Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Initiatives: Bulgaria
The Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project is a joint initiative of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) at the University of Maryland, and the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. The project aims to promote:
Understanding and research on issues of communal tension, violence and complex societal conflict in the Balkans
Capacity building for risk assessment and crisis early warning
Capacity building for conflict prevention and transformation through multi-track diplomacy
This long-term collaborative project includes activities such as:
Conflict research and analysis leading to joint and/or reciprocal publications in Bulgaria and the United States
Participation in efforts to develop and apply crisis early warning and early response programs for the Balkans
Training programs and applied multi-track diplomacy for conflict prevention and transformation in the Balkans
IRIS's Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project
Achievements and planned initiatives of the Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project include:
"Peoples versus States" Conference, 2002: Distinguished University of Maryland Professor Ted Robert Gurr, an internationally renowned expert in ethnic conflict theory and Founding Director of the Minorities at Risk Project at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, visited Bulgaria from October 4-15, 2002 at the invitation of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) and with support provided from the United States Department of State.
At a conference entitled: Peoples versus States: Ethnic and Civil Conflicts Resolution and Prevention, organized by the Institute for Regional and International Studies and the Political Science Department of the University of Sofia, and sponsored by the Opens Society Fund in Sofia, Professor Gurr presented on the themes of his book, Peoples versus States, newly published by the Bulgarian Military Publishing House with United States Embassy assistance. The conference addressed issues of ethnic conflict and post-conflict development in multi-ethnic societies. It was attended by scholars, government and NGO representatives, as well as by journalists. For his publication in Bulgarian language, as well as for his scholarly contributions in the field of ethnic conflict Sofia University conferred on Professor Gurr the title Doctor honoris causa.
Professor Gurr delivered lectures at Sofia University, the American University in Bulgaria and Southwest University in Blagoevgrad, the European Center at Veliko Tarnovo, and at the Military College in Shoumen. He also gave interviews to the Bulgarian media on issues of Balkan ethnic conflicts.
Seminar/Workshop on Multi-Track Diplomacy, 2003: The Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project, in cooperation with the National Center for the Study of Public Opinion in Bulgaria, organized a 3-day Seminar-Workshop on Multi-Track Diplomacy, led by University of Maryland Prof. John Davies, Co-Director of CIDCM's Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Projects. Dr.Davies introduced participants to concepts and techniques for conflict transformation, using a ‘learning by doing’ approach through which participants addressed ongoing conflicts between Roma and Bulgarian populations in Bulgaria, as well as between the Albanian and Macedonian populations in Macedonia. A Set of consensus recommendations were developed on how to address tensions over management of Roma communities’ access to power utilities.
Role of Islam in Bulgarian and Balkan Politics, 2004: The Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project, in cooperation with the National Center for the Study of Public Opinion in Bulgaria, plans to launch a project on the role of Islam in Bulgarian/Balkan politics. The Project will seek funding both from foundations and relevant US government programs.
- 2001: Lyubov Mincheva, Senior Research Associate with IRIS and graduate from the University of Maryland: Profile and risk assessments for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, included in the Minorities at Risk Project (www.cidcm.umd.edu/inscr/mar)
- 2002: Ted Robert Gurr, Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland: Peoples versus States: Minorities at Risk in the New Century (in Bulgarian), Bulgarian Military Publishing House
- 2004 (anticipated): Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff (Prof. Harff is with the US Naval Academy's Department of Political Science): Ethnic Conflict in World Politics (in Bulgarian), Bulgarian Military Publishing House
Co-Directors of the Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans Project are Dr. Lyubov Mincheva, Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) and Lecturer at the University of Sofia, and Dr. John Davies, Senior Faculty Associate with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM), University of Maryland.