With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, now disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. He argues passionately that we should be concerned not only for preserving the biosphere, but also the "ethnosphere" -- "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination."
Over a billion people currently live without access to clean drinking water. Through giving to organizations such as Living Water International, the creators of Advent Conspiracy hope to see that number reduced to zero within the next decade.
Acirfa and its partner Zambikes are distributing bikes in the African countryside, enabling doctors, teachers, and families to spend more time working and less time walking. It's a simple program with the potential for major economic impact.
It seems like every day I'm reading a new article about the battle between corporations and individuals over copyright and piracy, and it gets old. The problem is that both sides have lost the moral high ground in the debate. Here is a proposal to put both sides on the moral high ground and end the wars over copyright.
El espíritu de África no puede ser fácilmente comprendido. Poeta y novelista nigeriano Chris Abani intentos de hacerlo a través de la poesía y cuentos, entre ellos su propia historia del arte y despertar político, que comenzó con una actividad inventiva maestroque le enseñó la historia prohibida de su propio pueblo. ¿Cómo, se pregunta, ¿podemos conciliar las historias de terror, la guerra y la corrupción con la permanente sensación de maravilla?Read more
Total population: 131,269,860 (Ranked 8th in the world by the US Census Bureau).
National GDP: US $187 billion (1999 est.).
GDP per capita: US $1,470 (1999 est.).
Median Age: 20.7 years old.
Infant Mortality: 67.13 per 1,000 people.
Location: South Asia bordering the Bay of Bengal.
Borders: India and Myanmar.
Area: 55,600 square miles.
Topography: Majority of the land is a flat alluvial plain, where in the north and southeast one can find hills.
Climate: Tropical climate with 3 seasons: the rainy from June to October, the dry from October to March and the summer from March to June. One of the rainiest climates in the world.
Major cities and population: Dhaka, 12,317,000; Chittagong, 3,581,000; and Khulna, 1,426,000.
5 administrative divisions: Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, and Rajshahi.
Population density: 2,324 people per square mile.
Children 0-14: 35%—46,001,613.
Teenage 10-19: 27.1%—35,564,600.
Youth between 15-24: 23.4%—30,702,658.
Seniors Over 70: 2%—2,608,619.
Male to female ratio: 105.4 males per 100 females.
Birth rate: 25.44 births per 1,000 people.
Life expectancy at birth: 61.17 for males and 61.1 for females.
Infant mortality rate: 67.13 per 1,000 people.
Official language: Bangla.
Principal language: English.
Ethnic Groups: Bengali, Bihari, and other tribal groups.
Religious group representation: 85.8% (110,848,684) and 12.4% (15,994,593). The following groups represent less than one percent of the total: Christians, Buddhists, Ethno-religionists, and Nonreligious.
Education: Free and compulsory from 6-11.
Literacy rate: 38%.
GDP per capita: US $1,470 (1999 est.).
National GDP: US $187 billion (1999 est.).
Major Industries: Food processing, jute, textiles, fertilizers, steel.
Chief crops: Jute, rice, tea.
Electricity production: 11.870 bil kWh (1998).
TV Sets: 5 per 1,000 people.
Radios: 63 per 1,000 people.
Telephones: 378,000 mainlines.
Daily newspaper circulation: 9 per 1,000 people.
Government type: Parlimentary democracy.
Head of state: President Shahabuddin Ahmed.
Head of government: Prime Minister Hasina Wazed.
International organization memberships: United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth.
