Fernand de VarennesOct 17, 2022
What is the Role of Minorities in the Modern State?
A Discussion with Fernand de Varennes
New Books Network 2022
The existence of minorities has been an unavoidable reality of the creation of nation states that almost always have a dominant national group inscribed in their names. From this perspective, Germany is a country for Germans and Australia is a country for Australians. But there are invariably others who don't fit the heritage or the stereotype of German or Italian, or Australian, or whatever the country might be. So how do we deal with the reality that minorities are a normal feature of basically all countries of the world?
In this episode of International Horizons, UN Special Rapporteur for Minority Issues Fernand de Varennes discusses the job of special rapporteurs on the field, the conceptual evolution of the word minority, how the existence of minority groups in a state can provoke both political turmoil and peaceful coexistence. de Varennes also explains the role of international organizations in the protection of minorities and the new surge in populist nationalism in which minorities are targeted as the enemies of the society. Finally, he presents cases of countries that have embraced diversity and became stable and just societies.
International Horizons is a podcast of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies that brings scholarly expertise to bear on our understanding of international issues. John Torpey, the host of the podcast and director of the Ralph Bunche Institute, holds conversations with prominent scholars and figures in state-of-the-art international issues in our weekly episodes.