Czech Republic: Roma Spirit 2016 announces final candidates
Two expert juries, one in Brno and one in Prague, have chosen the candidates for the Roma Spirit Award in the Czech Republic this year. Of a total of 216 nominations submitted by the public, 15 finalists have been chosen.
The jury members are:
Marta Smolíková (chair of the jury for Otevřená společnost, o.p.s.),
Jožka Baláž (SP Černý most, s.r.o.),
Monika Berkyová (self-employed),
Renáta Berkyová (journalist and Romani Studies scholar),
Karel Čada (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University),
Iveta Demeterová (Czech Radio),
Hana Frištenská (Czech Government Council for Non-State, Non-Profit Organizations),
Hedviga Hejduková (external co-worker of Otevřená společnost, o.p.s.),
Cyril Koky (Central Bohemian Regional Authority),
Iveta Kokyová (Tichý svět o.p.s.),
Mikuláš Vymětal (Evangelical clergyman).
The jury members for the category of Romani Culture are:
Jana Horváthová (chair of the jury, Museum of Romani Culture),
Jana Hejkrlíková (Museum of Romani Culture), Alica Sigmund Heráková (Museum of Romani Culture),
Pavel Oračko (Brno Philharmonic),
Helena Sadílková (Romano Džaniben journal),
Patrik Banga (blog iDNES.cz)
Miroslav Zima (Drom).
The main jury chose the following nominees for the final round:
In the category of Company/Firm/Employer: Albatros Media, a.s., Evangelical Academy - Higher Professional School and Secondary School of Social Work (Evangelicka akademie - Vyšší odborna škola sociální práce a střední odborná škola) and Social Enterprise Černý Most s.r.o (Sociální podnik Černý Most s.r.o.)
In the category of Individual: Professor Ctibor Nečas, JUDr. Emil Ščuka, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust, Čeněk Růžička.
In the category of Media: Cameraman and journalist František Bikár, reporter Richard Samko, journalist and translator Gwendolyn Albert.
In the category of Romani Culture, in collaboration with the Museum of Romani Culture: The Ara Art, z.s. organization, musician Olga Fečová, author Gejza Horváth.
The aim of the Roma Spirit project is to publicize and support the active efforts of all who contribute to improving conditions for Romani people in the Czech Republic. This award and its presentation of positive examples motivate others to get involved in activities that contribute to comprehensive, long-term solutions for questions concerning the Romani community and are an inspiration to all.
The author of the idea of the Roma Spirit award is Ms Lubomíra Slušná-Franz, president of the Association for Culture, Education and Communication (Asociácie pre kultúru, vzdelávanie a komunikáciu - ACEC), which realizes the project in Slovakia. The international event in the Czech Republic is organized by the Michael Kocáb Foundation in collaboration with Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. and the Museum of Romani Culture.
This year the award is being held under the auspices of Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, Auxiliary Bishop of Prague Monsignor Václav Malý and Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg. Pope Francis has sent his apostolic blessing to the 2016 Roma Spirit award in the Czech Republic and has promised to keep it in his prayers.
During the awards ceremony on 10 December 2016 at the Prague Crossroads there will be performances by Monika Bagárová, the band Gipsy.cz, Gejza Horváth, Mária Bihári and the Bachtale Apsa band, Michal Pavlíček with Monika Načeva, and the traditional Romani dance ensemble TS Merci. The project is possible through the financial support of Bader Philanthropies, the Czech Culture Ministry, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague.
The main media partner of the awards ceremony is Czech Television. News server Romea.cz is a media partner.
NOMINATIONS IN DETAIL
In the category of Non-State, Non-Profit Organization - for implementing a specific project focused on developing and supporting the Romani minority and the results achieved, or for implementing a project focused on after-school education activities for Romani children and youth:
In IUSTITIA, o.p.s. - for many years of support to the Romani community, which is the most at-risk for experiencing hate violence in the Czech Republic, and for its informational website, nepopírej.cz, about denial of the Romani victims of the Holocaust.
MIRET, z. s. - for work with Romanil children and youth from socially excluded localities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, motivating them to become educated. The Artistic Director of the project is Ida Kelarová.
