Bridge building and integration in diverse societies: ECMI and OSCE HCNM sign an agreement


The ECMI has signed a cooperation agreement with the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), for the implementation of the project “Bridge building and integration in diverse societies”.

The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) has signed a cooperation agreement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), represented by the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), for the implementation of the project “Bridge building and integration in diverse societies”. ECMI will implement the research initiative of the HCNM with budgetary contributions from the German Federal Foreign Office.

The project aims to promote evidence based discussion within the OSCE on how minority-majority relations can be used to in bridge building processes that promote peace and security, both inside and between participating States. The project will run until the end of 2016.


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.

Project implementation

To meet the defined objective, the project will be implemented in three phases:

  • Phase 1: exploring existing policies, mechanisms and institutions, as well as grassroots initiatives, the goal of this phase is to analyze the potential of this alternative path to integration, societal cohesion and international cooperation. To meet the goals, fact-finding surveys will be conducted.
  • Phase 2: results of the research will be presented to the OSCE participating States in a special event (SHDM), which is expected to encourage further practical work on the topic.
  • Phase 3: presentation of the final findings and policy recommendations at the concluding event in Hamburg, Germany.

For inquiries regarding the project, please contact the project team at


OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev

Download the project flyer

Visit the project web-page

Read also: OSCE High Commissioner Thors visits ECMI headquarters

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