UMD: A Globally Connected University
Minorities at Risk
Professor Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Director of CIDCM, was awarded an OIP International Activities Grant to sponsor a Minorities at Risk (MAR) workshop in spring/summer 2006 to bring together teams of senior researchers who utilize data MAR's data about persecuted and/or politically-active ethnic groups throughout the world from 1945 to the present.
The Minorities at Risk (MAR) dataset is the only sustained effort to collect systematic and replicable data on politically-active communal groups and their actions: the most comprehensive dataset on ethnic politics publicly available to scholars and policy-makers today, in terms of period covered, numbers of groups, and number of variables coded. Since its creation in the 1980s by Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Ted Gurr, the dataset and associated activities have become a public good, used by academics, journalists, governments, international and non-governmental organizations.
Because of the increasing use of this research tool, CIDCM MAR staff and associated scholars would benefit from the opportunity to bring researchers together to discuss new approaches to collecting, updating, and disseminating data and how these mesh with new research directions of the scholars who study ethno-political conflict.
Thus, the primary goal of this workshop is to address two of the central challenges (selection bias and dynamic data) and develop strategies for addressing them. It will do so by inviting U.S.-based and international scholars central to the debate - both MAR users and its critics - to Maryland for a two-day meeting to address issues associated with the expanding research applications of these data.
Ultimately, because MAR provides a unique and increasingly used resource, addressing these challenges and providing practical methodological advice will increase confidence in the data as we go forward and enhance the capacity of researchers to use it effectively and correctly.