On Friday 20 November, the High Commissioner National Minorities (HCNM) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) organized an Expert Seminar on The Hague Recommendations on the Educational Rights of National Minorities. The seminar brought together the new HCNM Astrid Thors, several experts and the staff of the HCNM to discuss the current validity of the 1996 Hague Recommendations regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities. This was especially important in light of The Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies, which were published in 2012. The OSCE wants to organize a Conference on this issue in the first months of 2016.
The experts were predominantly focused on language integrity of national minorities. The contribution of Joke van der Leeuw, EuroClio Founder and Special Advisor, was to emphasize the need to broaden the recommendations by also looking into diversities in society due to refugees and migration. Moreover, she addressed the need to look at a broader integration policy that offers a balance between respecting diversity and creating a sense of belonging to the wider community. Joke van der Leeuw therefore stressed the importance of developing a civic identity and the need to develop policies that do not foster separation between communities. A change in curricula towards competencies and outcome based learning could help us to make a change.
It was agreed that the OSCE HCNM would explore if it could organize another meeting soon with expertise on integration of society, from a more holistic point of view.