By a decision of its Senate, the Central European University (CEU) launched a Romani Studies Program on August 1, 2017, in cooperation with the Open Society Foundationsʼ Roma Initiatives Office (RIO), the Roma Education Fund (REF), the Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Velux Foundations.
Encompassing the Roma Graduate Preparation Program (RGPP) and Roma in European Societies (RES) initiative, the Romani Studies Program offers courses to its own non-degree students and to CEU students in other academic units from the fall of 2017, a press release sent to Budapest Business Journal notes.
CEU’s experience in this area extends over more than a decade. In 2004, the university initiated its preparatory Roma Access Program (RAP) to facilitate Roma students transitioning from undergraduate to English-language graduate studies. In 2012, the RAP program was renamed the Roma Graduate Preparation Program (RGPP).
The RGPP is an intensive, 10-month, non-degree program that prepares Roma students holding bachelor’s degrees to compete for graduate degree programs at top universities worldwide. It offers a comprehensive educational package in English to participating students, including academic writing, an identity and leadership component, as well as academic tutoring and mentoring. RGPP aims to help develop the human resources able to lead institutions, ideas and people to promote social justice and change in society.
The RGPP has enrolled around 200 Roma individuals since its inception. More than 70% of them were accepted into prestigious graduate programs with competitive scholarships.
The first of its kind in higher education, the Roma in European Societies (RES) initiative was launched in March 2016, to improve the situation of Roma in all sectors at local, national, and regional levels through teaching and research, leadership development, and community outreach. RES programs are supported by the Open Society Foundationsʼ Roma Initiatives Office (RIO), the Roma Education Fund (REF) and the Velux Foundations.
In August 2016, following an open competition, longtime activists and Roma scholars Iulius Rostas and Angela Kocze were named Chair/Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor, respectively, of the RES initiative. In the academic year 2017-18, they will teach a total of 18 credits in the Romani Studies Program.