A new academic programme focusing on the persecution and protection of Europe’s minorities has been created at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.
Researchers will look at “the values of individual and communal dignity, liberty and belonging, rights and duties” as well as “the role of public policy and government in protecting and strengthening such values”.
Those behind the programme, which has been funded by the Alfred Landecker Foundation, said it was needed now more than any time since the 1930s, with the spread of antisemitism and popular ethno-nationalism across the continent.
The Foundation Director and CEO will be Dr Andreas Eberhardt, who has led a remembrance foundation in Germany since 2016. Before that he was founding director of the German-Israeli Future forum.
Eberhardt has been tasked with “identifying and supporting trend-setting developments in the promotion of an active remembrance culture, Holocaust education, the strengthening of democracy and minority protection”.
David Kamenetzky, who chairs the Alfred Landecker Foundation, said collective protection of minorities was a priority, “not only as one of the lessons from the collapse of European civilisation in the 1930s and the Holocaust, but also as a need that arises from the spread of antisemitism, populist ethno-nationalism and majoritarianism in our societies today”.
The programme’s first Chair will be Prof Jonathan Wolff, who will deliver a lecture considering “the significance of the parallels between the 1930s and the 2020s, the values and ideologies that underlie these trends, and how they can be countered in tolerant democratic societies”.
Wolff said the programme would draw on philosophy, history, politics, sociology, cultural studies, legal theory, and human rights theory, adding: “There never has been a more urgent time to understand the persecution of minorities and articulate and reaffirm the values underlying open, liberal, democracy.”