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Ten Years After

A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe

Edited by Iulius Rostas

Iulius Rostas is former director of the Roma programs of the Open Society Institute and worked previously as International Advocacy Coordinator with the European Roma Rights Centre and as an expert for the Government of Romania—Department for Protection of National Minorities. He advocated for Roma school desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe and provided technical assistance and capacity building to NGOs and governments in the region. Currently he is a freelance researcher and consultant for the Roma Education Fund and Open Society Foundations—Public Health Program.

Roma rights have emerged on the political agenda of Eastern Europe. School segregation is one of the hottest issues. Each country has developed its own approach, with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania being more visible in the desegregation process.
The volume presents the results collated in the frames of the fact finding project led by the editor. The analysis includes the examination of a large number of legal documents and policy statements issued by national authorities and the international community on the matter. A critical overview is also made about the various Roma-specific political campaigns on national and European scale. The second half of the book contains interviews with activists that assumed a leading role in school desegregation. These testimony pieces have been critically reviewed by educational and policy analysts from the concerned countries.


Foreword; Acknowledgements; About the Roma Education Fund; Introduction; PART I
CHAPTER ONE Institutional Responses to Segregation: The Role of Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations; CHAPTER TWO Setting the Roma Policy Agenda: The Role of International Organizations in Combating School Desegregation; CHAPTER THREE Judicial Policy Making: The Role of the Courts in Promoting School Desegregation; PART II Bulgaria – Interview with Rumyan Russinov; Bulgaria – Policy review by Krassimir Kanev; Czech Republic – Interview with Ivan Veseley; Czech Republic – Policy review by Gwendolyn Albert; Hungary – Interview with Viktoria Mohacsi; Hungary – Policy review by Orsolya Szendrey; Romania – Interview with Costel Bercus; Romania – Policy review by Florin Moisa
Slovakia – Interview with Klara Orgovanova; Slovakia – Policy Review by Miroslava Hapalova and Martina Kubanova; PART III Conclusion; List of Contributors; Index

"The first thing to cross the mind of an American lawyer who encounters discrimination against Roma is that it must be like Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement all over again. But upon getting into civil rights conflict under European law, Americans quickly discover major differences in procedure (e.g., no class actions, no injunctions), the extent to which civil rights law substance has developed, social and  political environments, expectations and attitudes of plaintiffs and defendants, and what lawyers actually accomplish. This book has much to teach on both continents.”
Jack Greenberg , Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Professor of Law, Columbia University

"Ten Years After is a comprehensive assessment of progress to date in ending school segregation in Europe and a wake up call that more effort, resources and political leadership are required if the promise of equal justice for all children is to be redeemed.”
James Goldston , Executive Director, Open Society Justice Initiative

"Ten Years After examines the social processes and governmental policies which have an impact on the development of the Roma communities. Beyond the discussion of the specific topic of school desegregation, the variety of views presented in the book provide an unambiguous answer to the question what should be the leading approach of the various policies and projects directed towards Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, in order to avoid their treatment as marginalised or as exotic community. The process of school desegregation epitomises the choices that Roma make within the larger societies. Understanding these choices is critical for the social emancipation of Roma and for their equal citizenship in the European societies. The book is an invaluable contribution to contemporary Romani studies and will be of interest for wide audience of scholars and policy makers.”
Elena Marushiakova (Associate Professor) and Veselin Popov (Associate Professor), Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies and Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

"As the book makes abundantly clear, school desegregation is no less necessary and no less difficult now than in the 1990s when the problem was first addressed... For me the most valuable part of the book are the interviews with practitioners of desegregation in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The “10 years” of the title alludes to the start of the first serious school desegregation program in these countries, in Vidin, Bulgaria. Like most, if not all other desegregation initiatives, this one would not have happened had not a Romani rights group proposed and run it." --Ky Krauthamer, Transitions Online

392 pages, cloth
ISBN 978-615-5053-13-9
$60.00 /€52.00 / £40.00