Zuzana Kumanová becomes the first Romani woman ever appointed to high office in Slovakia
Zuzana Kumanová has been appointed State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. She is replacing Vladimír Dolinay, who recently died in a traffic accident.
Cabinet ministers approved Kumanová's appointment during the 45th cabinet session of the Government of the Slovak Republic. She was nominated by Slovak Culture Minister Natália Milanová (OĽaNO).
Kumanová has dedicated her academic work to the culture and history of Romani people. She has paid special attention to the history of the Holocaust and its Romani victims, and also she has been involved in activities to improve the position of Romani women.
"The corona crisis has altered our ideas about public policy. Artists, people working in culture and the creative industries are in a very bad situation. I am joining a team that is doing its best to find solutions and I hope that we will manage to alleviate the impacts of the corona crisis on this sector. Without culture there is no sophistication," she told news server Romea.cz when asked what she wants to focus on while in office.
"The subject of the culture of national minorities will be in my ministerial portfolio. I think I will manage to improve conditions for the conservation and development of minority culture. At the same time, I think that will benefit all of society and result in our mutual enrichment," she said.
In Slovakia, State Secretaries are appointed and dismissed by the Government of the Slovak Republic on the basis of motions by the relevant ministers. A State Secretary represents a minister when the minister is absent and is empowered to give advice during cabinet sessions.
Kumanová has been supported by the chair of the "For the People" (Za ludí) party, Veronika Remišová. "I am very pleased that Zuzka Kumanová of the Za ludí party was appointed to the function of State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture. I am convinced that her wealth of experience, directly from the field, as well as her ability to design and manage sophisticated projects, will be a benefit to the Culture Ministry during this difficult time. Zuzka, we wish you the best in this demanding mission!" the party chair said.
In the entire history of Slovakia, this is the first time any Romani person, whether a man or a woman, has been appointed to such a high state office. "Currently, as far as political participation of Romani people in Slovakia goes, the situation is quite favorable. We are represented in the European Parliament by Peter Pollák, the Plenipotentiary for the Romani Community is Andrea Bučková, we have three MPs in the National Assembly of the Slovak Republic, and we have more than 40 mayors, men and women," she commented for news server Romea.cz.
To date, Kumanová has worked as an external consultant to the Slovak Ministry of Investments and Informatization and as an external consultant to the Implementing Agency of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and the Family. In the past she also worked at the Office of the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for the support of less-developed regions, as well as for the Office of the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for National Minorities.
For her exceptional contribution to the social development of the Republic of Slovakia in the area of ethnography and history, Kumanová was awarded the Pribin Cross First Class, a state honor, in 2019. She has long worked in the nonprofit sector.
The new State Secretary is also known for her work in the civic association In Minorita, where she led several programs for improving the position of Romani women, and for the project "Ma bisteren!", dedicated to the Holocaust and its Romani victims. For her contribution to revealing the tragic events of the Holocaust and its Romani victims she was given the Lúč z tmy ("Light from the Darkness") award in 2018 by the civic association eduRoma and the Institute for Romani Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Care, University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra.
Kumanová is the author of several publications and studies about the Romani minority. She graduated from the Department of Ethnology and History, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava.
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