Global Minority Rights Summer School
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History of GMRSS
Between July 7 and 13 the Tom Lantos Institute (TLI) and the National University of Public Service (NUPS), in cooperation with Middlesex University London (MU) organized their seventh international summer school on minority rights with a special focus on issues related to labour, land, and development from a minority perspective.
Growing economic inequality and exclusion are critical issues in today’s world, with income gaps widening and economic power becoming concentrated among a small group of global elite. Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples have been deeply affected by these processes and been excluded from full and effective participation in economic life, in the developing and the developed world. Several international legal instruments recognize the right to work; as a source of income, a path to personal development, and a means to ensuring greater social and economic inclusion. Nevertheless, minorities often face discrimination when seeking employment, which results in limited opportunities, poverty, and general economic exclusion. Land is often a source of income, food, and security for representatives of minority groups and indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, their right to own and use their land is often violated, and in many cases, minorities find themselves displaced from or dispossessed of their land. Access to land is also closely linked to adequate housing. Thus, as many minorities such as the Roma are denied access to land, they face difficulties with securing adequate housing. Development interventions, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at reducing poverty and increasing the effective participation of disadvantaged groups in public life, often fail to take into account the unique situations of minorities, and the impact of discrimination on these groups. As a result, minorities fail to reap the benefits of development interventions aimed at reducing the poverty and economic exclusion in which they live.
The 2019 Global Minority Rights Summer School examined the issues related to labour, land, and development from a minority perspective, bringing together policy makers, civil society activists, academics, and other key stakeholders. The six-day interactive summer school addressed contemporary trends, developments, and challenges related to the economic rights of minorities, and examined some specific case studies related to these issues. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues also participated in the summer school, and discussed his mandate and the work he has done since his appointment in 2017. In addition, participants were allocated time to make presentations on relevant subjects of interest to them.
Following the tradition of previous years, the National University of Public Service hosted again for the 6th time the Global Minority Rights Summer School in 2018 in cooperation with the Tom Lantos Institute and the Middlesex University of London. The main focus point of this year’s summer school was: „The law and politics of global minority rights: Are norms and institutions failing us?” Considering that the recent events, such as the rise of populism, growing number of economic migrants and refugees have shaken the very foundation of norms and institutions governing minority rights, the participants were looking for answers to several questions: How effective are traditional minority rights norms and institutions in this changing landscape? How can civil society actors navigate existing frameworks in their work on protecting minorities? What developments must be made in order to ensure that minority rights norms and institutions are equipped to deal with the contemporary issues that minority groups face?
The six-day long interactive summer school offered a forum to discuss relevant issues related to minorities with leading experts and practitioners in the field of international human rights law, political science, international relations, economics, and journalism. The participants also discussed the normative framework governing minority rights protection at the international and regional levels, the role that civil society and other non-state actors play in minority rights protection, and whether existing norms and institutions are ensuring the protection of minority rights.
The summer school hosted 30 participants from all over the world who could share experiences and discuss current research projects. They also had the chance to take part in interactive and informative cultural events.
The 5th Global Minority Rights Summer School was organized in 2017 at the National University of Public Service in cooperation with the Tom Lantos Institute and the Middlesex University of London. The central topic of this year’s programme was: „Interrogating populism from the perspective of vulnerable minorities”. The participants, including journalists, policy makers, civil society activists and academics, were discussing issues underpinning contemporary trends, their impacts on institutions at national and international level with the aim of understanding the impact on minorities.
The six-day long interactive summer school offered a space for meeting, consulting and debating with authoritative academics, practitioners, public servants and decision makers. During the programme, the participants, among others, discussed, the currents trends of populism and its relationshop to human rights, invastigated the impact of different form of populism on indigenous peoples, national or ethnic, religious and linguisti minorities, women as well as refugees and migrants. They also worked together to analyse case studies from Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East thus comparing the form of populism aross different national contexts.
The summer school hosted 30 participants from all over the world.
The increasingly popular Global Minority Rights Summer School was organized for the fourth time in cooperation between the National University of Public Service, the Tom Lantos Institute and the Middlesex University of London. The programme took place between 10–16th of July 2016, and the focus this year was on, “Are Minority Rights Still Relevant? The Impact of Minority Protection Regimes in the 21st Century”. During the intense, one week long course, the invited acclaimed professors, researchers and practitioners, as well as the participating students were looking for answers to questions like, how important the role of minority rights is nowadays, and how systems of minority protection work all around the world.
During the week, and following the theoretical introductions, students learned in detail about the particular ways, differences and similarities of the United Nations’, as well as American, African, Asian and European approaches to systems of minority protection. Following this, systems of minority protection in concrete countries – China, India and Hungary among others – were be expounded. In the second part of the week, students were able to present their own research in this field. The summer university was concluded with a study trip to Pécs where all international participants had a chance to look into the life of Hungarian minorities with the guidance of Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities.
The 32 participants of the summer university, who were selected from more than 200 applicants, came from all over the world to the Ludovika Campus. Participants came from Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and the United States.
This year’s Global Minority Rights Summer School was organized jointly by the National University of Public Service and Tom Lantos Institute, in cooperation with Middlesex University and was held in Budapest between 20 and 26 July. The third round of the international summer school focused on “The Impact of Boundary Politics on Identity and Inequality One Hundred Years after the First World War”.
The 30 participants of the summer school briefly introduced their own field of research and interest. Most of the students were graduates in political science, social science, religion, history, human rights, minority and ethnicity with the main focus on human rights and minority issues in different regions, including Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, North America and the Middle East. The diversity of the group of participants in discipline and geography gave a chance for a better understanding of human rights and identity politics to the participants.
In essence, the programme provided important information on the international minority protection regime, including the norms, institutions, and mechanisms. The programme emphasized the role of civil society and individuals in every single community in minimizing differences and building bridges for drawing a multi-disciplinary approach that creates a society for all, regardless of differences.
The summer school offered highly interesting lectures and discussions with qualified experts and practitioners who are specialized in different concepts and concerns about minority problems in different regions. Among others, the lecturers included Jennifer Jackson-Preece from London School of Economics and Political Science, Zaid Eyadat from the University of Jordan, Tove Malloy from the European Centre for Minority Issues and Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Trust in London. As part of the summer school, the participant participated on a field trip to Komárno, Slovakia to learn about the situation of Hungarians in Slovakia.
For the second time, the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute organised the Summer School with special focus on the issue of human rights. Three opening speeches marked the star of the Summer School held by Prof. Dr. András Patyi, the rector of National University of Public Service, Anna-Mária Bíró, the director of Tom Lantos Institute and Joshua Castellino, the dean of School of Law at Middlesex University of London.
This year, the Middlesex University of London also joined to the initiative as a host university along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which clearly made the programme even more prominent and prestigious. The Summer School is between the 14th and 20th of July.
In 2013 the aim of the first programme was offering a course focusing on the issue of minority rights in Central-Eastern Europe which can contribute to the high level of courses offered by world-renowned Western European universities and which is open for application for students from Hungary.
The inaugural Minority Right Summer School, organized by the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute, took place in Budapest, between 4-10th of August, 2013. The focus of the summer school was on “Norms and Practices in Central and South-Eastern Europe”. The number of applicants was as high as 230 that further increased in the forthcoming years.