UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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MOST Newsletter No. 9 - October 1998

Table of Contents


New Additions

  • Full details of these new services from the MOST Clearing House can be found at the Internet address http://www.unesco.org/most.

Internet Conference on Best Practices

Even though poverty and social exclusion are still present in societies all over the world, successful initiatives have been developed in many countries to combat them. The MOST Clearing House has called them Best Practices.

A Best Practices Database has been developed by the Clearing House to provide information about these model solutions for policymakers and researchers.

Over the next two years the Clearing House will also have developed an Internet Conference on Best Practices in the field of Poverty Eradication and Social Exclusion. The Conference will have its own website to present major issues and the agenda. Participants will take part in the discussion by e-mail.

The objectives of the Internet Conference will be

    (i) to further clarify and develop the concept of Best Practices;
    (ii) to provide an opportunity for policymakers and researchers to exchange experiences in this field and
    (iii) to extend the existing MOST Database on Best Practices.
For more information, please contact:
Paul de Guchteneire
MOST Secretariat
E-mail: p.deguchteneire@unesco.org

The MOST Clearing House at: http://www.unesco.org/most 

The MOST Best Practices Database at: http://www.unesco.org/most/bphome.htm

MOST Clearing House on Linguistic Rights

The analysis of multicultural societies is one of the major research topics of UNESCO's MOST Programme. Through interdisciplinary, comparative, and culturally sensitive research, the MOST Programme aims at furnishing information useful for the peaceful and democratic management of societies characterized by cultural and ethnic pluralism. In particular, this research should help design policies that contribute to the goals of achieving equality of citizenship rights between culturally diverse groups and the avoidance and solution of ethnic conflict.

Linguistic diversity: A particular challenge for multicultural policies

The MOST project "Democratic governance in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies", a democracy training project launched at the request of the Kyrgyz government and financed by the Swiss Department for Foreign Affairs and the European Commission for Democracy through Law, has put special emphasis on developing strategies to manage ethnic conflict between linguistic groups. Because it affects many areas of public policy, including education, media, new information technologies, and even the labor market, linguistic diversity constitutes a particular challenge to the development of multicultural policies.

Promoting democracy through law

Promoting democratic governance and designing multicultural policies requires first and foremost a legal framework recognizing the equal rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. This framework is provided by standard-setting instruments of international human rights law which address the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

However, it is primarily on the national level where linguistic human rights are implemented, by jurisdiction, legislation, and policy-making. The MOST Programme intends to assist decision-makers in designing constitutional frameworks and multicultural policies to promote peaceful coexistence between ethno-linguistic groups, to find mechanisms of power-sharing and intercultural communication and, thereby, to build democratic institutions and a democratic political culture.

Disseminating information on linguistic rights

The MOST Clearing House on Linguistic Rights is designed to provide tools for legislators, decision-makers, researchers and other representatives of both governmental and non-governmental organizations to monitor the transition to democracy in multicultural and multi-ethnic societies. It provides an overview of the most important international legal instruments pertaining to linguistic rights as well as a collection of constitutional provisions. This information can be used for further legal analysis as well as for the development of multicultural policies aimed at resolving and avoiding language conflict. PdG

New MOST Discussion Paper

"Democratic Governance in Multilingual Societies: Local Conditions for the Implementation of International Human Rights through Multicultural Policies", by Matthias Koening, Institute for Sociology, University of Marburg, Germany.

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