Do national minorities contribute to bridge building in international relations? If so, how, and what are some good examples of such cases across the OSCE area? Find out more in the final report from the project Bridge Building and Integration in Diverse Societies.
The ECMI’s project on Bridge Building and Integration in Diverse Societies is now finalized with a report titled “Dynamics of Integration in the OSCE Area: National Minorities and Bridge Building”. The report investigates how national minorities contribute to bridge building in international relations, and identifies some good examples of initiatives across the OSCE area. Our research team, together with senior researchers from EURAC and independent researcher Dr. Nina Bagdasarova, explored over 190 initiatives with a help of partner organizations and networks across the European continent, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Of these, 104 initiatives were considered as positive examples of bridge-building initiatives, and 24 were selected to be presented in more detail in the report.
How were the cases selected?
The examples were selected on the basis of three objective selection criteria:
- Involvement of more than one group of actors (public or private)
- Active involvement of a minority
- Visible intentions to bridge gaps/divides between minorities and majorities, governments, and/or between communities
More about the report
The report is published in support of the 2016 German OSCE Chairmanship’s focus on “the situation of national minorities in times of crisis, their positive contribution to social integration and their potential to build bridges in international relations”.
In the report, bridge building is examined at three levels of cooperation: the macro, the meso and the micro levels. Macro level initiatives span across territorial borders, whereas meso level initiatives exist within state boundaries. Micro level initiatives are found at the grass-root level and cover both cross-border initiatives and intra-state initiatives. The 24 examples of positive initiatives discussed in this Report cover cooperation between or within 29 participating States of the OSCE. All examples have been identified on the basis of involving national minorities.
More about the project
The project concept was developed in view of two key aspects: the mandate of the HCNM and the key objectives of the German OSCE Chairmanship in 2016. The initiative merges the High Commissioner’s mandate to provide “early warning” at the earliest possible stage in regard to tensions involving national minority issues and the focus of the German OSCE Chairmanship under the headline Dialogue, Trust and Security. The Chairmanship puts focus on national minority issues, with the intention of highlighting the abilities of national minorities as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation between states.
The concept of examining how minority-majority relations contribute to “bridge building” takes as its point of departure the opportunities which lie in the variety of connections that can be built upon by diverse societies to promote peace, security and economic development both within and between States. The task posed by the “bridge building” concept is to look more closely into these opportunities and identify those policies and mechanisms which can transform the opportunities into reality.