RMUSP Finalists Build Prospects and Bridges in Prague

For the second edition of the Roma Memorial University Scholarship Gala in the Czech Republic, the Roma Education Fund (REF) expanded the format in Prague on November 8, 2013.

For the second edition of the Roma Memorial University Scholarship Gala in the Czech Republic, the Roma Education Fund (REF) expanded the format in Prague on November 8, 2013. Already established as an event for networking and sharing experiences, the Roma Education Fund sought to add value to the event by giving RMUSP finalists more information about new perspectives during two morning workshops on opportunities in the labor market and Romani identity in the Czech Republic. Hailing from across Czech Republic and studying across a wide range of disciplines, 42 finalists are winners of the 2013-2014 Roma Memorial University Scholarship awarded by the Roma Education Fund.

Held at Prague’s French Institute and moderated by Romea’s Jarmila Balažová, the day began with a debate on the merits of dialogue in society, tolerance, education, and the experiences of leading Romani figures in political and public life, including Michaela Marksová-Tominová, Čeněk Růžička of the Committee for Compensation of Roma Victims of the Holocaust, David Benák, a REF Beneficiary and head of Social Affairs Department at Prague 14, followed by a workshop on the labor market, with contributions by Pavla Mullerová of Applaus Media, current RMUSP scholar Hedviga Hejdukova, Emil Horvat from CzechPak Manufacturing and Jan Čonka.

The afternoon session opened to the public and press with a musical performance by Viliam Didiáš. Pavel Berky, an acclaimed Romani fashion designer in the Czech Republic, then presented the highlights of his international career, while students later were briefed by Anna Pechova from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and Cyril Koky, RMUSP alumnus and coordinator of Roma issues at the Central Bohemian authority.

The Roma Education Fund is exceptionally proud to be able to recognize this new wave of Romani students applying to, enrolling in and graduating from state-accredited universities in the Czech Republic. Competition for the award has steadily increased over the years with 73 eligible applicants in 2013, from which there were 42 selected finalists.

More details in Czech about the event are available here.

The Roma Memorial University Scholarship Program provides merit-based support to Romani students pursuing tertiary education at state-accredited universities in their countries of residence. Demand has been growing in all 16 countries where the Roma Education Fund operates its Scholarship Program, and the volume and quality of applications has shown dramatic improvement over the years, indicating an untapped and unacknowledged pool of skilled and talented individuals who are beginning to claim their places in their schools, workplaces, communities and societies.

This event in Prague was the fourth in a series of RMUSP autumn galas that celebrated and recognized finalists across the region. Previous events were in Nitra, Prague and Tirana; a simultaneous event was held in Skopje for 119 RMUSP finalists, with Sofia and Budapest to follow.

The Roma Memorial University Scholarship Program is funded in part by the Open Society Foundations, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Swiss Development Corporation and the UK Department for International Development. 

In addition to its scholarship activities, REF is actively working to improve access to all levels of education through comprehensive support and programs working for school desegregation, the abolition of special schools, and increasing access to early childhood education and care. Working with a variety of local partners and stakeholders, the Roma Education Fund has disbursed over EUR 1.8 million to provide small technical assistance and capacity-building grants to support the implementation of local education projects.

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