24th International Conference of Europeanists, 12-14 July 2017, Glasgow

The project team will have a panel at the 24th International Conference of Europeanists, ‘Sustainability and Transformation’, organised by the Council for European Studies and to be held at the University of Glasgow on 12-14 July 2017. The panel will be entitled ‘Social Cohesion, Ethnic Diversity and Re-Nationalization of Europe’. The project team will be joined by Peter Harsingler (Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe), who will present a paper on ‘Securitizing Ethnic Diversity – Current Challenges and Components for a New Research Design’. The session will be chaired by Zsuzsa Csergő (Queen's University, Canada).

National Minority Rights and Democratic Political Community: Approaches, Challenges and Perspective Conference – Cluj-Napoca, 19-20 May 2017

On 19-20 May 2017 the University of Glasgow held in Cluj-Napoca the conference ‘National Minority Rights and Democratic Political Community: Approaches, Challenges and Perspectives. The event was organised in cooperation with the Political Science Department of Babeş-Bolyai University. The aim of the conference was to present the initial findings from the project fieldwork, but also to situate these in relation to wider themes and conceptual frameworks related to minority rights and inter-ethnic coexistence, bringing to bear perspectives from academic experts and practitioners working on a range of countries and issues. Two special issues with academic journals are being prepared on the basis of papers presented at the conference, on: 1) contemporary concepts and practices of national-cultural autonomy and their relationship to broader issues of diversity management and political community-building; and 2) diversity management and minority policy in Romania, including the impact of the Hungarian kin-state policies.

The event was held to coincide with the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) Annual Congress in Cluj-Napoca on 17-20 May 2017. A joint roundtable was held in the morning of 19 May during the FUEN Congress, entitled ‘Practices and Challenges of National-Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe’, with presentations from: David Smith (Glasgow University), Daniel Alfreider (FUEN Vice President, MP in the Italian Parliament), Zsuzsa Csergő (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada), Attila Kóródi (MP, DAHR, Romania) and Stéphanie Marsal, (OSCE, HCNM).

Non-Territorial National-Cultural Self-Government: The Ukrainian Perspective Conference – Kyiv, 2-3 June 2016

The event ‘Non-Territorial National-Cultural Self-Government: The Ukrainian Perspective’ was held at the Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in June 2016. It was co-organised by the University of Glasgow, the Kuras Institute and the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), as part of the latter’s Eastern Partnership Programme ‘National Minorities and Ethnopolitical Issues. Belarus – Moldova – Ukraine’.

The aims of the event were to elucidate the meaning of non-territorial cultural self-government, the shapes it can take and the opportunities it offers. The participants further discussed future research and cooperation between scholars and practitioners in Ukraine and Europe. The event attracted 50 speakers and participants, including representatives of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine (responsible for minority issues), a range of national minority NGOs, the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner of National Minorities and - at the University of Glasgow’s invitation - the Support Group for Ukraine (Political issues) at the DG Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission. During the event the University of Glasgow’s panel outlined the preliminary findings from the research on non-territorial autonomy, and provided an overview of arrangements in Hungary, Serbia and Estonia.

Trans Ethnic Coalition Building within and across States Conference: 7-9 January 2015

The University of Glasgow contributed to the organisation and funding of the Trans-Ethnic Coalition-Building within and across States conference, hosted by the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, 7-9 January 2015. The multidisciplinary conference brought together academics and policy practitioners to explore practices of trans-ethnic coalition-building, across a range of geographic and political settings and from both a contemporary and historical perspective. The conference explored which factors drive mobilisation across ethnic boundaries, as well as institutional frameworks that are in place to facilitate this interaction, their practices and outcomes.  These themes sit at the juncture of several topics - power-sharing, intercultural dialogue, diaspora networking and trans-nationalism, minority empowerment and public-private partnerships on ethno-cultural affairs. David Smith and Judit Molnar Sansum participated in the event.

The European Yearbook of Minority Issues

By virtue of its reputation in this area and its growing engagement with the European Centre for Minority Issues, in 2015 the project was engaged as part of the editorial team for ECMI's flagship annual publication, the European Yearbook of Minority Issues. Published by Brill, the Yearbook provides a critical and timely review of contemporary developments in minority-majority relations in Europe. It combines analysis, commentary and documentation on conflict management, international legal developments and domestic legislation affecting minorities in Europe. Apart from providing a unique annual overview of minority issues for both scholars and practitioners in this field, the Yearbook is an indispensable reference tool for libraries, research institutes as well as governments and international organisations. The Yearbook contains four sections: Thematic Articles; International Developments (relevant to minority issues and the instruments of different international organisations working in this area - Council of Europe, OSCE, UN); Book Reviews; and National Developments. Glasgow has been made an associate editor with joint responsibility (along with Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania) for the National Developments section. The Yearbook is edited by ECMI in cooperation with the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), Åbo Akademi University, Babes-Bolyai University, Hungarian Academy of Science, as well as the University of Glasgow.

