The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities: A Changemaker on the Ground


  • Stefan Wolff University of Birmingham



integration, national minorities, High Commissioner on National Minorities, OSCE, conflict prevention, mediation, capacity building


Established in 1992, the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe has made significant contributions to conflict prevention and management in multi-ethnic societies. In this article, I trace how, over the three decades of its existence, the institution has adopted the notion of “integration with respect for diversity” as the guiding principle of its work. I demonstrate that successive High Commissioners have relied on three main tools in their efforts – mediation and facilitation, advising on legislation and policy making, and capacity building – and illustrate this approach with examples from across the OSCE area before providing two detailed case studies of how the institution has supported Kyrgyzstan and Moldova in the development of their respective national integration strategies. I conclude that the sustainability of positive change that follows from the engagement of the High Commissioner depends significantly on the institution’s ability to build local capacity to manage the process of integration with respect for diversity in the long term and with a wide range of national and international governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.




How to Cite

Wolff, S. (2023). The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities: A Changemaker on the Ground. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 22(2), 86–119.