UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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Monitoring of ethnicity, conflicts and cohesion

Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia


Overview map of the participating institutes

Table of Contents:

Project Goals
Project Participants
Strategies and Expected Results
Policy Relevance of Research
Transfer and Diffusion of Research Findings
Contact information

The management of multi-ethnic societies and of ethnic conflicts represents a major challenge to the post-communist world. Extreme forms of ethno-nationalism, xenophobia and ethnic violence have become obstacles to democratic and economic transitions in a number of regions in the Russian Federation and in several countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. At the same time several countries in these regions are managing to move towards a peaceful multicultural and multi-ethnic modern democratic society. The strategies and mechanisms for governing multi-ethnicity in the current period of important social transformations are not obvious to many researchers and policy-makers. Therefore UNESCO has recently adopted a policy-oriented project in the framework of the MOST programme to monitor and analyse ethnic relations in the region with the objective of providing practical information to policy-makers on the prevention of ethnic conflict and the promotion of pluralistic democracy.

Ethnological monitoring and policy-oriented communication are powerful tools for conflict prevention and for responsible decision-making in complex societies. Valuable information on ethnicity and conflict issues in many of the newly independent states is being collected, but it is accumulated in incompatible formats and remains scattered, making it inaccessible to researchers and policy-makers. This project seeks to improve that situation through the creation of an information network, training of researchers, reporting of ethnicity issues and dissemination of relevant policy information.

Project Goals

The goal of the project is to increase the knowledge and understanding of conflicts and cohesion related to ethnicity in the newly independent states. The following elements are essential to this goal:

Project Participants

Overwiew map of the project participants

Coordination : Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Valery Tishkov, project coordinator; Dr. Sergei Sokolovski, database coordinator.

Russian Federation :

Armenia: Dr. Ruben Karapetyan

Azerbaijan: Dr. Azad Zeinalov

Latvia :


Tadjikistan: Dr. Iskandar Asadullaev

Estonia: Dr. Marika Kirch

Other scholars may join the project depending on availability of funds and local resources.

The project group co-operates with the Conflict Management Group, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Berkhoff Center for Constructive Conflict Resolution, Berlin, and the Peace Research Institute, Oslo. Funding is received from UNESCO and the Carnegie Corporatian of New York.

Strategies and Expected Results

The long-term strategy of the project is to provide policy-relevant scientific knowledge on potential ethnic-related conflicts and examples of peaceful multi-ethnic cohesion.

The activities are focused on

The short-term results of the project will be

Policy Relevance of Research

As the goal of the project is to increase a knowledge and understanding about multi-ethnic societies and conflicts in post-Soviet states, the steps in the direction of gathering, management and dissemination of information as well as training are considered to be highly relevant to the project's policy of reducing ethnic tensions and curtailing all forms of inter-ethnic violence. The research results will be used as background knowledge in general policy assessments as well as in ad hoc studies focusing on the areas of high risk for eruption of violence. A series of policy-oriented reports and research papers shall be prepared as a result of the monitoring part of the project. Comparative studies can exploit the opportunities provided by the wealth of information in the database. Sharing information on ethnic groups and conflict cases in different parts of the world will strengthen research both in the countries of the region. Exchanging expertise from regular monitoring between existing networks and research groups is aimed at the improvement of the quality of public policy-making. Exchanging research conclusions will enrich the analysis of each case of ongoing and potential conflict. Finally it should be emphasized that the project will have a strong capacity-building effect at the participating scholarly institutions.

Transfer and Diffusion of Research Findings

The most important channel of information dissemination would be the electroninc network connecting the regional centres that participate in the project. At present, an effort is being made to establish an on-line Internet connection to allow easier access to the data stored in the database and to facilitate the exchange of research results amongst the project member institutes.

Scholarly conferences and meetings with policy-makers on urgent issues of ethnic conflict resolution and conflict management are also planned and have been already practiced as an efficient instrument of policy-makers envolvement. The major results of the cooperative efforts will be discussed in international meetings and summarised in publications in both Russian and in English.

Contact information

Valery Tishkov
Project coordinator
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology
Russian Academy of Sciences
Leninski Prospekt 32-A
MOSCOW 117 334
Russian Federation
Tel +7-095 938 0043
Fax +7-095 938 0600
letter.gif Email : tishkov@ethno.msk.su

Paul de Guchteneire
MOST Secretariat
Fax + 33 1 45 68 57 24
letter.gif Email : p.deguchteneire@unesco.org

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