“National Minorities, Bridge Building and Integration” was the title of an ECMI presentation at the OSCE Ministerial side event in Hamburg.
The Ecmi project “Bridge Building and Integration in Diverse Societies” spent the last eight months researching initiatives, projects and frameworks involving minorities in 42 countries. The project team found over one hundred examples that work to bridge divides across cultural, social, political and even state borders.
At the Osce Ministerial Council side event on 9th December 2016 in Hamburg, ECMI presented the executive summary* of the project findings. The side event featured Mr. Gernot Erler (Special Representative of the Federal Government of Germany for the OSCE Chairmanship) and Mr. Henrik Villadsen (Director of the OSCE Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities). The ECMI Director Prof. Dr. Tove Malloy and the ECMI Senior Research Associate Dr. Zora Popova gave an overview of the concept and methodology of the project and presented the collected data:
- Two questionnaires translated into 19 languages
- 415 direct emails; the ECMI extended networks, OSCE/HCNM offices
- 77 questionnaires (42 with usable information)
- Identified 200 projects across the OSCE member states
- Five regions defined for the research purposes
Out of the more than one hundred positive cases from the 41 Osce Participating States (+ China), 24 initiatives from 29 OSCE participating states will be presented in the Final Report, produced together with EURAC research and to be released in January 2017 on ECMI web page.
Prof. Malloy presented the main conclusions of the project: “National minorities are active citizens in many areas of local society. They are working peacefully for constructive cooperation across divides and borders and can contribute to the development of friendly and good-neighborly relations and international peace. Public authorities and national minorities work together to bridge divides”.
In terms of recommendations to governments, the project summary emphasizes the importance of taking political action to improve the visibility of national minorities as peaceful citizens and to recognize that national minority/kin-state relations are not necessarily a threat to national integrity and state sovereignty. It also highlights the importance of frameworks for cooperation across borders and within societies in order to promote trust and social cohesion. Such frameworks include platforms for communication and participation, and consultative mechanisms.
The executive summary* of the project is available here.
Watch the video of the side event in Hamburg here.
*The full report will be released in English and Russian languages in January 2017
Source: ECMI InfoChannel @ European Centre for Minority Issues.
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