The aim of the Visegrad Summer School has been to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and to create an alternative learning environment for young people from Central and Eastern Europe. The summer school has been organized to lower prejudice and stereotypes of particular ethnic groups. 50 young people from V4 countries and selected other countries of Eastern Europe were participating on the summer school.
Visegrad Summer School belongs to the group of prominent alternative forms of education and cooperation of young people in Central and Eastern Europe. In the course of previous years participants prepared their projects that continued after the Summer school.
Dr. Michal Vašečka lectured at the Summer school this year again and he lectured on “Virtual society“.
Slovakia has been represented on the 6th edition of the Summer School by 8 participants:
Monika Bandúrová, FSES, Comenius University, Bratislava
Eva Kullová, Law Faculty, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica
Zuzana Majbová, Faculty of Art, Charles University, Prague
Karol Margeta, Faculty of Law, Comenius University, Bratislava
Erika Okruhlicová, Faculty of Art, Comenius University, Bratislava
Alexandra Ormisová, Constantin Philosoph University, Nitra
Alžbeta Tóthová, Roosevelt Academy and Utrecht University, Utrecht
Denisa Voskárová, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica
The beginning of 2007 marks the start of a first regional project launched by UNDP to accelerate implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in 8 new EU Member States and in candidate countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Slovak Republic and Turkey. The Project aims at promoting and supporting the integration of sustainability principles into the business strategies. The Project is expected to contribute to regional cohesion among old and new EU Member States and candidate countries. The project is funded by the European Commission.
As a partner institution, CVEK realized the research in cooperation with international expert team. The main objective of the research was to investigate the actual level of CSR promotion in Slovakia and to bring recommendations from stakeholders. The research was based on qualitative interviews with various representatives of small and medium companies and stakeholders (NGO, media, academic institutions, associations, ministries.)
The output of the research consists of the Baseline Study on CSR Practices in the New EU Member States and the national report for Slovakia where all the results of the qualitative and quantitative research are included. The report as well formulates the recommendations for various actors active in the field of CSR promotion.
Elena Gallová Kriglerová presented results of the study on June 20, 2007 at the UNDP headquarters in Bratislava to representatives of firms, media, non-governmental organizations and governmental bodies. Results of the research were presented also on October 17 in Košice and on October 30 in Žilina.
Main organizer: Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University
Period: June 28-30, 2007
CVEK participated on preparation and organization of the 8th Postgraduate conference „Life in Motion: Shifting spaces, transcending times, crossing borders“, that took place on June 28-30, 2007 at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University in Brno. Conference has been successful continuation of conference series at the SSEES-UCL in London, GSSR IFiS PAN in Warsaw and University of California in Berkeley.
Partner: Institute on Research of Reproduction and Integration of Society, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University Brno
Donor: International Visegrad Fund
Period: June 8-9, 2007
Objective of the conference has been to contribute to better understanding of the processes of redefinition of nation’s identity. That in consequences would allow not only better conditions for handling of the minority and migrant issues, but also increased mutual understanding between nations in Central Europe. In Central European countries, the process of national self-determination since 19th century has been more on the ethnic and cultural side than on the civic and territorial one.
Central European reality can be characterized by the notion “Kulturnation” (broad cultural community), rather than “Staatsnation” (self-determining political nation). The salience of ethnic component in constructing nationhood among CEE is likely the critical factor why these states are not ready to fully accept the cultural other as equal members – the other may be national minorities or new immigrant groups. Most societies, entering the era of post-industrial times and cross-country migration are not ready for full acceptance otherness – either autochtonous minorities, migrants, or even people with multilayer identities. Confusion is visible mostly in radically different manner in which citizenship in particular countries of the Central Europe – ius soli (birthright citizenship) and ius sanguini principles (right of blood) are used to determinate of the state citizenship in most of EU countries.
Participants from 10 countries took part on the conference.
„Top 10“ conclusions of the conference:
1. There is no consensus about the term nation in Europe (double meanings, difficulties of translation, different contents).
2. Ethnic and civic dichotomy brings conceptual problems to researchers while studying issues connected with a term nation.
3. Term nation should be studied by using a functionalist paradigm.
4. Functionalist paradigm does not exclude thinking about demands of minorities in terms of justice.
5. Issues of banal nationalism, symbolic exclusion, and tribal thinking is more important to conceptualize than to study open nationalism.
