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About MAR

Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

About MAR

Overview | Project Staff | Advisory Board


MAR tracks 284 politically-active ethnic groups throughout the world from 1945 to the present -- identifying where they are, what they do, and what happens to them. MAR focuses specifically on ethnopolitical groups, non-state communal groups that have "political significance" in the contemporary world because of their status and political actions. Political significance is determined by the following two criteria:

  • The group collectively suffers, or benefits from, systematic discriminatory treatment vis-a-vis other groups in a society
  • The group is the basis for political mobilization and collective action in defense or promotion of its self-defined interests

Review additional criteria for defining a "Minority at Risk."

The MAR project was initiated by Ted Robert Gurr in 1986 and has been based at the University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) since 1988.

The project has developed over four distinct phases:

  • Phase I covered 227 communal groups which met the criteria for classification as a minority at risk for the years 1945-1990;
  • Phase II covered 275 groups from 1990-1996;
  • Phase III covered 275 groups from 1996-1999; and
  • Phase IV covered 284 groups from 1998-2003.

The last update was completed in February 2009 for the years 2004-2006.

In 2003, Jonathan Wilkenfeld assumed the position of Acting Project Director.

In 2005, the MAR project began a secondary data collection effort, focusing on organizations claiming to represent MAR groups. The Minorities at Risk Organization Behavior dataset currently covers organizations representing MAR groups in the Middle East and North Africa, covering the years 1980-2004. This data was released in September 2008.

Review additional criteria for selecting organizations into the MAROB dataset.

In 2014, the MAR project introduced the AMAR project in order to addresses selection bias issues identified in the MAR dataset. The AMAR project overcomes these concerns by: 1) introducing a new set of selection criteria for ethnic groups that is based on "social relevance" rather than discrimination or political mobilization; 2) using this criteria to generate a list of nearly 1,200 ethnic groups, over 900 of which are not in the MAR database; and 3) using this list to build a new dataset -- the AMAR database -- that combines a random, statistically weighted set of 74 new ethnic groups and the original MAR groups to create a more representative sample of the universe of socially relevant ethnic groups. The AMAR dataset will soon be publicly available.

Review additional criteria for selecting organizations into the AMAR dataset.


Project Staff

Jˇhanna Birnir Director
Ted Robert Gurr Founder
Agatha S. Hultquist Project Coordinator
Alexander Jonas Web Developer


Advisory Board Members

In 1999, the Minorities at Risk Project staff established a panel of interested scholars to provide oversight and advice on the project's future directions and help ensure its continuity. Current MAR Advisory Board members include:

Victor Asal SUNY-Albany (Rockefeller College)
Jˇhanna K. Birnir CIDCM (University of Maryland)
Mary Caprioli University of Minnesota-Duluth
Page Fortna Columbia University
Richard Garfield Columbia University
Ted Robert Gurr University of Maryland
John Ishiyama University of North Texas
Erin K. Jenne Central European University
Michael Johns Laurentian University at Georgian College
Stephen M. Saideman McGill University
Zeynep Taydas Clemson University
Monica Duffy Toft Harvard (Weatherhead Center for International Affairs)
Peter Trumbore Oakland University
Barbara Walter University of California, San Diego
Stefan Wolff University of Nottingham


© 2004 - 2024 • Minorities At Risk Project

Last Updated June 8, 2016