Global Minority Rights Summer School (GMRSS) 2021

05 - 16JULY2021

The Tom Lantos Institute (TLI), the National University of Public Service (NUPS), the Human Rights Consortium (School of Advanced Study, University of London), and Minority Rights Group International, are organizing their ninth international summer school on minority rights, which will have a special focus on ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities.

There is a broad global consensus that addressing inequalities and making institutions more inclusive are central to addressing the root causes of conflicts.[1] Since most conflicts involve insufficient inclusion of minorities often coupled with disregard of their identities and grievances as well as denial of human rights, the main challenge now is to better understand what this means in practice.

The Preamble of the United Nations Charter establishes a connection between human rights and the prevention of violent conflicts by determining that saving “succeeding generations from the scourge of war” is to be achieved through “faith in fundamental human rights” and for these ends “to practice tolerance and live together in peace…and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security”. This instrument emerged following World War II as a response to the Holocaust and the devastation of the war. Today, most conflicts are intrastate, and involve an ethnic, linguistic, or religious minority.[2]

Peace, stability and justice – in other words preventing violent conflicts – require addressing the core grievances of minorities. Such grievances are often associated with their exclusion, discriminatory practices in matters of participation in public life and other areas, accommodation of their cultures, religions or beliefs, and languages, as well as with other breaches of human rights related to the protection of their existence and identities. The exclusion of and discrimination against minorities rather than ensuring their inclusion and protection in society through the implementation of their human rights, are the main root-causes of most contemporary conflicts.

Preventing conflicts requires addressing these failures in implementation. Guaranteeing the protection of the human rights of minorities and ensuring their implementation before grievances have the chance to fester increases the chances that a conflict might not occur.

The 2021 Global Minority Rights Summer School will explore issues related to ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities, bringing together policy makers, civil society activists, academics, and other key stakeholders. The two-week interactive summer school will examine contemporary trends, challenges and case-studies, and also discuss concrete solutions. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Dr. Fernand de Varennes, will participate in the summer school as a speaker, and discuss his mandate and the work he has done since being appointed. Other confirmed speakers include Brendan O’Leary, Mohammed Shahabuddin, and John Packer. Participants will also learn practical skills, such as how to formulate UN Forum statements and develop recommendations, and will be given an opportunity to make presentations on relevant subjects of interest to them.

The Summer School will host approximately 30 participants from around the world, offering a discussion forum on issues related to minorities and indigenous peoples with leading experts and practitioners in the field of international human rights law, political science, international relations, economics, and journalism. Lecturers will:

  • Provide an overview of the normative framework governing the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples at the international and regional levels;
  • Discuss key issues related to ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities;
  • Explore the role that various international and regional mechanisms play in ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities and indigenous peoples;
  • Examine case studies related to specific minority groups and issues related to ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities;
  • Moderate discussions to allow participants to express their views and debate the issues.

Students participating in the Summer School will:

  • Explore current norms, issues, and challenges related to ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities;
  • Discuss and understand the roles that international and regional mechanisms, civil society, and other actors play in the protection of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples;
  • Examine and present case studies related to specific minority groups and indigenous peoples in the context of issues related to ethnocultural diversity, conflict, and the human rights of minorities;
  • Discuss key minority rights and indigenous issues, share their experiences, and learn from colleagues with a variety of backgrounds and opinions;
  • Gain practical skills in advocacy and analysis to strengthen their capacity to participate in existing minority protection and conflict prevention mechanisms.

The tuition fee is 150 Euros.

Financial support is available for a limited number of participants. Please find the details below.

To apply, fill in the application form, save it with the following name: 2021GMRSS_[lastname_firstname], and submit it to Please do not send any other documents. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The deadline for applying is Friday, April 23, 2021, 12:00 p.m. CET. Applicants will be notified by Friday, May 7, 2021.

Who should participate?

  • MA and PhD students who wish to acquire competitive personal competence beneficial for their future careers in academia or in practice-oriented professions;
  • Public servants, decision-makers, teachers in higher education institutions and journalists with an interest in minority rights, diversity, equality, and relevant international law;
  • Members of civil society organizations, practitioners;
  • Everyone who is interested in recent developments, current theories and advanced training in the field of minority protection.

A strong command of English is required.

Information about previous Global Minority Rights Summer Schools is available here. In addition, videos from previous years are available at this link.

Financial Support

The following types of financial support are offered by TLI:

A small number of scholarships are available to cover the tuition fee.
Financial assistance to ensure proper internet access may be provided to participants who do not have regular internet access at home.

Applicants for scholarships must have:

  • A proven current interest or work in the field;
  • A strong motivation to improve their understanding and skills;
  • Demonstrated plans for future activities or a career that would utilize the knowledge, contacts, and skills acquired.
  • We strongly encourage people belonging to national or ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities, as well as indigenous people to apply for the Summer School.

Location and Institutions

The Summer School is organized by the Tom Lantos Institute (TLI), the National University of Public Service (NUPS), the Human Rights Consortium (School of Advanced Study, University of London), and Minority Rights Group International. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 summer school programme will be held entirely online using a Moodle-based online learning platform.

Minimum Computer Specifications

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device) with an internet connection so that you can access your learning materials and live webinars through the online learning platform that will be used to deliver the summer school programme.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer; this must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled); screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater; sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2MB; a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc); Adobe, or another PDF reader.


[1] The term ‘conflict’ refers specifically to violent conflict, and may be broadened to include violence targeting minorities and civilians such as genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, etc.

[2] See data from Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP, Sundberk, Eck and Krautz 2012; Allansson, Melander and Themnér 2017).