Nadir Redzepi, born in 1963, is a Macedonian Roma. He holds a degree in Sociology from Corvinus University. Previously, he served as Senior Program Manager at Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma, an Open Society Foundations’ program from 2010-2015. He managed a portfolio of seven countries, providing technical assistance and capacity building interventions for accessing European Union funds, facilitating cooperation and institutional dialogue at the local level, and mobilizing civil society networks for advocating on behalf of Roma inclusion policies at the national level. Mr. Redzepi has extensive experience in Roma policies and initiatives, including Roma children’s education, Roma participation in policy design and policymaking, and the use of EU funds for Roma policy implementation. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, he was Executive Director of the Roma Democratic Development Association – Sonce in Tetovo, Macedonia (2004-2009). As a representative of Roma civil society organizations, he also was chosen as a delegate to the National Working Group that was formed as part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion initiative in Macedonia. Mr. Redzepi has served as a member of the Board of the Roma Education Fund (2007-2014) and shortly a member of the board of Roma Initiative Office at Open Society Foundations (2008-2009). Over the years, he has acted as an analyst and researcher, evaluator and trainer for the Council of Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Minority Rights Group and Open Society Institute, to name just a few. He has published a number of articles on Roma issues and he is presently an active member of the Alliance Group of the European Roma Institute (ERI).
Anastasia Primpa Jelasity
Fundraising and Communication Officer
Anastasia Primpa Jelasity, a dual citizen of Greece and USA, started her career working as a business English and communications trainer in the US, Czech Republic, and Germany. After moving to Serbia in 2002, Anastasia made the change to civil society, first implementing Gender and Corporate Social Responsibility programs at Center for Democracy Foundation, and later responsible for strategic planning for the Association of Business Women in Serbia. Anastasia has a BA in Political Science from DePaul University and MA in Applied Linguistics from University of Illinois in Chicago.
Anasztazia Nagy is a Roma from Hungary working as programme officer at the REF. Currently she is coordinating and managing the Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin project portfolio. She graduated at the Budapest Corvinus University – Faculty of Public administration in 2002 and holds a MA degree in public policy, Central European University, Budapest. She is very committed to improve the educational situation of Roma since she believes that this is the field which can significantly change the future of the Roma pupils. She was also active member of the Roma community during her studies.
Chief Financial Officer
Andrea Dorombozo is a Hungarian Roma who has over seven years’ financial experience in the non-profit sector. She worked for Roma Education Fund between 2010-2015 as Financial Officer, then relocated to the United Kingdom where she gained international experience in the charity sector. Andrea worked for GOAL, an INGO that specializes in emergency response and was in charge of the financial and administrative operation of the UK office. Andrea most recently gained financial and grant management experience at Action Against Hunger UK that leads a global fight against hunger across nearly 50 countries. She holds a BA as Teacher of English Language and Literature from ELTE University.
Azam Bayburdi is a Russian national and holds an MBA in Finance, Statistics, and Management from the Greenwich University of London, UK. Azam also holds a degree in Hindi Philology from the department of Philology, Leningrad State University and participated in the Hindi Philology Fellowship program of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. She was also a legal administrator at the European Roma Rights Center and Assistant to the Academic Pro-Rector at Central European University. Before joining REF as Administrative Assistant, Azam worked for the Ministry of Education, Office of the Minister’s Commissioner for Integration of Roma and Disadvantaged Children as a Consultant. Azam joint REF in November 2012.
Finance and Administrative Coordinator
Beata Prokaj, a Hungarian national, holds an MA degree in Economics. Beata’s career started in the private sector, from which she moved to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a Staff Development Clerk. She joined REF in June 2010 as a Finance and Administrative Coordinator working on the EU Roma Pilot A Good Start project.
Csaba Oláh is a Hungarian Roma who holds an MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Central European University, where he also participated in the Roma English Language Program and the Roma Graduate Preparation Program. Oláh was a trainee at OSF’s Roma Initiatives Office for almost two years. He taught Social Studies at the afterschool prgoram of Dr. Ámbédkar Secondary School for pupils coming from disadvantaged families. Oláh is very much concerned about the collective rights of Roma as a minority and the survival of the historically unwelcomed Romani identity in Europe.
Daniela is a Macedonian national holding a degree of Media and Communication. She has held executive positions at the Ecologists’ Movement of Macedonia (DEM), the East European Environmental NGOs Network (SEEENN), and Civic Platform of Macedonia (CPM). Daniela managed projects for a decade at the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) for civil society development, social inclusion of Roma and female employment. From 2014 to 2017 she was National Program Coordinator of “Civica Mobilitas”. DEM and MCIC awarded Daniela twice for her contribution to their development. In the period 2012-2017 Daniela was a member of the Statistical Council of Republic of Macedonia and the Sectoral Monitoring Committee of the IPA Component I.
REF Scholarship Program Officer
Jozsef Petrovics is a Hungarian Roma. He soon will graduate from the University of Pecs with a BSc in Physics with a specialization in Information Technology. He previously worked for two years as a mentor and teacher at the Khetanipe Association in Pecs. He joined REF in the spring of 2016. Jozsef was a REF Roma Memorial University Scholarship Program recipient and also a member of RomaVersitas.
