3 day event on legacy of 1971 congress

April 5-7, 2021

The Social, Cultural, and Political Legacy of the 1971 World Roma Congress event-series is organized by the Roma Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University (Boston); the Romani Studies Program, Central European University (Budapest/ Vienna); and the Department of Romani Studies, Södertörn University (Stockholm).

Each year, for more than two decades, on April 8, Romani people across the world celebrate Roma National Day. Some have turned this anniversary into a one-day opportunity to discuss their rich heritage, through concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, conferences, and media events. Others, including activists and academics, have marked the Roma National Day by organizing remembrance events to take stock of continuing persecution and stigmatization, but also of progress in social, political and economic fields. This year, on April 8, we mark the 50th anniversary of the First World Roma Congress. This is an important moment to reflect back on the recent history of Romani people as well as contemporary obstacles and threats as well as opportunities for Roma justice and dignity.

5 April, 3-5pm Central European Time (2-4pm BST)

The legacy of the First World Roma Congress in Nordic Countries
Department of Romani Studies at Södertörn University

This panel includes two celebrations of the Roma National Day from two Nordic contexts. The small community of Norwegian Roma in Oslo have focused on communicating their culture and tradition to the general public. The large community of Arli in Norrköping, Sweden combine their celebration of their Roma identity with political awareness making.

6 April, 3-5pm Central European Time (9-11am EST)
Visions of Roma emancipation: 1971-2021
Romani Studies Program and Roma Students Association at Central European University

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the First World Roma Congress, the Roma Students Association of Central European University in collaboration with the Romani Studies Program at CEU reflects on its legacy and relevance for present day struggles for recognition and equality. The event includes short videos on the key symbols of Roma nation: the name, flag, and anthem; the launch of an online interactive exhibition; an interview with Grattan Puxon, one of the key organizers of the First World Roma Congress; and a roundtable discussion on history, self-determination and the use of digital technologies.


7 April, 3-5pm Central European Time (9-11am EST)

The Place of Roma in the Global Struggles for Liberation and Anti-Racism

Roma Program at the FXB Center at Harvard University

The experiences, struggles, and literature for liberation and anti-racism find many parallels across the world. From historical state-sponsored injustices to a continuum of structural inequalities, racialized and colonized peoples have been victims of systems of unjust dogmas, policies, laws, and societies. Yet, social movements and scholarships continue to isolate their struggles, failing to experience the power of the global. In the past few years, the Roma Program at Harvard University and the Romani Studies Program at CEU have organized solidarity events to harness reciprocal support, learning, and cooperation among scholars and activists, including intersectional feminists, from different geographies and social movements. The Place of Roma in the Global Struggles for Liberations and Anti-Racism panel builds on that work, focusing on a connection of struggles, political tactics, and paths on how to build momentum for a joint global solidarity movement against oppression.

Organizers:
Department of Romani Studies at Södertörn University
Roma Program of the FXB Center at Harvard University
Romani Studies Program Program at Central European University
Roma Students Association at Central European University
Media partner: 
TV Baxtale
Please register here: 
https://forms.office.com/r/gimhaCgQdw
Registration deadline: April 2.
The event will be live-streamed at:
https://www.facebook.com/CEURomaniStudiesProgram
Facebook event: 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1089506324851005
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Jubilee message from Vice President of the International Romani Union

Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia Montoya is President of Spanish Unión Romaní and Vice President of the International Romani Union

You can hear this message in the voice of Juan de Dios Ramírez-Herediaby clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/B4jMs07MmGE

In 1971 the “Iron Curtain” and the “Berlin Wall” seemed impregnable walls

April 8 was declared International Roma Day at the first World Romani Congress. Now it is celebrated around the world.

    On April 8, the Romani people go to the riverbanks to throw flowers into the river. It is the symbol of freedom, crossing borders, and the Earth as a shared place for all the people. 

       After that, we leave floating lights on the still waters of the river to remember our ancestors. We never forget the half-million Romani people who died in concentration camps under the Nazi regime after World War II. 

      We are living hard times. Our people are still being prosecuted, also in democratic countries. Some of them arrive in Europe fleeing from hunger and misery with the hope of a better life, but they are expelled. We must raise our voices to demand a more tolerant society and we have to ask our governments to show solidarity. We cannot lose hope. 

      On April 8, we must go out onto the street with a smile and we have to offer our hand to whoever wants to shake it. If people want to listen to us, we have to tell them who we are. Our people have nothing to do with what is portrayed in some mass media. 

     On April 8, we should feel proud of belonging to a great community. We are more than fourteen million people around the world. Fourteen million human beings with a common history, with a common language, with a largely shared culture, and with the desire to continue being Romani of the 21st century.

At the London Congress, a dream came true

      Fifty years have passed since on April 8, 1971, a group of Romani people from 28 different countries met in London to talk about our aspirations at that moment and to think about our futures. This was a unique event, absolutely unthinkable for many of the people who attended the Congress. It was in London where we discovered that we wanted to be the architects of our future and the administrators of our freedom. 

