IMIR’S FIELDS OF INTEREST
The following fields are the main focus of IMIR’s research:
STUDIES OF ISLAM
IMIR works with the best regional specialists on Islam and the Arab world and their experience and knowledge is of exceptional value for the understanding of complex issues, related to the conflicts in Middle East and with international terrorism. IMIR’s outstanding achievements in this field were recognized long ago. The landmark work in the field are eight volumes of IMIR’s series The Fate of Muslim Communities in the Balkans. The books from this series are in great demand among the students, academics, researchers, etc. The current tensions in the relations between Christians and Muslims have made our specialists some of the most sought after experts in the country and their opinion is demanded both by politicians and the media. IMIR is producing some of the most precise forecasts for possible inter-ethnic and religious tensions on the Balkans and studies on the state of the Muslim communities in the region.
In recent years, IMIR has conducted extensive research of emigration patterns of Bulgarian citizens, especially those of minority ethnic origin. IMIR is also studying the communities of immigrants, settling permanently in Bulgaria (Arabs, Kurds, Chinese, Vietnamese, and nationals of various African countries). The Center has also started a research on trafficking of women and children from, through and to Southeast European countries.
BALKAN TENSION ZONES
IMIR will continue with its fieldwork and researches in those parts of the Balkan peninsula, characterized by inter-ethnic and religious tensions. Thus IMIR will try to live up to its reputation as an organization, producing the best research, analyses and policy recommendations in regard with the potential and actual conflict zones in the Balkans.
EDUCATION OF MINORITY COMMUNITIES / MULTI-CULTURAL EDUCATION
IMIR’s work in the sphere of education has lead to the breaking up of conservatism and prejudices and helped the establishment of a new, growing and increasingly vocal intellectual elite within the minority communities. Bulgarian government is looking more and more often to IMIR and other NGOs for advice and experience in dealing with the reintegration of minorities into the education system. IMIR’s successful work with the education of children and youth from Turkish and Bulgarian Muslim communities could and should be developed and adapted to the needs of the Roma community, where the issue of education is the most critical. IMIR’s long-term work with the Roma community is of exceptional importance for the efforts for the full integration of Roma into the Bulgarian society. IMIR has conducted a number of studies on topics like employment and education problems of Roma in Bulgaria, which served for the preparation of relevant government’s policies.
IMIR plans to develop and improve on its publishing activity. Due to the limited funds, IMIR’s books, which are usually based on the research conducted by the Center, were usually printed in small circulation and only in Bulgarian language, which seriously limited the distribution outside the country. IMIR is currently working on several possibilities for obtaining additional funding for translation, which would significantly increase the effect of IMIR’s work abroad.