Who we are


The International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations (IMIR) was founded in April 1992 in cooperation with the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian – Muslim Relations (CSIC), Birmingham, UK and the Center for Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER), Warwick, UK. IMIR is a private, non-political, non-profit and non-governmental organization. IMIR is dedicated to the values of peaceful coexistence and tolerant interaction between different cultures, ethnoses and religions in Southeastern Europe and actively works for preservation and integration of all minority communities in Bulgaria.


In the first years of its existence and especially during the period of the worst economic crisis in Bulgaria (1996-1997), the humanitarian work was equally important segment of IMIR’s activities as was the research and scientific work. In the years after the crisis, IMIR continued to work as a donor institution, assisting various minority communities in Bulgaria through its scholarship program, its support for minority media and its support for research programs dealing with minorities. In the recent years, IMIR has gradually downsized its donor activity, thus turning into a genuine think-tank, fully devoted to production of expert research, analyses, forecasts and policy recommendations.


IMIR works with some of the best Bulgarian experts on issues like minority rights, minority integration, migrations, human trafficking, Islam, and inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations. Relying on the intellectual potential, integrity and dedication of these experts, IMIR has earned national and international recognition for its academic research, and for its studies of interethnic and religious issues in Bulgaria and the wider Balkan region. The Center has always been active in stimulating the inter-Balkan relations and the regional cooperation, and has established a number of partnerships with academic and non-governmental organizations not just in Bulgaria and other Southeast European countries, but across Europe.



The method of Urgent Anthropology, developed by Antonina Zhelyazkova, the Chair of IMIR’s Board of Directors, has become one of the most important IMIR’s trademarks. By sending multi-disciplinary research teams into the heart of the Balkan conflict zones such as Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and southern Serbia in the most critical times (during or immediately after the eruption of crises), IMIR has received international praise for its timely, accurate and impartial analyses of the regional hot-spots. The result of this work was the highly acclaimedUrgent Anthropology book series.