as the most powerful and influential person in the world, dethroning Russian President Vladimir Putin who held the accolade for five consecutive years.

Major concepts
Subsidiary motions
Privileged motions
Incidental motions
Motions that bring a question
again before the assembly
Legislative procedures
Disciplinary procedures
Parliamentary authorities

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