On 10-11 May 2016 the ECMI team hosted guests from Swansea University College of Law and Criminology. Dr. Simon Hoffman and Dr. Helen Quane visited Kompagnietor for a two-day cooperation meeting. The aim of the visit was to identify common interest areas for future cooperation. For this purpose, the ECMI senior researchers, headed by the Director of the Center Prof. Dr. Tove Malloy, kicked off the meeting with a presentation of the ECMI research clusters that outlined the focus topics within each cluster and the potential for further exploration in each field. In addition to presenting general research directions of the clusters, the senior researchers also presented their specific projects during the bilateral meetings with the guests.
For their part, Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Quane presented their work with a focus on specific themes of the ECMI’s work. Dr. Helen Quane talked about her research on religious law within state legal systems, followed by Dr. Hoffman, who discussed his work on Gypsy and Traveller children and localized responses to migrant communities, and presented the situation in Wales and his work within his capacity as a Co-director of the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People and Programme Director for the LLM Human Rights and MLaw Human Rights.
During the last part of the visit, mutual interests in terms of teaching cooperation were identified. Specifically, on the ECMI side, the ECMI Summer School and the ECMI MA course on the Minority Protection Regime were discussed as platforms for future cooperation, while the guests presented various modules within the LLM on Human Rights and Contemporary Challenges at Swansea University and the summer school on children’s rights.
At the end of the intensive two-day meeting, the visitors shared some of their impressions and expectations. Why are they interested in the ECMI? Dr. Hoffman mentioned that while working in the area of children’s rights, they recognized that very often they work with children from minority groups. Having some expertise on issues affecting minorities, he and his colleagues are always looking to expand their knowledge and networks, and to draw in additional resources to reach their overall aim of supporting the implementation of children’s rights. Dr. Quane has also highlighted that being familiar with the work of the ECMI, especially the publication series, partnership in terms of teaching and research was especially interesting; thus, the idea of engaging the ECMI in the development of the LLM programme and the summer school. “Both the ECMI and Swansea University can benefit in terms of sharing expertise and experience in various research and action projects, and overcoming the challenges that occur during the project implementation,” noted Dr. Hoffman. “It’s pleasing that there has been not only one but rather quite a range of ideas to follow up with, which is kind of a mirror of the way we work at the college: we don’t simply research and teach, or do project work, we do all of it. And it is very pleasing that we have many ideas that we look forward to in terms of cooperation with the ECMI.”
The guests also shared positive impressions about Flensburg and the border region. “Being familiar with the history and success of the region, it has been a nice experience to see it actually in practice” said Dr. Quane after visiting some local sights related to minority issues.
Having extensive cooperation with multiple partners across Europe and beyond, the ECMI is always eager to expand networks for sharing expertise and knowledge. Our partners are among academic institutions, NGOs, and international organizations within and beyond Europe that work in the area of minority rights or relevant fields.