October 18, 2011
Franke Institute for the Humanities
1100 E 57th St
The Roma of Eastern Europe have undergone seismic social changes in the last twenty years, brought on by the political changes of 1989 and the admission of most Eastern European countries into the European Union. The advent of democracy has allowed for the Roma community to develop politically and to raise its profile culturally, but for many Roma, this period has been disastrous: the end of state socialism has meant both the withdrawal of a robust social safety net and the end of the limitations on free speech and rigidly enforced state monopoly on violence that hid racial tensions under a veil of oppression. Meanwhile, state policies discriminating against Roma in law enforcement and education persist in both Eastern and Western Europe.
This presentation introduces these issues first through a brief survey of the history of European Roma, with an emphasis on the changes in the socialist and post-socialist periods. Personal histories from Hungary, particularly from the families of the presenters, will be used to illustrate broader trends. This is followed by a discussion of the role of IGOs, namely the EU, and NGOs like the Decade of Roma Inclusion project. Finally, the educational situation of Roma in Hungary both as a locus of problems and a laboratory of potential solutions is analyzed in detail.
Daroczi Gabor, Director of Romaversitas, will be presenting.