Emil Ščuka asks not to be considered for Roma Spirit Award in the Czech Republic
The Director of the International Conservatory and the Divadlo v Korunní theater in Prague, Emil Ščuka, has asked not to be considered for this year's Roma Spirit Award in the individual category. He has not said why.
Vojtěch Lavička, Deputy Director of the International Conservatory, has informed news server Romea.cz of the director's request. "JUDr. Emil Ščuka is asking to be removed from consideration as a finalist for the Roma Spirit award in the individual category for reasons that he will not be publicizing," Lavička said.
Ščuka was nominated for the award for activities through which he has inspired many Romani people and become a leading figure of the Romani elite. He brought the issue of Romani identity into the political discussion during the 1990s and successfully led that discussion.
At that time he was one of only a very few Romani people who had achieved higher education in the Czech Repulbic and he established the first education courses for Romani people during the 1990s and then established schools, thanks to which hundreds of Romani people acquired an education and work opportunities. He is also a founder of the International Conservatory Prague, which makes contributions of great cultural value.
The others nominated in the individual category are Prof. PhDr. Ctibor Nečas, DrSc., for his lifelong work to popularize Romani studies and his scholarship, and Čeněk Růžička for his persistent, tireless battle for the dignity of the memorial at Lety by Písek and his efforts to remove the pig farm from the site of the former so-called "Gypsy Concentration Camp" there, where he lost part of his own family. The award ceremony on 10 December 2016 at the Prague Crossroads venue will feature performances by Monika Bagárová, the Gipsy.cz band, Mário Bihári and the Bachtale Apsa group, Michal Pavlíček with Monika Načeva, and the traditional Romani dance ensemble TS Merci.
Romani musician Gejza Horváth, a nominee in the category of culture, published an open letter announcing he will not be performing at the ceremony and does not want to be considered for an award in the Czech Republic in the aftermath of the death of a young Romani man last week under circumstances that have yet to be fully officially explained. In response, Michael Kocáb, the former Czech Human Rights Minister who heads the Roma Spirit project in the Czech Republic, asked him publicly to reconsider and to take advantage of the opportunity to perform and send a message to the Czech Television audience.
The project is financially supported by Bader Philanthropies, the Czech Culture Ministry, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague. The main media partner of the project is Czech Television and news server Romea.cz is also a media partner.
The international award is organized in the Czech Republic by the Michael Kocáb Foundation in collaboration with the Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. NGO and the Museum of Romani Culture. This year the award ceremony is happening under the auspices of Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, Auxiliary Bishop of Prague Monsignor Václav Malý, and Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg.
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