OSCE Conference - Side Events
The side events for the OSCE Conference on Roma and Sinti
Issues were like a breath of fresh air compared to the serious agenda
of the Conference itself, with its many workshops and round tables.
Their diversity and dynamism stood out and many participating guests
would have liked to attend them but time was too short.
Traditional gowns and other cultural offerings
Tuesday, 12 september 2001
Princess Luminita Cioaba, leader of the Roma Social-Cultural Foundation
"Ion Cioaba", in Sibiu, presented the OSCE Conference an exhibition
of Roma traditional costumes, copper objects and books written in Romani
The feminine traditional gowns, full of colour, are made from fabrics
which are more than 100 years old. Nowadays similar gowns may be found
only in the Punjab, Northern India.
On the same occasion, Luminita Cioaba launched a "Romanian-Romani
Conversation Guide", and two volumes of poetry.
Source: Roma News
Some side events were scheduled every hour and others ran right through
the Conference, such as the Phoenix Art Exhibit with its many paintings
and live painters. Many NGOs such as The European Roma Rights Center
and the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center insisted on launching
their new books at the Conference in order to gain exposure from the
300 delegates from all over Europe.
Writers, such as Professor Will Guy from the University of Hertfordshire,
with his book Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern
Europe, were able to meet with university students and anthropologists
who had read his book and wanted to discuss it with him. In that sense,
the side events provided a platform for the participants to broaden
their contacts and their horizons. They were also open to the media
and several stories were published in the Romanian press as a result.
Between past and the future - The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe
September 11th 2001
Will Guy - Sociology Professor at the Bristol University - launched
his book Between past and future - the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe
at the Marriott Hotel, in Bucharest, location of the OSCE Roma conference.
As the title suggests, the book is focused on the situation of the
Roma in Central and Eastern Europe in this period of transition. It
analyses how the Roma became political and economic victims of the communist
The main themes of the book are: the history of the Roma; the experiences
that the Roma had in the communist period in all the countries of the
region; and the situation of Roma refugees. The book also offers a critical
perspective of the NGOs and the field researchers concerned with the
Roma situation. Also, the author presents the World Roma Congress held
in Prague in July 2000. Nicolae Gheorghe, Thomas Acton, Tracy Koci and
others gave their contribution to this book.
Source : Roma News
The Roma - India Task Force Meeting brought together businessmen from
New Delhi, coming especially for the event, with local Romani representatives.
They talked about the ties between the Roma and their historic homeland
India and the means by which they could help establish and strengthen
Roma India Task Force
Back to the Roots
Tuesday, 12 september 2001
On the 2nd day of the OSCE conference Equal Opportunities for Roma and
Sinti- Translating words into facts, the working group "Roma people
and India - back to the roots" was opened by Nicolae Gheorghe,
ODIHR/ OSCE Adviser on Roma and Sinti, with the proposal that the meeting
continues the New Delhi international conference held between 8- 14th
of April this year.
In his speech Roma people and India, Nicolae Gheorghe proposed improved
relations between the Indian Government and Roma organizations from
Europe and Balkans. The OSCE adviser said that the Roma situation is
particularly tragic in the Balkan region, considering the wars which
took place the former Yugoslavia, and that many Roma people were victims.
Nicolae Gheorghe discussed the linguistic connections and the cultural
links binding Roma, Sinti and Indians and encouraged the Indian Government
to consider the possibility of offering scholarships to Roma students.
In the same time, he asked for political support at an international
level for the Indian Executive to recognize Roma and Sinti and to grant
them legal rights.
Another issue of the debate was the collaboration between Roma and
Indian organizations from all around the world in order to develop common
The OSCE adviser on Roma and Sinti closed his speech encouraging Roma
solidarity and underlining the importance of involving Roma politicians
and intellectuals in integration programs.
Source: Roma News
The effervescence was such that some side events were initiated spontaneously
by the participants themselves, such as the Roma in Bilateral and Multilateral
Agreements & the Council of Europe meeting. Some events, such as
the Roma from Transnistria Meeting were very intense and presented pictures
and exclusive material that some participants were seeing for the first
The Debriefing on Debates on Roma at the United Nations Conference
against Racism and Xenophobia in Durban, South Africa meeting succeeded
in sharing information about the Durban conference for those who could
not attend it. This event was one of the most successful one in terms
Each one of the side events was a success in itself; each was a unique
presentation providing a meeting ground for the participants to broaden
their horizons and stimulate their creativity in order to find solutions
to the challenging issues the Romani people face today.
This comment was written by Katja Lee Eliade, a volunteer who organised
the logistics of the Side Events at the OSCE conference. Most of the
Side Events were conceived by Nicolae Gheorghe and facilitated by Romani
CRISS, to whom a big thanks is due. For any more details, please contact
Romani CRISS at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01 231 4144