Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roma Rights in Kosovo

In about a week I go to Kosovo to complete my MA in International Affairs, where I'll be working with the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society on Roma rights. The more formal name for their mission is the Government Implementation for Integration of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian Communities.

I first became interested in Roma rights in 2008 when I was planning a trip to Slovakia. The guidebook mentioned Roma numerous times, and I am convinced I saw them as I drove through the countryside. In August 2009, reported that Madonna was booed in Romania for calling out her fans over their discrimination of the Romani people. The clip can be viewed on youTube, where doesn't receive full support from her fans. Later in 2009, motivated by the Madonna clip and by my trip to Slovakia, I did a research paper on the issue for school, leveraging the ERRC and other European sources, specifically the OSCE.

Today I came across this article on, about a Roma woman in Kosovo fighting for Roma rights. I've since tried to reach out to her through facebook in the hopes of meeting with her once I arrive in Pristina. My vision for what I would like to do in Kosovo is a big one.  I'm a strategic thinker, someone who likes to make a big splash and see outcomes from my work. My hope is if she'll meet with me, she can provide some guidance on whether or not I can make happen what I would like to make happen there. It would be tough for sure, being there for only eight weeks, but I am going in determined and optimistic.

The plight of Europe's Roma population is one of great interest to me and something I can see working on as a career. Fighting to help people rise out of poverty, gain access to health care and education; and their right to live as people among people, is a noble cause. It's one I hope to be a part of as I make my way through the final six credits of this degree and hopefully begin a new, fulfilling career in the international affairs/social justice field.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what intense and purposeful goals!
    I am in the middle of reading "Bury me Standing" and I am bowled over by the first-hand account of the Roma and their culture as well as the way the surrounding communities regarded & treated them (primarily in Albania) during the 90's. I am awaiting Staging for my PC service in Macedonia, so I am planning my next book to be "The Ghosts of the Balkans."
    I hope that you continue your blog as you go through COS and on to complete your Masters degree. You have an interesting, challenging and very important career ahead.
    Best wishes in everything ahead.