6. Researchers should avoid „fetishization“ of legal definitions of the term nation.
7. Language of conceptualization of the term nation is often primordial.
8. Modern national states create a „cocktail“ of civic and ethnic traditions.
9. The role of researchers is a deconstruction and falsification of policies and practices that are rooted unconsciously in nationalized legal norms.
10. Chance of moving forward: redefinition of the core solidarity based on ethnicity to core solidarity based on modern citizenship.
CVEK published a peer-reviewed publication out of selected contributions in English:Nation Uber Alles. Processes of redefinition and reconstitution of the Term Nation in Central European countries.
Partner: Global Politics
Period: March 2007 – May 2007
CVEK participated on the project of the Global Politics web magazine (www.globalpolitics.cz) in which students from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia took part in the 2007 Visegrad Essay Competition and thus they contributed to the ongoing scholarly discourse over Central European political developments.
To participate, student authors submitted an authentic, unpublished English essay of no more than 3500 words on one of the following topics:
1. Hitherto V4 cooperation and its perspectives after EU entry;
2. Shared political and social identities in the V4;
3. Populism and nationalism in V4 countries.
Period: December 2006 – May 2009
The Server, www.digimedia.sk, launched on December 2006, provided critical information, news, articles, and interviews about digital broadcasting in Slovakia and elsewhere. The purpose of this server has been to facilitate transformation of Slovak broadcasting through well considered communication campaign targeted at professionals, working in the area of broadcasting and telecommunications as well as the general public.
The www.digimedia.sk server has been part of a larger project, The Study of Legislative and Socio-Economic Aspects of Transition from Analogous to Digital TV broadcasting, sponsored by the Slovak Ministry of Transports, posts and telecommunications.
Kurt Lewin Foundation, Budapest
Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno
Period: November 2006 – January 2007
The objective of the project was to provide the press with relevant feedback on the manner and extent of their communication about national and ethnic minorities and immigrants.
The research encompasses Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia; it lasted for one month and researchers monitored three different daily newspapers, two weeklies, one country paper, three internet news portals, and the evening news and a magazine program of a TV channel every day. In Slovakia, media monitoring was realized in November 2006 and focused on several types of Slovak media:
b) Weekly: Plus 7 dní
c) TV channels: Markíza (TV News and daily magazine Reflex)
Researchers in each country have published a country reports that describes situation of media coverage of migrant and minority issues. Slovak report pointed out on how Slovak media produce and reproduce stereotypes and prejudices against ethnic and national minorities and migrants and on how strongly they contribute to creation of negative perception of migrants and minorities in Slovakia.
Partner: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)
Period: January 2006 – December 2006
Racism and Xenophobia European Information Network (RAXEN) was established by European Monitoring Center of Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The main objective of EUMC is to offer broad audience in the EU-25 objective, reliable and comparable data on issues of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism in the territory of member states and to contribute to formulation of effective measures designed to fight racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
RAXEN Network consists of 25 national groups, one group operating in each member state. National groups are partners of EUMC providing needed information and data on national level. Center for Research of Ethnicity and Culture together with People Against Racism form national group for Slovakia. Particular national groups carry out different tasks specified by EUMC, collect information and statistical data about various activities in the area of fight against racism and xenophobia, work out general (general situation in the country) as well as specific reports (employment, education, housing, etc.)
Outputs in 2006:
1. Thematic study: “Combating Ethnic and Racial Discrimination and promoting Equality: Trends and developments 2000 – 2005
2. National Data Collection Report aimed at five main areas of discrimination (legislation, education, housing, employment, racial violence)
3. RAXEN Infosheets: Statistical data on migrants, foreigners and members of ethnic and national minorities in Slovakia
4. Database of organizations, their activities and publications dealing with discrimination, racism and xenophobia. Annual report on situation in the area of racism and xenophobia in the Slovak Republic and further information material mapping respective area in 2006.
5. RAXEN Bulletin: Bi-monthly newsletter on crucial news in racism and discrimination in Slovakia.
Partner: SGI (Slovak Governance Institute)
Period: March 2006 – December 2006
Elena Gallová Kriglerová in cooperation with experts from Slovak Governance Institute realized qualitative research aimed at impacts of public educational policy on access of Roma children to education. The most crucial barriers and obstacles of equal access to education have been identified throughout in – depth interviews with the relevant actors from educational system (head teachers of mainstream primary schools, head teachers of special primary schools, teaching assistants, employees of psychological advisory centers and special – pedagogical centers).
