Ethnic and Minority Policy
The ELTE-UNESCO Minority Policy Program is an international two-year postgraduate MA program, established in 1993. The ELTE-UNESCO MSP is a special (English-language) interdisciplinary education program that aims to create an international community of students and lecturers. A core strength of the Program lies in a coordinated approach whereby theory, applied scholarship, and intervention skills are joined together to provide a unique academic opportunity and a ‘training-ground’ for future minority policy experts. Extra-curricular activities have been designed to place students in various internships where they become acquainted with real-life minority situations, to offer field-trips to various countries in and around the Central European and the Balkan region, and to introduce students to an active research culture in a supportive framework.
We would like to place special emphasis on the issue of dealing with minority issues and diversity in the region with regard to the integration process of Central/Eastern European countries, the Balkan and the Mediterranean region into the international community. The serious ethnic conflicts of the region, the demand for countries to meet European norms in the area of minority issues, the increase in migration and the simultaneous growth of xenophobia all contribute to a pressing need in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Balkan for highly trained professionals who have the insight and expertise to identify the main social and psychological reasons behind tensions and discriminations, and who are also equipped with the skills and techniques to handle and moderate these conflicts. Thus, it is a key function of the Program to provide the expertise necessary for this effort in the concrete European space while on the other hand, much of the research analyses, the scientific methods, as well as the ‘Central European and the Balkan experience’, has relevance for those who study ethnic/race/majority-minority relations elsewhere in the world. As a benefit of international participation, various viewpoints can evolve and therefore a specific balance of the student body is promoted.
The program aims include the following:
- To provide a systematic study of inter-ethnic relations, minority problems and processes in post-communist societies within a comparative perspective;
- To provide background in major trends in economy, politics, society, social policy, social geography, and social psychology of the countries in the region
- To train future policy makers or expert advisors in issues and conflicts between regions, nations, ethnic groups, minorities, and majorities in various parts of Europe;
- To train future scholars who intend to carry out research or teach in and/or about East and Central Europe and the Balkan region.
- To create an international community of students who speak English and come mainly from countries where problems of ethnic and minority relations are rampant.
- To introduce students to basic skills which are necessary not only to understand but to intervene in inter-group conflicts likely to occur in ethnic communities, urban neighborhoods, industrial workplaces, political organizations, trade unions, mass media, etc.
- To involve the placement of students in various internships where each according to his or her skills and specialization become acquainted with real-life minority situations (e.g., editorial boards of minority mass agencies, prisons, voluntary and self-help groups, local and public administrations dealing with minority issues and policies, ethnic and minority government organizations, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, etc.).
- Also to motivate students to participate in research work (e.g. comparative research on national identity in the neighboring countries, analysis of the attitude of policemen towards Roma arrested, etc.)
- To provide practical experience which accompanies the theoretical frameworks introduced in the classroom.
The program offers special research opportunities for students. Besides teaching activities, the faculty has long been active in the organisation of research that addresses minority and identity issues, ethnic relations and diversity in Central - Eastern Europe and the Balkan region, migration processes, and the problems of discrimination, xenophobia and social exclusion, also with the aim of including results into the context of European-level research. Research on these issues in Central and Eastern Europe or in the Balkan region is still fragmented and characterised by a shortage of communication and information exchange. One of our major objectives is to promote the development of regional databases and a network of scholars, researchers and institutions. The rationale behind these efforts is not only to analyse conflicts, tensions and discriminations from an academic point of view, but also to contribute to the monitoring of conflicts, to provide the necessary expertise and knowledge in conflict resolution, to disseminate know-how, and to facilitate discourse and intensify cross-national communication. Another important objective is to transfer research results to policy and practice. Most of our projects have a policy orientation; besides, research designs are developed to provide impulses for future research as well as education.