Summer School on Human Rights, Minorities and Diversity Management
Special Focus 2014: Political Participation

23 June 2014 – 02 July 2014
Bozen/Bolzano (I) – St. Moritz (CH)

Summer School Program

The idea of democracy presupposes that all citizens have the right to active and passive political participation. The inclusion of minorities in decision-making processes is therefore essential for a peaceful and democratic society. In practice, however, numerous challenges and barriers prevent minority groups from effective participation in public life, particularly from political participation and representation.

The 2014 Summer School explores these challenges to the political participation of national minorities, indigenous peoples and migrants, and introduces participants to the standards, laws and institutions that exist on local, national and international level to support the participation of minority groups. Participants will critically examine their effectiveness, and assess what alternative tools and strategies are available to members of a minority seeking political participation. They will also discuss the important question why persons belonging to minorities, unlike those belonging to the majority, should have special rights to guarantee their participation, as required by a number of international and regional instruments. 

In particular, the 2014 Summer School aims to discuss the following topics:

  • Traditional forms of political participation for national minorities, migrants and indigenous people ( e.g. autonomy, electoral representation, gerrymandering, consultative mechanisms)
  • Non-traditional forms of political participation for national minorities, migrants and indigenous people (e.g. social movements, e-participation and new media)
  • Direct democracy and its implications for minority groups
  •  Political participation of right wing and populist parties in democratic states as a challenge for minority groups

The Summer School will examine a broad range of cases, with particular attention to minority groups in Europe. Topics are explored from both a legal and political science perspective: seminars on the theoretical aspects and the implementation of legal standards in specific case studies will lay the groundwork for further discussion about the social and political implications of political participation for minority groups.Besides participating in thought-provoking academic lectures followed by discussion, participants will also engage in hypothetical case studies and group activities.

Application Process, Tuition fees and Scholarships

Please apply using this online form.
Deadline: 10 April 2014, 23.59 MESZ
For problems and questions please write to

  • Tuition fee including lunch and transport from Bozen/Bolzano to St. Moritz: €350.
  • Accommodation, travel costs and other expenses are not covered by the tuition fee.Convenient accommodation for every participant will be arranged by the organizers in the Youth Hostel of Bozen/Bolzano and the Youth Hostel in St. Moritz.
  • 5 Scholarships are available (covering accommodation in a 4-bed room at the Youth Hostel in Bozen/Bolzano and in St. Moritz as well as a reduction of the tuition fee to 150 €). Selection is based on merit.

Who should participate?

  • MA and PhD students interested in minority issues and political participation
  • Lawyers, economists, political and social scientists and others working in non-governmental organizations
  • Civil servants from local, regional or national administrations who primarily deal with minority and diversity related issues and therefore require both theoretical and practical training on those issues
  • Journalists and teachers interested in recent developments, current theories and advanced training on issues concerning minorities and diversity

Diploma, credits and publication opportunity

Participants can choose to write an essay after the Summer School and obtain 5 ECTS points from the University of Graz, Austria. The best essays may be published in the European Diversity and Autonomy Papers.


From 23. 06. 2014 -- 28.06.2014, the Summer School takes place in the town of Bolzano/Bozen, the capital of South Tyrol, a province with a large German-speaking population located in Northern Italy. Bolzano/Bozen is inhabited by a German-speaking minority, a majority population of Italian speakers, and a third group of migrants and immigrants constituting 13% of the city’s population.

From 29.06.2014 – 02.07.2014, the Summer School moves to St. Moritz in the trilingual Canton of Grisons (Switzerland). Free Transport from Bozen/Bolzano to St. Moritz will be offered.

Participating Institutions

This year’s Summer School is organized by the Institute for Minority Rights of the European Academy Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) in co-operation with the Foundation Convivenza, Switzerland; Middlesex University, School of Law, London; and the University of Graz, Austria.

EURAC - The European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano is located in the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol in northern Italy. The case of South Tyrol is often referred to as a model case of self-governance as well as a model solution for minority protection and of the accommodation of diversity. Hence EURAC is able to provide exceptional theoretical and practical knowledge in the examination and application of issues related to minority protection and regionalism, as well as in relation to immigration in regions with strong cultural identities.
Since 1999, the EURAC's Institute for Minority Rights organizes a Summer School on the topics of Human Rights, Minorities and Diversity Management. The international Summer School hosts 20 - 30 students from all over the world and offers a platform to discuss and elaborate on current topics in the field of diversity management with outstanding academic experts but also practitioners from international organizations, such as the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the European Court of Human Rights, or the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.Convivenza offers practical support, including the moderation of seminars and meetings, with the goal of relieving ethnic tensions and other conflicts in minority situations. Its purpose is the facilitation of the peaceful coexistence of minorities and majorities, as well as minorities amongst themselves.

Convivenza is based on the conviction that cultural-linguistic and religious autonomy, as well as other forms of federal organisation, are particularly suited to the enhancement of peaceful cohabitation of ethnic groups. Legal and political institutions can make a difference when it comes to letting diversity become an enrichment factor rather than a crucial test. The seat of the foundation is in Disentis/Mustér, in the trilingual Swiss Canton of Grisons. Through the implementation of pragmatic federal solutions, the Canton has historically avoided political disturbances. Therefore, the cultural history of the Grisons itself provides an example of cohabitation of peoples and groups of different languages, religions, and traditions in tolerance and diversity.

Middlesex University School of Law offers a distinctive global perspective and environment for students and researchers. As well as established undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in law, there are a number of minority rights academics who form part of the staff, researching in areas including minority rights in Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, international criminal law and indigenous peoples’ rights. The recent addition of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre to the School of Law, which assists non-governmental organisations and lawyers in Russia and the South Caucasus in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, has added expertise in human rights litigation. The annual Minority Rights Summer School has been hosted by staff from the School of Law, in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights, for over a decade.

The University of Graz was founded in 1585, is Austria’s second oldest university and one of the largest in the country. Many excellent scientists, amongst them six Nobel laureates, have taught and researched here. With some 31,500 students and 3,900 employees the University of Graz contributes significantly to the vibrating life of the Styrian capital. Its location encourages a lively scientific, economic and cultural exchange with South-East Europe, from which not only the city benefits, but also its educational institutions.

Past editions of the International Summer School on Human Rights, Minorities and Diversity Management

2013 - The Revival of Self-determination: opportunities, concerns and challenges. Flyer and programme.

2012 - Europe and Canada: Comparative issues and challenges.  Flyer and programme.

2011 - Linguistic Diversity. Flyer and programme.

Research: Institutes: Institute for Minority Rights: Activities: Education: Summer School on Human Rights, Minorities and Diversity Management