were meetings in Kazan to consider the radically different nature of pressure for change in the Tartar Republic. Most recently, in September 2002, meetings were held in Sochi concentrating on the reconstruction of the Chechen educational system as a strategic first step in reestablishing conditions for peace and reconstruction in that most difficult and tragic setting.
The challenge of diverse ethnic tensions within Russia itself has eased since the breakup of the Soviet Union, but there remains a heterogeneous group of largely Muslim, deeply entrenched ethnic and linguistic enclaves that are quasinational in outlook and character. In all, they amount to about 20 percent of the gross population of the Russian Federation. The restive members of this group, with behavior ranging from periodic threat and tension to fairly continuous, lowlevel hostilities, were the subject of an earlier interacademy collaboration (reported on in Balancing and Sharing Political Power in Multiethnic Societies: Summary of a Workshop, 1993). The ground was well prepared, in other words, to ask to what extent endemic ethnic violence was a related, possibly contributory, and sometimes perhaps even initiatory element in full-scale terrorism, as the latter became a central focus of our common concern and work.
Our existing project originated in 2000 with a Russian Academy of Sciences initiative, which the U.S. National Academies readily joined. The war in Chechnya had recently resumed in all its destructive intensity, with pitiless interpersonal violence on both sides but without the hallmarks of the al Qaeda variety of terrorism. What constructive involvement, as a convening authority if nothing more, could the two academies working jointly bring to the many ongoing and incipient problems of this kind in Russia and neighboring areas? In the days before September 11, 2001, our undertaking had from the outset a broader, more comparative, less crisis- and countermeasure-oriented agenda than would have been the case if we were beginning today.
As already noted at the outset, the new international wave of Islamist terrorism cannot be regarded as a direct derivative of, let alone a synonym for, ethnic violence. There are complex and important differences between the two. Ethnic violence is not only more diverse and geographically widespread but much more accessible to serious study than terrorism. Much but not all of it has religious overtones, with Muslims roughly as often the victims as the perpetrators.
A number of questions arise in an environment where ethnic violence is prevalent, and the phenomenon of ethnic violence and later its relationship to terrorism, whether religiously or politically motivated, can be approached from different angles. The entire committee finds itself devoting enhanced attention to the relationship of education to the control and reduction of violence and now the recruitment of terrorists. Of special concern is the problem of demobilized irregular militias who, having missed years of formal education, find themselves unemployed, unemployable, and without prospects. Among further questions the committee has been persistently concerned with are the following: