Minorities are threatened with extinction, whether by ethnocide, by voluntary assimilation into a dominant culture, or by gradual suppression of the minority culture.
Threatened minorities include tribes, religious sects, ideological groups or movements and powerless small nations, which latter may be threatened with economic or political domination from outside and may even be absorbed by a powerful neighbour. Ideological groups are mainly threatened by police activity or internment, while religious sects and tribes may be as much threatened by the influence of the dominant culture as by any of its actions. In organizations, dissenters (collectively or individually) may be removed, relegated to marginal functions, downgraded, harassed, or made the subject of brain-washing, peer-pressure or other techniques. The organization may attempt to silence conscience in the case of those members with cultural and moral values differing from those accepted as the norm.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.