Historical Background: Prior to Muslim invasion of the 12th century, the area was primarily Hindu. British rule lasted from the 18th century until 1947, when East Bengal was annexed by Pakistan. The East declared itself independent from Pakistan in 1971, after Pakistani troops attacked to subdue anti-Pakistan protests. This marks the beginning of the Bangladesh nation. During the civil war, at least 1 million people perished and 10 million fled to India. Pakistan surrendered on December 16,1971. In world politics, Bangladesh sought India and the Soviet Union as allies instead of the United States, because it had allied itself with Pakistan. After a time of instability and political coups, General H.M. Ershad declared Bangladesh an Islamic republic in March of 1982. After a tumultuous eight-year rule of his military regime, he resigned in 1990. He was subsequently imprisoned on charges of corruption and possession of illegal weapons. In 1991, Begum Khaleda Zia was elected prime minister, and a parliamentary form of government was adopted. The 1996 election riddled with protests eventually caused the resignation of Zia. In subsequent elections, power shifted to the Awami League and the Jatiya Party. Zia’s political opponent, Sheik Hasina Wajed, was named prime minister. The new government is faced with a country devastated by natural disasters and economic depression. In 1991, a cyclone killed over 131,000 people. Another in 1997 left 800,000 people homeless. In 1998, floods covered most of the country, killing over 1,400 and stranding over 30 million. In addition, the decline of the world’s demand for jute has devastated an industry, which had employed large percentages of the population.
TRENDS AND SOCIAL ISSUES
Understanding the trends and social issues of a particular country should always take into consideration the opinions of persons within the country. The Center for Youth Studies is looking for contributors from each country to add to our appreciation and understanding of its culture, potential, trends and critical issues. If you have insight as to what is important to Bangladesh, please contact us.
We look forward to hearing the insights on what insiders consider the most important issues facing them. From an outsider’s perspective current issues would include rebuilding after the devastation of the floods, economic rejuvenation, and government stability. What are the most important issues for Bangladeshis today? This will be added as we receive this information.
Barrett, D., Kurian, G., & Johnson, T. (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia 2nd Edition: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World. Oxford: University Press.
McGeveran, Jr., W. (Ed.). (2001). The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Mahwah, NJ: World Almanac Books.
Turner, B. (2000). The World Today: Essential Facts in an Ever Changing World 2000. New York, NY: St. Marten’s Press.
This topic discussion and its further documents are waiting to be written by someone on the Southern Hemisphere, Africa or India, for instance, where "youth" is the preferred term (to adolescence, young people, etc.) and where it refers to people about 15 to 35. For most of our material on youth, please turn to our topic, "Adolescence."
We have found it best in teaching and in this Encyclopedia to use the terms youth, adolescents, and young people as general synonyms. (Teenagers obviously refers to those 13-19.) Adolescence (or youth) we take to be the transitional age between childhood and adulthood. But we must be careful to heed other definitions and usage.
The All Africa Conferences of Churches issued, in 1993, a Handbook on Ecumenical Youth Ministry in Africa (compiled and edited by Setri Nyomi). It described youth in this way (pp. 16-17):
Though looking simple, (the definition of youth) is a very complex question. While some countries consider only teenagers as youth, others start after the teenage years and continue until as much as fifty years old. Many...define youth in terms of feeling young...It therefore seems arbitrary to fix any ages in defining youth in Africa. The only reason why we are forced to yield to an arbitrary pegging of ages is that by the existing definitions those who are actually below the age of 30 have been marginalized by those who are above that age; who ‘feel young’ and therefore feel they have a mandate to be the bosses over the actually young.
Even the United Nations agencies which work with youth, such as UNICEF AND UNESCO, have chosen to be flexible with pegging ages. At one point they recognized the ages of 15-25...African young people’s organizations follow similar lines when they peg the upper limit age at between 30 and 35 years old. This handbook assumes that youth are persons whose ages are generally fifteen to thirty years old.
Fr. Gabriel Mbogo, from Murang’a, Kenya, writes in the African Ecclesial Review (AFFER, Feb, 1996, Vol. 38, Number 1, what we must take as the last word on this continued controversy:
Youth is a debatable issue, but the one explanation generally agreed upon is that it is a state between childhood and adulthood.
Youth therefore begins with puberty, somewhere around 12-14, and continues until a person is ready for marriage and career.
In the same journal (AFFER) Adam K.A. Chepkwony, a lecturer at Moi University, Kenya, has these important things to say about youth:
The term youth describes a vigorous and lively period of life between childhood and maturity. For the purpose of this paper, youth or young people will be used to encompass people between ages 12-25. This is a very important group in any society. In all communities the adults depend on this section of the population for the continuation of the future generation. The adults are, therefore, anxious to transmit to this group society’s cherished values and life styles. Consequently, there is a lot of pressure upon the youth in an effort to make them conform to the standards and requirements of the community, especially when a large proportion among them become threateningly uncongenial.