Public policy paper titled Impact of government policies aimed at improvement of situation of Roma children in education has been the main output of the project. Document identifies the main positive and negative impacts and consequences of public policy on Roma education and formulates many concrete recommendations for improvement of situation in this area.
Partner: Hungarian Academy of Science, Institute of Sociology, Budapest
Period: August 2006 – December 2006
This survey has been undertaken in the context of the project PEACE-COM supported by the Sixth Framework RTD Program of the European Communities. Its objective has been to collect information on personal and professional background, as well as opinions of key actors of Slovak – Roma relations in Slovakia. Survey searched for important reasons of the conflict atmosphere, described needs and activities of actors, and their opinion on potential settlement/ accommodation initiatives. For these purposes 30 semi-structured interviews with Roma leaders in Slovakia has been organized and furthermore analyzed.
Partner: ZORA – Association of Citizens for Regional Activities
Period: April 2006 – December 2006
The aim of this broad project was to contribute to building of tolerant and multicultural society in the region of Gemer and at increasing level of sensitivity and empathy of majority population toward marginalized groups. CVEK prepared methodic manual for teachers and all other stakeholders that work in multi-ethnic classes. Manual offers information and model approaches to handle multiethnic problems that exist within school activities. Manual brings also a description of situation that enables students to find better jobs on a primary labor market.
4 discussion forums and interviews with experts have been organized in the scope of the project with teachers from Gemer region. Discussion forums opened a space for problems reflexion of the multi-ethnic environment on the side of teachers. Discussion forums and handbook brought consistent view on possible approaches and their applicability in conditions of a Gemer region.
Campaign All Different – All Equal is being run in different European countries and is based on three pillars: diversity, human rights and participation. Within its priority issues in Slovakia are: increase of interest of youth organizations and non-organized youth, observation of human rights, active citizenship and youth participation.
Research within this campaign aimed to bring knowledge and opinion of young people at the age of 14-26 about three main areas:
a) Diversity and Disadvantages – perception of different cultures, tolerance toward the members of different cultures, opinions on discrimination of disadvantaged people, interethnic and intercultural relations of youth
b) Human Rights – knowledge about human rights, attitudes toward education on human rights in Slovakia
c) Civic participation of young people
Outputs from the project contain very interesting findings, which could be very useful not only for further research in this area, but for the more complex and efficient work with young people. One of the partial aims of the project was to provide recommendations for young people oriented public policy, which would take into consideration attitudes and needs of youth.
Period: June 2006 – February 2007
The aim of the project has been to analyze legislative and socio-economic aspects of the transition into the digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, to collect data necessary for assessing effective communication strategy and to propose steps of switching off the analog TV broadcasting. The project has been of the great importance since the whole process of transition into the digital terrestrial TV broadcasting is necessary to speed up, but at the same to time to analyze socio-economic aspects of this process, to collect data for proper assessment of the effective communication strategy and of the switching off processes.
CVEK has been therefore researching socio-economic aspects that can influence speed and costs of the transition processes into DVB-T (economic potential of households, attitudes toward new technologies, behavior of viewers, potential development of a „TV behavior“, ability and readiness to accept new technologies, etc.). Well-prepared and effective communication campaign is important part of the process of transition into DVB-T. Specialized portal www.digimedia.sk has been launched in December 2006 as well to bring information to all involved groups.
Coordinator: Open Society Institute
Period: March 2006 – December 2006
The monitoring project on Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma was established in 2005. It was carried out in co-operation with the ESP (Education Support program) and RPP (Roma Participation Program) of the Open Society Institute.
The monitoring followed up on previous EUMAP reports on Roma in eight Central and Eastern European countries (2001-2002) and followed-up reports on individual issues like the local implementation of the Romanian Government Strategy for the Improvement of the Condition of Roma (2004) and the situation of Sinti and Roma women and girls in Germany (2004).
The monitoring of Equal access to quality education for Roma incorporated four main goals:
1. To assess the implementation of government education policies for Roma
2. To provide data on key education indicators
3. To promote consultation with Roma communities on education issues
4. To establish a framework for regular monitoring throughout the Decade of Roma Inclusion
The final report is available here.
The aim of the Visegrad Summer School has been to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and to create an alternative learning environment for young people from Central and Eastern Europe. The summer school has been organized to lower prejudice and stereotypes of particular ethnic groups.
