Open Society Foundations pledges to invest in new European Roma Foundation for 2023
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) has announced its commitment to creating and investing into a new, Europewide, independent Roma foundation. Under the direction of Zeljko Jovanovic, the current director of the Open Society's Roma Initiatives Office, the new foundation plans to become the biggest European foundation for Roma.
For a 10-year period, OSF will provide funding to the new foundation, which will continue the work of the OSF's programming on Roma so far. “I am proud to announce on International Roma Resistance Day that we are taking our long-term commitment to Roma to the next level,” said George Soros, founder and chair of the Open Society Foundations, on 16 May.
“We will help to build a European Foundation led by Roma. This is a crucial next step in our investment in Roma leaders who are proud of their origin, dedicated to their communities, and able to respond to the challenges of our time. Our support for Roma is one of my Foundations’ activities that I am proudest of. We will seek to ensure the success of this foundation. I hope this promising effort will be supported by those who believe in a Europe of equality and justice for all,” Soros said.
For 30 years, OSF has been the initiative leading in the NGO sector on supporting the fight for the equality and political engagement of the community of Europe's Romani people, who number 12 million. “We have been dreaming, hoping, and working hard towards this moment. After 30 years of the Roma programs within Open Society pioneering and developing Roma voices and leadership, now we are ready to build and lead a full-fledged foundation with a reach across various European countries,” said Jovanovic, adding that the aim is to build political participation by Roma and their self-organization on an unprecedented level so Roma voices will be heard and the ideas of equality and justice for all in Europe will have a powerful sponsor.
The new foundation should begin its work by October 2023. It will create and expand a network of European initiatives on Roma with the active support of the OSF and many other funders such as the Roma Education Fund, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, the Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative and national-level movements of Roma such as Aresel in Romania, Opre Roma in Serbia, Kethane in Italy, the Roma Standing Conference in Bulgaria, Avaja in North Macedonia, and others.
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