The Institute for Ethnic Studies (IES)
is the oldest research institute in minority and ethnic studies in Europe, traditionally studies the following issues: ethnicity, ethnic relations and conflicts, nationalism, borders; the Slovene national question; national minorities, especially the position and status of national and ethnic minorities in Slovenia and of the Slovene ethnic communities in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and other successor states of the former Yugoslavia; position and status of immigrants, migration and integration policies in the Slovenia; international regulation and protection of human rights, especially the rights of national minorities; case studies and comparative studies of ethnicity in Europe and worldwide. The IES has a long track record of work in the fields of minority studies, ethnic studies and human rights. In this context, special attention has been paid to the participation of ethnic minorities in political decision-making processes - especially in South Eastern Europe, but also worldwide. Within the framework of the Stability Pact for SE Europe the International Center for Interethnic Relations and Minorities in SE Europe was established at the IES in 2001.
Traditionally the IES and its researchers organize or participate in diverse scholarly conferences, workshops and seminars, lectures, training and educational programs; among the most important activities the UN Seminar on human rights in multinational communities (Ljubljana, 1965), which was the first international seminar on this topic at the universal level, and the second UN Seminar on the protection of rights of national, ethnic and other minorities (Ohrid, 1974), but also the influential International Conference on Minorities (Trieste, 1974) should be mentioned. The IES has been involved in the Masters’ Program (Political Science – Ethnic Studies) on the Regulation and Management of Ethnic Relations and Conflicts at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana since the mid 1990s. At the occasion of its 80th anniversary in 2005 the IES signed a number of new framework agreements on cooperation in research, science and higher education (especially post-graduate programmes), in addition to previously already existing ones, with the University of Primorska/Lateral and a number of research institutes (in Austria, Italy, etc.) and universities in Slovenia and abroad, thereby further developing its network of partner institutions.
Its substantial specialized library on minorities and ethnicity (with a status of a specialized public library), specialized documentation centre and archives that survived WWII and recently acquired a substantial collection on ethnic relations and conflicts in South Eastern Europe (including donations) are considered the richest and most important specialized collections in the region.
The IES is the successor of the Minority Institute, which in the years 1925-1941 functioned in Ljubljana as one of the first research institutions of its kind in the world, mostly dealing with the status of Slovenes in the neighbouring countries, and of German and Hungarian minorities in Slovenia. When the Slovene territory was occupied, the Institute was »liquidated lest its materials should fall into the hands of occupiers«. Yet as early as January 1944, in the liberated territory, the Scientific Institute was founded within the Executive Committee of the Liberation Front; this institute continued, as the only institution of this kind in the occupied Europe, the work of the Minority Institute. Its department for border issues by 1948 transformed into the Institute for Ethnic Studies. From 1948 to 1956, the Institute functioned within the frames of the University in Ljubljana, while from then on it has been an independent scientific institution. In 1992 the IES became one of the first public research institutions in Slovenia.
We should stress the continuity of the research and scientific work of the Institute in the past eight decades. Initially focused on minority studies (especially the Slovenes in neighbouring countries, minorities in Slovenia, the protection of minorities) it soon extended its research on all relevant fields of ethnic studies, contributing also to contemporary trends in ethnic studies and in the development of the protection of national and ethnic minorities (especially the international standards for the protection of national minorities).
The IES, its International Center, INDOC and researchers have developed extensive and intensive international cooperation. The institute has established a substantial international network of partner institutions, mostly research and higher education institutions, and scholars in the field of minority and ethnic studies throughout Europe and world-wide. The IES has concluded framework agreements on cooperation in research, training and education with several partner institutions and is planning to further expand this network. There are a number of activities and diverse forms of cooperation among partner institutions.
For scholars, projects and institutions interested in ethnic relations in the region of South Eastern Europe the network of institutions, organizations and scholars collaborating with the International Center for Interethnic Relations and Minorities in South Eastern Europe can be a useful asset.
An important part of the international cooperation of the IES is the participation of the Institute and its researchers in diverse foreign, international and European projects. Among them we could mention a few projects (co)funded or (co)sponsored by diverse national science foundations (e.g. Austria, USA), diverse private and international foundations and institutions (e. g. OSI, American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee in Claims Conference, EUMC, etc.), international organizations (e. g. UNESCO, UNDP, UNRISD, Council of Europe, OSCE) and the EU institutions (e. g. DG Education and Culture, Leonardo da Vinci Programme, 6th FP, etc.). It is important to mention that the IES is a host institution for the fellow in the framework of the 6th FP – Marie Currie Action – Intra European Fellowship.