50 young people from V4 countries and selected other countries of Eastern Europe were participating on the summer school. Visegrad Summer School belongs to the group of prominent alternative forms of education and cooperation of young people in Central and Eastern Europe. In the course of previous years participants prepared their projects that continued after the Summer school.
Dr. Michal Vašečka lectured at the Summer school this year again and he lectured on “Global Village or Urban Jungle – isolation in developed societies“.
Slovakia has been represented on the 5th edition of the Summer School by 8 students:
Ondrej Gažovič, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University, Brno
Irena Jenčová, Institute of Ethnology, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava
Zuzana Kopajová, Faculty of Social Science, Charles University, Prague
Lukáš Milan, Faculty of Art, Comenius University, Bratislava
Silvia Pňačková, Faculty of Art, Comenius University, Bratislava
Michal Šimečka, Faculty of Social Science, Charles University, Prague
Michal Šipoš, Faculty of Art, Comenius University, Bratislava
Ivana Šmicová, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica
Evaluation of the Impact of Inclusion Policies under the Open Method of Co-ordination
Donor: European Commission
Period: January – December 2006
European Centre for Minority Issues, Germany
The Institute for European Studies, Estonia
The Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
The Institute for Ethnic Studies, Slovenia
The National Action Plans (NAPs) implemented by European Union member states through the Open Method of Co-operation (OMC) do not have a noticeable representation of the aspect of culture in promoting social inclusion. Even though culture was introduced in several NAPs in terms of cultural activities and access to culture, there is a need to point out how these policies can enhance the social inclusion of ethnic minorities.
The project “Aspects of Culture in the Social Inclusion of Ethnic Minorities” looked to review the cultural policies introduced in the NAPs of six Member States of the European Union, namely Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Sweden. The main task has been to analyze their impact on the promotion of the social exclusion of ethnic minorities, including Roma/Sinti groups together with piloting a set of Common Inter – Cultural Indicators (CICIs) possible for cost-effectiveness analyses and benchmarking within the EU.
Important findings of the analysis has been:
1. Social inclusion policies are uneffective in general as far as Roma are concerned.
2. Inter-ethnic relations toward Roma matters more than any integration policy.
3. Integration policies toward Roma are being in place more because of existence of a pressure from outside the country than due to interest of officials or public.
4. The most important question remains whether Roma in Slovakia have where to integrate without full assimilation.
5. Not only cost-effectiveness analysis is not possible, but we do not know „costs“. Cost-effectiveness has no been done so far in Slovakia, institutions tend to gather all possible types of data without ambitions to assess their impact.
6. The only sphere where we can identify „costs“ on marginaliyed minorities is the sphere of support culture activities.
Activities of the CVEK within the project:
1. The research team of the CVEK started its activities on the project at the beginning of March 2006 according to guidelines from the first preliminary workshop in Flensburg at the end of February 2006. The workshop raised a number of problems reflecting the complexity of the subject and Slovak representatives agreed on the necessity to consecrate part of the report to a general definition of culture to give the opportunity to consequently define social inclusion and how to measure it. The most crucial issue was the debate on the definition of a working framework of cultural indicators. The Slovak team followed a decision to stack out as three preliminary indicators the issues of Education, Media and Participation.
2. Firstly, the Slovak research team started to elaborate a description of the situation of minorities, including their current and historical situation, and particularly their legal situation.
3. Secondly, the research team worked during March 2006 on collection and analysis of the all materials mentioning in any way national minorities and particularly Roma in Slovakia. Slovak NAP on social inclusion has been analysed deeply in order to be prepare focus groups with experts on social inclusion from Slovakia.
4. At the beginning of April 2006 the research team started its to prepare the Focus Group session on NAP on Social Inclusion in Slovakia that took place in Štúrovo, April 14, 2006, with experts from NGOs, academic institutions, and state administration. The focus group has been leaded by Dr. Michal Vašečka and it took 3 hours. The primary goal of the focus group has been to discuss 5 issues:
a. Goals that government of Slovakia wants to achieve by particular arrangements;
b. Evaluate the complexity and multidimensionality of the NAP on social inclusion;
c. Evaluate the focus on segregated Roma as the most vulnerable minority;
d. Evaluate the understanding of the term culture;
e. Discuss both positive and negative outcomes of support for cultural activities of the minority.