Lorand Gyenge was born in Romania, and he joined REF in 2018. He studied Romanian literature at ELTE and later Economics and Management at János Selye University in Komarno. He has was worked in the NGO sector since 2004, beginning as a youth helper and accountant that grew into a role in financial control and management. He previously worked at Transparency International, Minority Rights Group Europe and also has some experience with SMEs.
Marko Pecak is a Roma who was raised in the US. He holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Public Policy from University of California Berkeley. Marko was a Roma Education Fund intern in 2012, and his professional experience includes establishing and managing a Native American Public Health Research Center with a focus on community-based participatory research. While at UC Berkeley he received the school’s Human Rights Fellowship where he supported Romani research and advocacy projects at Harvard University. Marko’s professional focus is on community participation in the research and policymaking process, as well as how research and advocacy can be used for community empowerment.
REF Scholarship Program Senior Program Officer
Merziha Idrizi is a Roma from Macedonia. She holds International Masters degree in Public Policy (Higher Education Policy and Management) from the Central European University, Hungary and a Bachelor degree in Economics, Financial Management from the University of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”- Macedonia. She has an extensive working experience on education of Roma minority in secondary and tertiary level. With previous work as a Program Coordinator of a secondary scholarship program “Alliance for Inclusion of Roma in Education” within the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia, Merziha in 2007 joined the Roma Education Fund`s Scholarship Program for tertiary education. As a Program Officer of the REF Scholarship Program for Central, Eastern Europe and mostly the Western-Balkan countries, she has been working with different stakeholders, ministries of education, donors, students, -alumni networking on a national and international level. She has a voluntary work experience with non-governmental organizations working on Youth policies.
Milena Babic, a Croatian and Serbian national, holds an MA in Social Development Practice from London Metropolitan University, UK, and BA from Pedagogy University of Osijek, Croatia. Milena’s interest in Roma integration issues commenced with the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and her work in that area intensified through the activities of local Croatian organization Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance – Vukovar where she was the Project Manager of OSI/MtM supported Project Generation Facility Croatia. She also consulted to the Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Government of Croatia in various Roma integration related activities, among which in creation of the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion 2013-2020 and the Action Plan for implementation of the NSUR 2017-2019.
Nevsija Durmish is a Roma national from Macedonia. She holds an International Baccalaureate Diploma from United World College of the Adriatic in Italy, and a BA degree in English Language and Literature. She has a 9-year work experience in the field of education. With previous work at the Program for Higher Education of Roma – Romaversitas in Skopje and coordinating the project “Alliance for Inclusion of Roma in Education” at the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia, Nevsija is also a published co-author of the Romani language grammar “Gramatika Romskog Jezika” in Croatia and primary school textbook “Romani čhib 1” in Kosovo.
REF Scholarship Program Officer
Radoslav Kuzmanov is from Bulgaria. Before joining REF as Program Officer in Scholarship Program, he worked for more than 6 years for the Roma NGO Organization Drom, Vidin, Bulgaria, where he was involved in the implementation of projects dealing with Roma education, desegregation, public awareness, and advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master Degree in Psychology from South West University in Bulgaria. In 2012 he graduated the Roma Access Program in Central European University – Budapest.
Réka Papp is a Hungarian national who holds an MA degree of media studies from the Eötvös Loránd Science University of Budapest. Papp is specialised in minority representation and the communication of social initiatives. Her main fields of interest are social policy with a special focus on housing policy, family benefits, and women’s issues. Papp is a former Milena Jesenská journalism fellow of the Viennese Institute of Human Human Sciences (IWM), where she researched the Hungarian sex trade and its place within the European sex markets, policing and regulating practices. Papp is board member of Sex Workers’ Advocacy Network (SWAN).
Roland Ferkovics is a Roma from Hungary. He holds a BA degree from the University of Szeged and an MA in Political Science from the Central European University. His interest is on Roma political representation and participation with a special focus on Hungary. Roland worked in researches related to these issues for various institutions and universities. Among others he was researcher in the work of Penn State University, Columbia University, Roma Education Fund and Open Society Justice Initiative. In early 2016, he has been appointed by the US Embassy of Budapest to the Transatlantic Inclusive Leadership Network of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He is also the main author of a study being recently published in the Croatian Political Science Review as well as the co-author of other work published in the Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Senior Communication Officer
Svetlana D. Hristova graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from Sofia University in 1998 and obtained a MA in Sociology from Central European University in 2000. In 2010 she defended her PhD thesis, “The Public Image of Roma, Constructed by Community Media,” at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She previously worked as a public relations specialist for a public health program at the Ministry of Health in Bulgaria, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Her interests encompass ethnic minorities, educational inequalities and community media.
Zsolt Fekete is a hungarian national holding a post-graduate degree in Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University, Erinburgh. He has several years’ professional experiencein finance and HR project management. He served as Grants and Budget Manager at the Open Society Institute from 1994 to 2002, and then sought to broaden his business experience in multinational companies. Most recently he had worked in the private sector.