Conference program and registration (31 May)

The conference explores how local, national, and European organizations can promote greater involvement of Roma persons and communities in decisions and policies affecting their lives. Particular attention is paid to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, the local implementation of national strategies, and concrete examples of empowerment. In the framework of the conference high level policy-makers, senior scholars, and prominent Roma activists and intellectuals engage a broader audience.

In the last two decades a complex network of organizations emerged specialised in the so-called “Roma issue”, comprising non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, expert bodies, foundations, activists, and politicians. These actors have managed to raise the attention of international organizations and national governments to the plight of Roma; however, the social status of Roma has not improved significantly, with a large proportion of them sill living at the margins of society.

The event seeks to explore how to go beyond exerting external pressure on governments in order to overcome the historical marginalization of Roma and to facilitate their substantive participation and empowerment. In what ways could Roma participate in policies affecting their lives beyond taking part in limited forms of political consultations? What are the preconditions for the emergence of a strong and autonomous Roma civil society? How could large NGOs reach Roma communities at the ‘grassroots’? How to combine the struggle against discrimination, the promotion of democratic solidarity, and the reinforcement of an open Roma culture that allows for multiple identities? What lessons can be learnt from the experiences of Roma self-governments and ethnic political parties? How could universities, churches, companies, and media empower Roma?

Venue: Corvinus University Budapest, Közraktár utca 4-6. (the new building of the university), room VII.

Date: 31 May 2013

Supporting organizations: Corvinus University of Budapest, University of Bristol, Roma Education Fund, Roma Research and Empowerment Network

Preliminary program:

9.30 -11.15 Opening Session

  • Welcome by Zoltán Szántó, Vice Rector of Corvinus University Budapest

The lessons of the EU’s involvement in the social inclusion of Roma :

  • László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
  • Costel Bercus, Chair of the Board of Roma Education Fund
  • Ágnes Daróczi, Phralipe Association
  • Will Guy, University of Bristol
  • Zeljko Jovanovic, director of Open Society Foundation’s Roma Initiatives Office
  • chair: Andrew Ryder, Corvinus University

11.15 – 11.45 Coffee break and press conference (room C107)

11.45 – 13.00 Civil society assessment of the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies

  • Márton Rövid, Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation (introduction)
  • Gábor Daróczi and Nóra Teller presenting the Hungarian civil society monitoring report
  • Iulius Rostas and Iulian Stoian presenting the Romanian civil society monitoring report

13.00-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30 Roma political participation, empowerment, and emancipation (roundtable discussion)

  • Thomas Acton, University of Greenwich
  • Martin Kovats, advisor to European Commission
  • János Ladányi, Corvinus University of Budapest
  • Nadir Redzepi, Open Society Foundation’s Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma program
  • Sean Risdale, People of the Road
  • Marius Taba, Roma Education Fund
  • chair: Iulius Rostas, Corvinus University, Babes-Bolyai University

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.30 The empowerment of Roma women (roundtable discussion)

  • Pauline Anderson, Sheffield Council/Irish Traveller Movement in Britain
  • Sarah Cemlyn, University of Bristol
  • Margaret Greenfields, Buckinghamshire New University
  • Gopalakrishnan Karunanithi, Associate Dean VIT University, Tamilnadu, India
  • Manjola Veizi, Roma Women Rights Center (Albania)
  • chair: Crina Marina Morteanu, ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration

17.30-18.30 Farewell reception

  •  Concluding remarks by Ann Singleton, University of Bristol

Registration: please register by 24 May on this site: http://bit.ly/133dzR1

Contact: romaempowerment@gmail.com