A Multicultural Region: Problems and Perspectives

In August 2005 an international seminar “Research methods of culture in human sciences” took place in the region of Odessa. Among the participants were ethnologists, linguists, historians, political scientists from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and Greece.

Budshak was chosen as a location – a very interesting region in the South of the Ukraine where representatives of different nationalities live compactly in separated villages: Ukrainian, Russian Rasskolniks (the Lipovans), Bulgarians, Moldavians, Gagaouzes, Romas, Greeks. And so it wasn’t an accident that many discussions in the seminar went about multiculturalism – the coexistence of different nations and their cultures in one geographic and political region.

Needless to say, that the North-west of Russia has a completely different structure: in contrast to Budshaka we have no separate settlements and cities with compact population of “un-titled” nationality. However, the migration processes, which are reality in our time and still intensifying, force us to think about the national and cultural landscape in the North-west of Russia in the near future. As likely as not the tendencies to multiculturalism will persist and that’s why education in tolerance towards representatives of other nations becomes more and more urgent.

Interesting programs about education in tolerance, which emerge in such idiosyncratic regions of the Ukraine like the Krim; One of the participants of the seminar Margarita Aradshioni, head of the ethnoconfessional research department of the Krim department of the national Academy of sciences in the Ukraine, reported that in the last time a xenophobic mood came up in the region Krim. Surveys among school children demonstrates, that non-acceptation and even hate towards people of other nationality is widespread – a woeful result of “adult” national politics. To change the situation a project called “reviving source” was organized in the Ukraine – with support of the program MATRA-KAP of the embassy of the Netherlands. It’s aim – “contribute to a stabile community on the peninsula by means of establishing among school children ecological awareness and tolerance towards other ethnos, religions and cultures, education in patriotism and civil positions via collective work and active holidays and by becoming acquainted to history and culture of the nations of the peninsula.” In the context of this project, children of different nationalities go in for excursions on the Krim, cleanse sources and get to know customs and cultures of the people settling on the Krim.

In our school work we strive for a similar goal – narrate the children about different nations and cultures, let them get to know each other, give them the possibility to study and live in a safe place. Migration of people is unavoidable in our current world and that’s why education in respect towards people, who are not similar to one self, has to take place already in childhood. The number of crimes, which are committed on grounds of racist and national intolerance, is very high in our region and in order to overcome this situation governmental programs, which redound to a raise of ethnic and national tolerance are essential. M. Aradshioni reported that in the Ukraine soon will be arranged a program of education in tolerance at governmental stage. A complex resolution to this problem is quite necessary in Russia, too.

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