Group of experts agreed that National Action Plan on Social Inclusion is not focused primarily on Roma communities and as a whole is insufficient and one-dimensional. They reached the agreement that more usable, although also very limited material, is National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic Regarding the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015, that has been approved by the government of Slovakia. This document approaches issues of social inclusion in more complex way, although it is worth to note that this document has been initiated from outside of Slovakia – by the World bank and Open Society Institute .
5. The research team afterwards analyzed the focus group results. The Slovak NAP on social inclusion has been identified by the group of experts as one-dimensional, focused primarily on economic dimension of the problem. Experts in the course of discussion defined also other social exclusion mechanisms. According to them, the social exclusion concept is more complex and broad in the first line. The advantage of using more complex approach is the fact that social exclusion is not being reduced to the most frequently used monetary (insufficient income) or consumption dimension (insufficient consumption). It means shift of emphasis from the financial handicap to its multidimensional character, i.e. identifying the different consequences caused by social exclusion. Group of experts identified as one of the greatest challenges a fact that NAP on social inclusion cannot be complex in relation to a Roma population because of inability to identify target group. Problems with statistics arise from the incongruity between data on ethnicity (gathered before 1989 on the basis of people’s anthropological characteristic, affinity towards a certain type of settlement, and even an evaluation of preferred lifestyle) and data on nationality (gathered on the basis of self-declaration in population censuses after 1989). Throughout the transformation period, statistics on the number of Roma has originated from three sources, all of which are inaccurate and potentially misleading. The group of experts identified as the most visible problem of a NAP lack of focus on segregated Roma communities that may be deemed to be those which live in separated or segregated settlements. The last statistics on Roma settlements were collected during the former communist regime and date back to the end of 1988 when there were 278 settlements in Slovakia, from this number 230 were located in the then designated Eastern Slovak Region. The most striking for the group of experts has been a fact of missing bridge between cultural policies and social inclusion. Factor of culture is understood in a very narrow sense of supporting Roma culture in the same way as a culture of other national minorities is being supported. Usually therefore, different folklore groups are being supported what only confirm prejudices and stereotypes of Roma. What is completely missing in the NAP on social inclusion is a support for culture in a sense of increasing participation. A support for cultural activities is a very important for the social cohesion of the society and increase of the dignity of socially excluded persons.
6. The research team as the next step of the research analyzed different inclusion policies of the Slovak republic in the spheres of Education, Employment, Inter-cultural dialogue, and Media.
7. The research team decided to discuss preliminary results during the so-called pre-dissemination meeting with some of representatives of the state administration in Bratislava. The seminar took place on July 7, 2006 and it took 3 hours. Governmental plenipotentiary raised several questions and doubts concerning the project and she evaluated the project as an extremely ambitious.
8. The results of the first phase of the project were presented during the 2nd working seminar in Flensburg on July 13 -14, 2006.
9. After the 2nd working seminar in Flensburg new important dimension of the project has been highlighted – to assess cost effectiveness of the programs and projects oriented on Roma in Slovakia. These data, however, do not exist, in fact, they should not be gathered at any stage according to the Constitution of the Slovak republic. Therefore, Slovak team decided to continue the research according to two lines – terrain gathering data in 5 primary schools in Eastern Slovakia in May 2006 and gathering of opinion of broadly defined experts on social inclusion matters on indicators and possibilities of cost-effectiveness analysis by using a questionnaire (August 2006).
10. During September 2006 Slovak research team analyzed results of the questionnaire and junior assistants were searching for all possible data that would enable the research team to conduct cost effectiveness analysis. The search has no been particularly successful, therefore a research team included into the final report only selected data that describes to certain extent the scope of the problem.
11. On October 6, 2006 Slovak research team organized a dissemination seminar summarizing the whole project. Dissemination seminar took place in Bratislava with a participation of 26 participants both from NGOs and governmental bodies. A seminar brought extremely fruitful discussion about chances to assess cost-effectiveness of any programs and projects concerning Roma and national minorities in general.
12. The results of the second phase of the project were presented during the 3rd working seminar in Flensburg on October 15 -16, 2006.
Period: November 2005 – January 2006
The analysis was focused on comparative mapping of the status of Slovak national minorities in Central European region. Analysis has been prepared due to changes after the entry of Slovakia into the European Union. Slovakia these days has new opportunities to influence position of Slovak minorities in Central European countries and to foster new quality of relations with neighbors. Analysis is based, however, on non-ethnic anti-primordial understanding of a nation and offers ideas on paradigm changes of politics aimed on so-called ex-patriots.