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Minority Research Network | Vision

An interdisciplinary perspective

It is common place to emphasize the need to approach minority issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. The envisaged centre will try to do just that as it will be based on the premise that any adequate strategy for promoting the rights of minorities must start with taking on board insights and understandings of a range of relevant disciplines, including law, political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, linguistics, educational theory, migration studies, so that issues of equality, identity, (accommodation of) diversity, integration, and prevention of genocide/ethnic conflict can be addressed.

At the same time to work effectively and efficiently on minority questions, proper cooperation with other institutions and organizations specialising in the field, as well as with NGOs working with and/or representing minority groups is also vital.

While considerable attention for minority questions has developed in Europe, there are also minorities in the other regions of the world, with their own specific problems and needs, requiring appropriate treatment.

A centre of excellence in the making

MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK will (over time) fill an identifiable need for a Minority Rights Centre with a truly interdisciplinary approach to identifying, understanding and resolving minority  questions, of whatever form in whatever region of the world. It will provide a space where people with particular expertise from all relevant disciplines can connect, share understandings and pool their expertise. This expertise will be used to answer to requests for advice (thus influencing both governmental policy making and strategies used by minority organisations), to set up projects, answering to tenders, to develop and give courses for academia, business etc.  and to organize conferences where theoretical frameworks can be further refined.

MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK will be unique as there is currently no institute with a similar structure and vocation. It does not intend to engage in competition battles but rather seeks to join existing but scattered ‘forces’ so as to become a true centre of  excellence, which promotes better use of existing expertise, making for more effective policies.

What makes Minority Research Network distinctive?

The preceding introduction already revealed that MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK is distinctive because of its encompassing structure and ambition (envisaged activities), both as regards the disciplines covered as the geographical reach. Indeed MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK aims at addressing all minority issues from a range of interdisciplinary angles under one roof. It furthermore seeks to ensure that specific approaches to minority issues can be combined in ways that are tailor-made to the specifics of each minority context/situation. The range of activities envisaged by the NETWORK is unusually broad as well.

What will make MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK also distinctive is that it is based on a broad, inclusive understanding of the concept minority, not limited to traditional, autochthonous minorities, but also covering new, immigrant minorities, and indigenous peoples.

Last but not least an original feature of MINORITY RESEARCH NETWORK is the multifaceted relationship it will foster between 1/ scholarly experts (together providing a wide range of disciplinary and regional expertise and experience); 2/ advocacy and rights organisations and  3/ (inter)governmental agencies responsible for minority policies and practices.