Leading Roma representative Ján Cibuľa passes away
Leading Roma representative MUDr. Ján Cibuľa passed away on Sunday, 18 August after a difficult illness in the Swiss town of Bern. A niece of the deceased informed the TASR press agency of his death.
Ján Cibuľa was a physician, a co-founder and president of the International Romani Union, and a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. He was born on 7 January 1932 in the town of Klenovce in Slovakia (Czechoslovakia).
Ján Cibuľa began working to improve the position of Roma people during the start of his career in Slovakia (Czechoslovakia), where he graduated in 1957 from the Medical Faculty of Komenský University in Bratislava. In 1968 he was a co-founder of the Union of Gypsies-Roma (Svaz Cikánů-Romů) in Slovakia (Czechoslovakia).
In 1968 Ján Cibuľa left the former Czechoslovakia and took up residence in Switzerland. He worked as a member of the parliament of Roma organizations that prepared the creation of the International Romani Union (IRU) in 1971.
In 1978 Ján Cibuľa became the president of the IRU. He had been one of the initiators of the meeting on 8 April 1971 in London (Great Britain) where participants first publicly rejected the name "Gypsy", given to them by majority societies throughout the world, and declared their adoption of the name "Roma".
That meeting also saw the adoption of the international Roma flag. 8 April later became International Romani Day.
In 1985 Ján Cibuľa was awarded the Swiss Prize for Culture by the canton of Bern. In 2001 the Association of Czech-Slovak Roma in Canada proposed Ján Cibuľa for the Nobel Peace Prize. The TASR agency reports he was also a gifted violinist.
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