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Roma, Europe, and the Mission of Open Society

People in a large meeting room
For more than three decades, Open Society has proudly supported Europe’s Roma in their struggle for recognition, equal opportunities, and political empowerment. © Ziyah Gafic for the Open Society Foundations

For more than 30 years, the Open Society Foundations and their partners have focused on improving Roma’s access to education and promoting a positive vision of Roma identity.

There is still, of course, much left to be done. But the progress made so far—from the emergence of a new generation of Roma university graduates to the growing recognition of the unique contribution of Roma artists and thinkers to mainstream culture—has had a transformative effect on countless people’s lives and sense of self-worth.

Today, through Open Society’s Roma Initiatives Office, that work continues. In addition to building upon the decades of hard work done already, Open Society’s Roma efforts will focus on supporting the nascent and pan-European movement to increase Roma participation in European civic life and electoral politics.

As Open Society President Patrick Gaspard says in this video, our work on Roma “is central to our mission of trying to promote just societies that have meaningful representation.” No society can truly be open so long as its Roma members are pushed into the shadows.

Every day, however, more European Roma are bringing themselves—and their communities—into the light.

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