R-Mosty, z. s. - for its innovative, risky, unique project called "Ethnic-Friendly Housing" (Férové bydlení), which arranges rental housing for Romani families, single mothers and persons at risk of social exclusion, providing financial guarantees to landlords for them.
In the category of Company/Firm/Employer - for supporting projects focused on social aid and support to the Romani community:
Albatros Media a.s., for establishing the Albatros Foundation, the main aim of which is to support access to education by socially disadvantaged children and students, including Romani children and students. Very few socially responsible companies are heading in this direction because the broader public does not have a very positive opinion of it.
Evangelical Academy - Higher Professional School and Secondary School of Social Work (Evangelická akademie – Vyšší odborná škola sociální práce a střední odborná škola) for high-quality, long-term, systematic education of Romani people. During the 1990s this school was a springboard for hundreds of Romani people to achieve an education and access work opportunities.
Social Enterprise Černý Most s.r.o. (Sociální podnik Černý Most s.r.o.) for providing comprehensive care to socially-excluded clients and their families, who therefore get the opportunity to apply themselves in their neighborhood by ensuring community administration of housing, finding jobs, and increasing their education through courses at the community center.
In the category of Municipality-Town for programs focused on integrating members of the Romani minority into society and on activities beneficial to the Romani communities, there was no award given due to a lack of quality nominees.
In the category of Individual, for long-term work contributing to improving the position of Romani people:
Prof. PhDr. Ctibor Nečas, DrSc. for his lifelong academic and popularization activities in the field of Romani Studies. Professor Nečas is the first Czech historian to have undertaken scholarly research about the Romani labor camps. His studies have been published in journals abroad and he is considered a recognized expert in Europe. The bibliography of his Romani Studies publications includes more than 225 items.
Čeněk Růžička for his persistent, tireless struggle to achieve dignity for the remembrance site at Lety by Písek by removing the pig farm from the location of the former so-called "Gypsy" concentration camp, where he lost part of his family. His strong emotional ties to his family keep him active in retirement, maintaining his continuity of focus on this unresolved problem and maintaining the living memory of the suffering at Lety. He is the chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust in the Czech Republic.
JUDr. Emil Ščuka is an eminent Romani figure who has inspired many Romani people through his example and who has become a leader of the Romani elite. He brought the topic of Romani-ness into the political discussion during the 1990s and managed to lead that discussion. He was one of a very few Romani people who achieved a higher education, establishing some of the first educational courses for Romani people during the 1990s, then establishing schools thanks to which hundreds of Romani people achieved educations and accessed work opportunities. He is also the founder of the International Conservatory Prague, which makes contributions of enormous cultural value.
In the category of Media the award goes to a journalist for publishing either objective or positive information about Romani issues and for disseminating positive references to mutual tolerance and understanding:
Gwendolyn Albert is a journalist and translator who has brought Romani issues to international platforms, focused on the forced sterilization of Romani women, and consistently worked on human rights issues for many years.
František Bikár is the author of articles on news server Romea.cz who has documented events through video, including anti-Romani demonstrations in various regions, where he has filmed irrespective of the risks to his personal safety. For Romea TV he produced, together with Richard Samko of Czech Television, a Czech-Norwegian documentary film about discrimination against Romani people and the situation of vicitms of discrimination and hate violence. He annually runs a children's summer camp attended by Romani children living at the Children's Home in Pyšely.
Richard Samko is a moderator and reporter for Czech Television's domestic news desk who contributes to a better image of Romani people in the public broadcast media and to motivating young Romani people. For Romea TV he moderates video interviews with Romani figures and contributed to producing a Czech-Norwegian documentary film about the situation of victims of discrimination and hate violence.
In the category of Good Deed of the Year, for an action that contributed to saving a human life, no award will be given this year.
In the category of Romani Culture the award is for a contribution to Romani culture in the field of fine arts, language, oral literature and the other creative activities of various communities and groups of Roma and Sinti in the Czech Republic. The award will be given in collaboration with the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno. The final nominees are:
Ara Art, z.s., for contributions in the field of Romani culture primarily to do with organizing celebrations of International Roma Day and opening the Phundaro VudarGallery in Prague.
Olga Fečová for her ambitious, long-term, persistent work with children and production of Romani folk music.
Gejza Horváth for his lifelong work primarily in the fields of literature, music, Romani language and working with youth.
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