The ECMI Summer School 2016 is currently running in Lviv. In the middle of the week, we asked some of the participants to share their impressions and thoughts.
Five days have passed since the Ecmi Summer School 2016 kicked-off at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), gathering together 35 participants from 19 different countries. So far, students have attended a number of academic lectures, listened to a keynote speech, and participated in several discussion sessions. They’ve also taken part in social activities, such as exploring Lviv’s Old Town on a city tour, and watching and discussing Tangerines (2015) on movie night. Let’s see what some of the ECMI Summer School 2016 participants have to share so far…
Yury from Belarus:
“I come from the Minsk area in Belarus but currently live and study in Istanbul, Turkey. When I checked some calls for applications, the ECMI summer school 2016 caught my attention as it offered courses on language and linguistic minorities among the other parts of its academic content. I do my research on language minorities in Lithuania, and in general I am interested in linguistic diversity and policies; I plan to continue my research in this direction in the future. It is also very relevant to Belarusian case, where language is an important marker of ethnic identity. In my family we mostly use Russian language – this is quite a common practice, and depends on the education of families. More people in the countryside speak Belarusian in their families. More and more people have become aware of the issue. It used to be very politicized; Belarusian language became a marker of opposition to the government. But recently, there is more of a trend to separate language and politics.
Usually minority summer schools focus solely on legal aspects and minority protection in general, and pay less attention to other issues around it. I really enjoyed the sub-topic of language policies, and lectures that included a theoretical part. Many times the theoretical background is omitted from similar trainings. But it is very valuable; it gives an overview of how it came to this point, gives ideas on how to approach it. You can’t develop proper policies without having a good overview on the theoretical background.
I heard very good feedback from the previous ECMI Summer School participants, especially positive on the ECMI crew. Also, what attracted me here is the location: thanks to this summer school I discovered the city of Lviv.
I also find particularly important the contacts I established here. I’m thinking about comparative research, so I already asked around if I could contact some of the participants. Especially interesting was meeting Hanna Vasilevich, who works on the ECMI Eastern Partnership Programme (EPP) and comes from Belarus herself.”
Maisalon from Israel:
“I am a PhD student at the University of Israel, department of Sociology and Anthropology. My research is about Palestinian education in Israel: segregated and mixed schools, how it affects life in terms of higher education and employment, also issues of identity and language. I use mixed methods, including analysis of statistical data, and interviewing graduates that are now in their thirties. So far there has not been such academic research done in Israel. We have a mailing list at the university where information and calls for applications are sent, and that’s how I got to know about the ECMI Summer School 2016.
I’m interested in getting more familiar with a wider picture of minority issues. Although I’m focusing on the case of Israel, I would also like to know about other cases. I’ve read about American cases, they are the most common mainstream literature we have in Israel, but we have a very little information about European cases. We are less familiar with European names and literature. Now I keep making notes and want to get back to them and read these articles as soon as I am back home.
We have a very unique conflict, but now I see similarities with other cases. Especially interesting for me was a case of Macedonia and its minority education system with mixed schools. We have only seven mixed bilingual schools in the whole of Israel and a separate education system for Arabs and Jews, also in terms of language. Also, I heard about the Roma case here, I didn’t know much about the problems they face; this was the first time and was very interesting.
During the first few days we had very detailed and intensive lectures on minority protection and its legal framework, and for me it was the first time I learnt so intensively and in depth about minority protection and relevant issues. How will I use this? As soon as I come back I will work on a paper on higher education in Israel – and I have received good input for it from Zora Popova’s lecture, on how to start my work, my paper.”
Mariam from Georgia:
“I have been a student for the past nine years already. My bachelor being in international relations, I did my MA in political philosophy as I was interested in the theoretical part of politics. My MA thesis was an analysis of the works of Jacques Rancière and Martin Buber. During my studies I also spent one semester in Poland for an Erasmus exchange programme.
My main motivation to participate in the ECMI Summer School 2016 was to expand my knowledge on my topics of interest: the problems of otherness and post-Soviet case studies, northern Caucasus, and ethnic minorities in Georgia. I have worked on a number of academic papers on these issues and this course gives me additional information and an overview on these and some other relevant topics that I can use in my future PhD research.
The lectures here not only give us information and present data, they also offer a conceptual analysis, information that is analyzed within theoretical frames, such as in the lecture on theories of nationalism, or legal issues of the recognition of minorities. They immediately brought other notions to mind that I was not aware of before: multidiversity, for example, which I had never heard of before.
The movie night was also interesting. We watched Tangerines (2015), a movie about the war in Abkhazia, which showcases the absurdity of the concept of the enemy during the war. It showed how the image and stereotype of an enemy was constructed and artificially created by other powers, such as political elites.
Besides the info from lectures, the participants have great experience and knowledge on issues, and the information that we share with each other is also very important. The summer school in two words? I would say: informative and dynamic!”
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Source: ECMI InfoChannel @ European Centre for Minority Issues.
This post first appeared on ECMI InfoChannel - European Centre For Minority Is, please read the originial post: here