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BRINGING NETWORKS TOGETHER

(EAWARN Annual Seminar, 8-12 October 1996,
Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom)

The Network for the Ethnological Monitoring and Early Warning of Conflict (EAWARN) held its annual 1996 seminar in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on 8-12 October 1996, hosted by INCORE (Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity).

EAWARN was established in 1993 as a part of the international project "Monitoring of ethnicity, conflicts and cohesion" co-ordinated by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Conflict Management Group, Cambridge, Massachussets (USA), in co-operation with the International Laboratory of Mass Communications (VEGA). The project is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Russian Academy of Sciences. EAWARN represents a network of leading experts in former Soviet Union countries, including a number of republics of the Russian Federation and administrative regions dealing with multiethnic populations and conflict situations. The project is designed to monitor ethnopolitics, to assimilate and process information for early detection of potential conflict and early preventive action. The founding director of EAWARN is Professor Valery Tishkov.

Twenty-eight members of EAWARN and INCORE staff, headed by Professor John Darby and a few observers participated in the meeting. On the way to Northern Ireland, the group made a stopover in London where it held a one-day working meeting at the headquarters of International Alert, a non-governmental organisation working in the field of conflict resolution.

The annual seminar had three major goals:

Communications and operation of networks and conflict databases were also discussed during the meeting.

All participants presented reports based on one year's monitoring, sociological and other research, as well as participatory activities of EAWARN's members, many of whom play key roles in power structures and advise on ethnic policy and conflict issues in the respective regions. Major attention was paid to the situation in the Northern Caucasus (Chechnya, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria republics, and the Stavropol, Rostov and Krasnodar regions), the Volga area republics (Tatarstan and Bashkiria), Tuva and Buryatia republics of the Russian federation, as well as to Latvia, Kazakstan, Moldova, Armenia and Tajikistan. Problems covered in these reports included points of tension and potential conflict, peace making and preventive politics and settling of refugees and forced migration. Some participants shared their experience of crisis issues in Dagestan, Chechnya, North Ossetia, including recent peace agreements in the Chechnyan war.

The Early Warning model, agreed upon at the previous annual seminar in Limasol, Cyprus, October 1995, was presented with results of descriptive analyses based on research from EAWARN members. The descriptive part of the model is based on a major empirical study of local situations covering a wide range of socio-economical, environmental, political, and cultural data. This work is going on as a separate research project under the auspices of the MOST programme. It will be completed by the end of the year and a comparative analysis and policy-oriented recommendation will follow before March 1997. Regular measurement of country/region situations will be undertaken starting in 1997 on a quarterly and a yearly basis. Urgent reactions on potentially dangerous developments are also planned.

The Northern Ireland case study included a briefing by INCORE experts. INCORE staff also demonstrated the Conflict Data Server and CAIN projects, organised visits and discussions at the Community Relations Council and the Stormont House in Belfast and at the Derry City Council in Derry City, as well as field observations of the "peace-line" between Protestant and Catholic communities of both cities. It was a valuable experience for visitors from other parts of the world who are confronted with very similar problems of divided societies and communal violence.

The next seminar is planned to be held in Sri Lanka or in Jerusalem in 1997.


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