Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

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AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
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Sarah Bern selfdetermination okt2014

From 9 to 11 October 2014 the Department of Geography at the University of Bern in Switzerland hosted a conference on self-determination in Europe focusing on the contemporary challenges in multinational states . Peace Institute researcher Sarah Stephan had the chance to participate and collaborate with colleagues from the European Centre for Minority Issues as a chair and discussant in a panel on self-determination discourses in Eastern Europe. Sarah also presented her research on multi-level governance and the accommodation of autonomies within the EU and the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers in a panel discussing models for the accommodation of self-determination claims.

 The conference brought together senior and junior academics working on questions of self-determination, state construction and minority protection from a number of disciplines, including political geography, political science and law. In her keynote speech Professor of Anthropology Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff discussed the problem of categories in the self-determination and minority rights discourses, a re-appearing theme during the conference. Michael Keating, Professor of Politics, concluded in his keynote speech that we need solutions for individual cases rather than fitting state construction effort into outdated and dysfunctional categories of sovereignty and authority. The conference was an inspiring forum to discuss with colleagues from all over Europe challenges experienced in many regions, in Europe, in Scotland, Catalonia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and which concern minorities, states and international organizations alike.