Participation in external events

The University of Glasgow team was invited to a workshop at Vienna University in January 2015, entitled 'National-Personal Autonomy – Non-Territorial Autonomy – Cultural Autonomy'. Federica Prina attended the workshop on behalf of the project, presenting the paper 'Russia’s National Cultural Autonomy: Real or Fictitious Participation?'

David Smith was an invited to be a keynote speaker and mentor (section organiser) at a British Council-funded 'Researcher Links' Workshop in Ankara on 15-18 May 2015, entitled 'New Modalities for Democratic Autonomy for Minorities that do not entail Dismembering States: the Case of the Turkish Republic'. He was asked by the organisers (Queens University Belfast and University of Ankara) to lead a section on 'National Cultural Autonomy in the Baltic States and the former Soviet Union: Development and Democratisation - What can the Turkish Republic Learn from this Experience?' and recruit speakers via an open call for papers. Project team member Federica Prina also presented a paper at the event, entitled ‘Combining Territoriality and Non-Territorial National Cultural Autonomy: The Case of Russia’s Tatars’. 

In November 2015 David Smith was invited to be a keynote speaker at the inaugural conference (5-9 June 2016) of a new Minerva Centre (joint German-Israeli research centres, funded by the Max Planck Stiftung; minerva.mpg.de/minerva_centers) at Leipzig University, investigating relations between Israelite and Aramean cultures. The conference incorporated sessions dealing with theoretical perspectives on questions relating to cultural relations, interdependence and autonomy.

In December 2016 David Smith was invited by the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia, to present a research colloquium outlining the University of Glasgow’s research on cultural autonomy. He was also asked to teach a session of the Institute's Master's course on Ethnopolitics and Conflict Resolution on the same topic. The visit prompted an invitation to chair a session at a large conference on integration issues in Estonia, taking place in the same week as the visit. This facilitated further contacts with Estonia's Integration Foundation, a semi-autonomous NGO. 

On 11 November 2016 Federica Prina gave a lecture as part of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum Seminar Series, organised by the Cambridge Central Asia Forum in collaboration with Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge. The presentation was entitled ‘National Minorities' Institutions in Russia: National in Form, Putinist in Content’.

Judit Molnar Sansum was invited to give a lecture to the Institute for Minority Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest, on 30 August 2016. She presented the project and its findings with a paper entitled 'National Minorities, Autonomy and Political Communities in Central and Eastern Europe: The Hungarian Case Studies'.

Judit Molnar Sansum was a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Minority Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest, from 22 November to 6 December 2016. The aim of the visit was to develop cooperation and plan future joint activities with the colleagues from the Institute for Minority Studies. In addition, the stay in Budapest provided an opportunity to consult with other experts on various aspects of the project’s research, such as the origins of Hungary's 1993 Minorities Law and the role of autonomy in promoting the development of minority languages in Hungary.

David Smith and Federica Prina took part as observers in the VII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. The event, ‘The Finno-Ugric Peoples – Towards Sustainable Development’, was held in Lahti in Finland on 15-17 June 2016. The World Congress unites the Finno-Ugric and Samoyed peoples, and aims at addressing issues linked to their rights, as well as the preservation and revitalisation of their languages and cultures. 

In 2016 Federica Prina was invited to participate in an event marking the 20th anniversary of the Hague Recommendations Regarding Education Rights of National Minorities, held on 20-21 April 2016, and organised by the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities. The event aimed at opening up discussions on the challenges faced in adapting education systems to ethnically diverse societies. It brought together experts, teachers, education professionals, NGOs, and local and international stakeholders active in the field of education, conflict prevention and peacemaking.

In 2016 Federica Prina was asked to join a study group of the International Law Association (ILA)’s Committee on the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to research land rights of Russia’s indigenous groups. The report that Prina compiled with Alexandra Tomaselli (EURAC, Bolzano), together with those of other case studies, was discussed at the ILA Biennial International Conference (Johannesburg, August 2016), which Federica Prina attended. The ILA has consultative status with a range of UN specialised agencies; the study groups’ findings form the basis of recommendations to governments and IGOs to enhance the implementation of international law.