Regional development and minority protection

The new department for Regional Development and Minority Protection was established in July 2022 with the aim of investigating Sorbian minority culture in Lusatia in relation to the present current process of structural change following the federal decision to move away from coal mining industry after 150 years of operation. The mandate of the new unit is to examine the effects of the structural changes to come in the next decades affecting the local population and to accompany the Sorbian community during this transformation process, as well as to develop recommendations for action for political and civil society actors.

An important aspect of the new unit’s activity is comprehensive and international comparative research, especially in the areas of language planning/revitalization and of sustainable development of rural regions that are home to national and linguistic minorities. The Sorbian Institute wants to learn from the experiences abroad to assess the most successful practices in these fields, but also to contribute with its own investigations to comparative research on minority groups around the world.

Through an approach that is explicitly oriented toward practical application and implementation on the ground, the department methodologically focusses on the monitoring and evaluation of projects for the promotion of the Sorbian culture and language. The questions addressed by the new department concern Sorbian needs in the background of the upcoming structural changes in Lusatia. These touch upon diverse aspects of Sorbian life including regional planning and policy, economic development and education. In order to fulfill those goals, the department wants to intensify the cooperation of the Sorbian Institute with universities and non-university research centers in and around the Lusatian region, and to network with further German and international partners.