Participants & Abstracts
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Personal infos: age 24, born in Oranienburg. Grown up in the former German Democratic Republic. High School Diploma / Abitur 2001, Carl-Fuhlrott-Gymnasium, Wuppertal.
Since Oct. 2002 studying at Humboldt-University of Berlin, English/American Studies and Modern History.
US Stays: August 1998 - August 1999 Berkmar High School Lawrenceville, GA; August 2004 - April 2005 Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL
Interests: Karate, Volleyball, Soccer
Journalism: Served in the German Air Force for six months as a reporter for military press. Helped in the 2004 campaigns of now-Senator Barack Obama and U.S. House candidate Tari Renner.
"Give me bacon or give me death!" The autonomous region of Trentino-South Tyrol
as a (Role)Model for the treatment of minorities in a national framework?
How can the demands of minorities be adequately addressed without sacrificing the integrity and sovereignty of an entire country? This is one of the most pressing questions in the debate over minority rights and integration.
A picturesque region south of the Alps may offer us a successful example of how such a dispute can be settled: the autonomous region of Trentino - South Tyrol.
Here, a German-speaking minority in Italy fought for recognition by and independence from the central government in Rome. The unity of old Tyrol had fallen victim to the post-war negotiations between the European powers in 1918. Followed by efforts of "(Re-)Italianization" in South Tyrol by the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, which reached its cruel climax in the conflict between "Optanten" and "Dableibern", the final separation into North and South Tyrol was decided after World War II.
In the case of South Tyrol the central government decided to solve the problem by granting extensive rights to the German-speaking minority - reducing its own presence and influence significantly. In addition, this process was completed relatively quickly, at least compared to comparable struggles in Spain, Northern Ireland or Cyprus.
In this presentation I would like to use the case of South Tyrol to develop a more general "tool kit for autonomy" which provides us with theoretical measures that could be applied in other integration-related conflicts.
Given the very successful economic development in the region since it gained full autonomy in 1972, and considering the fact that this development followed a short but violent period of, South Tyrol may serve as an example for a peaceful settlement of such conflicts. Interestingly enough officials from the region have themselves openly suggested a similar modus operandi for another very prominent minority: the Tibetans and their Chinese-controlled homeland.