This writer names two key issues African young people are facing today (true in most places around the world): the identity crisis and the job crisis. About the former he says:
The search for personal identity is crucial in the life of every young person. The identity crisis can be said to be the cause of practically all the problems affecting youth. Their rebellion and disobedience against authority, and in particular their parents, is not so much to defy them but a search for their own identity and autonomy.
Professor Chepkwony lets two young people speak for themselves. First a sixteen-year-old boy expresses disappointment:
I am always frustrated. I’m in love and there’s no girl. I’m overcharged and there’s no outlet. I look for a chance to act, to flex my muscles, to feel my strength. I can’t talk about it with my parents. I want to learn the bitter from the sweet by tasting, not talking. I hunger for experience; they feed me explanations.
A seventeen-year-old girl adds her thoughts about herself and relationships:
Everyday I ask myself why I am not the person I would like to be. My relationship with myself is a very unhappy one. I am tempermental, a person of many moods. I pretend so people cannot discern it. This is what I hate most about my life. I always act not like my true self. Fundamentally, I am a friendly person. But my teachers think I am cold. I hate all of them so much that I just want to say, ‘To hell with you superior egotistical people. I am as good as you.’ When I am with people who have confidence in me, I do good work. With those who treat me as an accessory to a machine, I become stupid. All I really want of life is to have someone who can accept me as I am.
For this writer, "these examples epitomize the struggles African youth undergo in their unceasing search for identity. At such moments, more than anything else, they yearn for acceptance, support and the right role models to emulate in their search for personal identity."
But youth are not just engaged in personal struggles. They are contributing to world events. From South Africa, Agrippa Khathide writes Youth Power, 1990: 10-11):
The world is young. Social scientists tell us that 60 percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30...There was a time when young people were thought to be insignificant, powerless and followers of their elders in everything, but the occurrences of the 20th century suggest otherwise...Young people are looking for something to live for or perhaps even to die for...
Youth power can be seen in different spheres of life, e.g. politics, commerce, education, in the church, etc. We have seen young people exercising their political muscle to the amazement of their elders. The Beijing saga is just one example...
Here in our home country thousands of children took to the streets in 1976 to protest against inferior education. The protest started in Soweto and spread to other parts of the country...A new generation of militants emerged. Young people committed themselves unreservedly to a struggle for a democratic future.
Youth around the world possess a common human nature and youthful spirit. Globalization has brought a common language and common set of cultural icons. Still, they differ greatly according to their situation, geographically, economically, and socially. Those who educate, or work with, youth must enter their various worlds or subcultures and treat them as individuals.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
What do you find to be most exciting about youth?
What do you find to be most baffling or unsettling about young people?
What are the greatest challenges facing youth you know?
What are they most needing from their friends and from adult role models?
What could you contribute to this Encyclopedia to further our understanding and appreciation of youth?
Around the world, youth are a significant age group, affecting their world now, and standing on the brink of assuming leadership of tomorrow’s societies.
There is much we need to learn about youth, and there is much we need to learn from young people.
TechMission’s AC4 has over 100 members in developing countries.We have found two models that work particularly well for computer centers in developing countries: for-fee Cybercafés and Computer Training Centers.
A few weeks ago, we featured Microplace, an eBay-backed website that lets Americans invest in microlenders throughout the world. Kiva.org allows you to loan money directly to small business owners, giving microfinance a human face.
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Do you really understand the economic crisis in America? This webcast by Andrew Sears, TechMission's Executive Director, provides a beginner's guide to understanding poverty in America and what can be done about it. Please forward this to friends who might want to learn about poverty and social justice.
India's 2011 census shows a serious decline in the number of girls under the age of seven - activists fear eight million female foetuses may have been aborted in the past decade. The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi explores what has led to this crisis.
28 July 2010 – Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared today, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water. The Assembly resolution received 122 votes in favor and zero votes against, while 41 countries (including the United States, Canada, and the U.K.) abstained from voting.