      There were only Romani people, in the London Congress. Most of them came from former communist countries. We should not forget that three-fourths of the European Romani population came from Russia and its satellite states. That is why we were very interested in what the people who came from those countries could tell us. In 1971 the “Iron Curtain” and the “Berlin Wall” seemed impregnable walls.

Great achievements of the London Congress

      Those of us who were lucky enough to participate in that meeting agreed we should have a flag to represent us. And we approved it: it is blue and green. We also wanted a universal hymn to sing during our celebrations. Jarko Jovanovich composed it with his balalaika. In 1978 we were recognized by the United Nations. We thought we should create an academic institution to work on the normalization and standardization of our language, Romano. It happened thanks to René Descartes University in Paris and Marcel Courthiade, may God have him in his glory. Finally, we created the International Romani Union. The goal was clear: to culminate a political project and to represent the Romani people around the world. 

Names for History

      The first of all is Vanko Rouda, founder of the International Gypsy Committee. Also, his brother Leula and Grattan Puxon, the General Secretary of the London Congress. They were the soul of the Congress. Slobodan Berbeski was the president of the Congress and Dr. Jan Cibula was elected the first president of the International Romani Union. Jarko Jovanovich, composer of Gelem, Gelen and Raya Rudikova, a Romani girl form Russia. The list is very long. 

Meanwhile, in Spain

      In 2017, on March 10, the Congress of Deputies urged the Government to officially declare April 8 as the International Roma Day, as well as to recognize the blue and green flag with a red 16-spoke wheel and the Gelem Gelem as our anthem. “The purpose was to use those symbols in commemorations, acts and institutional events related to the Romani People.”

      On April 6, 2018, the Council of Ministers of Spain approved the recognition of April 8 as the International Roma Day, as it has been done in the past in the Council of Europe and different countries. The Plenum of the Senate of Spain joined this celebration through a solemn institutional declaration.

      The Unión Romaní calls on all citizens to join us on this important and relevant date.

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Fully-funded foundation year at Cambridge

The University of Cambridge’s Foundation Year Programme offers a fully-funded, year-long, residential programme, targeted at students who have experienced a range of educational disadvantages or disruptions.

The academic entry requirement is 120 UCAS points. This is equivalent to BBB at A-Level, but allows for easy equivalence of a wide range of Level 3 qualifications, and for fair consideration of combinations of qualifications such as BTECs and A-Levels.

The new Foundation Year will admit its first class of students in October 2022. Interested students will apply directly to the Foundation Year via UCAS by the January 2022 deadline for study beginning in October 2022. You can find out more here: www.cam.ac.uk/foundationyear.

Students admitted to the Foundation Year will also receive a full scholarship to cover rent and other living costs.

On the Foundation Year, students can expect a challenging academic curriculum in the arts, humanities and social sciences. This offers the best possible preparation for the rigours of a Cambridge degree by broadening and deepening knowledge and understanding as well as introducing the ways students learn at Cambridge.

Students admitted onto the Foundation Year will become part of a College community; they will live alongside other undergraduates and have full access to all the University’s societies and facilities. Their learning will be supported by lectures, seminars and supervisions.

An important aspect of the programme is to provide a new pathway to a Cambridge degree for students who have experienced disadvantage and disruption during their education. Therefore, from an early stage in the Foundation Year’s academic programme, senior academic staff in Colleges will be providing students with advice and support regarding their degree subject choice.

All Foundation Year students who complete the programme with a Pass or above will receive a recognised Level 4 CertHE qualification from the University of Cambridge, which will enable them to access a wide range of undergraduate level courses. Those attaining at 65% or higher will be able – should they wish to do so – to progress straight through to a full undergraduate degree at Cambridge in one of eighteen courses in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

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World Roma Congress Jubilee website opens

Every place, there is Roma, there is Romanistan.

Slobodan Berberski, president of the First World Roma Congress in 1971,

https://youtu.be/ETO1tEc46wI

From the 8th April 2021 the online congress to mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Romani Congress will be stretched over a month starting in London and moving to Berlin joining cities as far apart as Belgrade and Buenos Aires, activists from Barcelona to Bangalore, in India

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

On 8th April 1971, the World Romani Congress founding event was held in London. It was a crucial point in the history of Romani people and is now seen as the beginning of the worldwide Romani emancipation movement. It started a political fight for equality, mobilised through Romani organisations, and the unifying flag and anthem. 

This year to mark the jubilee anniversary you are invited to join a series of diverse online events that will offer the opportunity to connect communities across the globe to celebrate Romani history and culture but also critically reflect on the ongoing challenges that are still faced by Romani people worldwide

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

At a time of rising far-right extremism and anti-gypsyism it is hoped that this anniversary year will bring Romani people and our allies around the world closer together, to create a common purpose, celebrate achievements, and build a stronger collective voice.

Grattan Puxon, one of the co-organisers of the First World Romani Congress
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