The European Centre for Minority Issues is an independent non-partisan research institute established by the governments of Germany, Denmark and the federal State of Schleswig-Holstein (www.ecmi.de).
ECMI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary research on issues related to minorities and majorities within a European perspective and to contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations in those parts of Western and Eastern Europe where ethno-political tension and conflict prevail.
The Center conducts practice and policy-oriented research as well as providing information, expertise, consultations and documentation concerning minority-majority relations in Europe. ECMI advises European governments and regional intergovernmental organizations and civil society organisations. The Centre co-operates with the academic community in the framework on joint projects and events and communicates with the media and the general public through the timely provision of information and analysis.
ECMI organizes its activities around five thematic clusters. A Justice and Governance cluster is concerned with the evaluation and further development of legal standards that may assist in consolidating democratic governance on the basis of ethnic diversity and human rights. A Politics and Civil Society deals with minority politics, especially the ability of minorities to participate both through public office and civil society functions. A Conflict and Security cluster focuses on constructive conflict-management and addresses conflicts with an ethno-political dimension in the wider Europe. A Culture and Diversity cluster addresses the cultural issues of minority existence, in particular language and education but is also concerned with the access of minorities to the media. A Citizenship and Ethics cluster focuses on both legal and socio-political aspects of membership in mainstream society, including ethical issues of toleration, respect and contribution.
The Centre also maintains links to several regions of tension in Europe through its Regional Associates in Georgia and Kosovo and provides multi-level trainings in institution and capacity building. This focus is organized through a Technical Assistance and Training Unit in the head office and in cooperation with numerous NGOs throughout Europe. In that regard, the Centre draws upon the successful history of managing minority issues in the German-Danish border area where it is based.
ECMI was founded in 1996 by the governments of Denmark, Germany and Schleswig-Holstein. It is an independent and inter-disciplinary institution which draws upon an international core staff, supplemented by a number of non-resident Senior Research Associates from all over Europe and beyond. The Centre also maintains active relations with other academic institutions and NGOs involved in conflict resolution and inter-ethnic relations and engages in collaborative projects in these fields. While its core funding is provided by its founding governments, the Centre actively pursues project-based funding to support its activities. The ECMI is governed by an Executive Board of nine members from Denmark, Germany, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union, and it is supported in its mission by an Advisory Council of eminent experts in the field of minority issues. The working language of ECMI is English.