It seems to be a funny coincidence that we are welcomed with an autumnal breeze and fallen leaves on the ground when exiting the train in Flensburg from Berlin. How lucky we have been to catch the last days of this summer during our annual Summer School in Berlin (01.09.19- 08.09.19).
The weather is definitely not the only thing to be happy about: exciting and valuable days lie behind us. A week packed with interesting lectures, debates and excursions that the ECMI Summer School team spent together with 25 participants from 22 countries. With the promising title: “The legacy of ’89: 30 years of redrawing borders and rethinking minorities”, the location (Berlin) could not have been any better to illustrate the events of 1989 and the resulting history. The venue of this year`s Summer School, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, also did not disappoint. “Studying 8 days where figureheads of academic research made their first steps”- the attendees of the Summer School were thrilled. All coming from diverse fields and backgrounds, they shared one common interest: Their passion for minorities and Minority Rights. This interest corresponded with the lectures they received throughout the last week:
One of the highlights was the opening lecture of Vello Pettai (current Professor of Comparative Politics at the University Tartu, Estonia and from March 2020 the new director at the ECMI). His presentation on ethnicity, nationalism and ethnopolitics was supplemented by a keynote lecture of the renowned Jan Rovny (CEE and LIEPP, Sciences Po) on ethnicity and political competition.
The days in Berlin were packed with up to 4 lectures and panel discussions a day with well-known speakers (among others Martin Klatt, University of Southern Denmark; Andrea Carlà, EURAC and Juliane Wetzel, Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, TU Berlin).
In addition to the lectures, the Summer School participants had many cultural activities on the agenda: Tuesday saw a visit to the Marienfelde Refugee Centre. “A visual and tangible representation that demonstrated the path and the accompanying feelings of refugees from the DDR when they successfully fled to West Berlin” summarised ECMI Research Assistant Craig Willis.
A day trip to the Sorbian community in Bautzen was another excursion the participants experienced during their week. This entailed the group meeting Sorbian Minority experts Jean Rémi Carbonneau and Robert Lorenz (Serbski Institut), plus paying a visit to the Sorbian Museum. Friday was organised at the Bildungsforum gegen Antiziganismus with moving and captivating lectures of Tobias von Borcke and Markus End (Centre for Research on Antisemitism, TU Berlin). A panel discussion with the representatives of minority organizations and a small group discussion format afterwards presented the opportunity to discuss the newly acquired knowledge on minorities in Schleswig-Holstein with the experts.
This year`s Summer School was already the ninth edition of one of the ECMIs annual highlights. As the year before, the Summer School was organised in collaboration with the Coppieters Foundation in Brussels and was partially funded by the European Parliament.
2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Summer School – we will keep you posted!