Who we are

REF Switzerland foundation

Andrzej Mirga (Chair)

is a Polish Roma who headed the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE’s Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) from 2006 till 2013. He is also a long-term associate of the Project on Ethnic Relations and has served as an expert on the Committee of Experts on Roma and Travellers of the Council of Europe, and later as its chair, in addition to several official posts in Poland. Mirga was appointed to the position of Chair in spring 2015.

Dr. Kinga Göncz (Vice Chair)

is the chair of Roma Advisory Board of Open Society Foundations and a visiting professor at Central European University School of Public Policy. She has held different positions in the Hungarian Government between 2002 and 2009, including Minister of Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and she was a member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2014.

Gábor Ormosy (Treasurer)

is the CFO of Geosol Group, a renewable energy source provider to power generators in Hungary. He is president of the Non-Profit Partner Foundation which was established to provide specialized advisory services to non-profit organizations on a non-profit basis in order to strengthen their sustainability through forming executable strategy, streamlining operations and focusing fundraising. He was instrumental to the success of MAG, a subsidiary of the Hungarian Development Bank, working with EU Funds, and also was responsible for restructuring two units of Wallis Group. He was appointed in summer 2016.

William Lazarus Bila

comes from the private sector with over 20 years project management experience
coordinating with stakeholders in large multinational organizations, transforming complex financial and operational information into practical recommendations across a variety of functions such as corporate strategy, finance, and human resources. He currently serves as President of La Voix des Rroms in France and graduated with a BS in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business at New York University and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Nicoleta Bitu

is the director of the Centre for Romani Studies of the National School for Political and Administrative Sciences. She has been active in the field of human and women’s rights for over 24 years, at the forefront of the European mobilization of Romani women activists and of advocacy for the rights of Roma. A recognized and published expert in her field, she has worked for Romani CRISS, the Open Society Foundations, the Council of Europe and Romano ButiQ. Her work has provoked the Romani and feminist movements to think and act based on the universality of human rights when it comes to Romani women. She is currently involved in initiatives on Romani arts and culture such as the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture and contributed to establishing the Museum of Roma Culture and Documentation Centre on Roma in Romania.

Yvana Enzler

recently retired as Swiss Ambassador to Sweden and was reappointed to the REF Board in 2016. She previously served as representative of the Swiss government on the REF Board from 2008 to 2012 while Swiss Ambassador to Albania. She joined the Swiss diplomatic service in 1979 and was posted in Berne (1979–80), Brussels (1980–81), Berne (1981–88), Rome (1988–91), Washington (1991–95), and again Berne (1995–98). From 1998 to 2002 she was Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo and, from 2002 to 2007, Head of the Swiss Liaison Office in Pristina (Kosovo). She holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and a M.A.L.S. from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Pierre Mirel

served at the European Commission 1981-2013, first on trade relations with “emerging” countries, then on the EU’s fifth enlargement (1990-2004) and on EU relations with Croatia and Turkey (2004-2006). He was Director for the Western Balkans until he retired from the EC at the end of 2013. He is a lecturer at Sciences Politiques-Paris on EU enlargement and neighborhood policies. His most recent publication on these themes is Géopolitique de la Démocratisation: l’Europe et ses ‘voisinages’ (Presses de Sciences Po, Paris, 2014).

Mariam Sherman

is the Director of Strategy and Operations in the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank. She has occupied several positions in the World Bank in Washington and abroad, and previously worked for NGOs on programs in the Middle East and South Africa. She received a MS in Development Management from the American University in Washington D.C., and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic and Modern Hebrew) from Manchester University in England.

Sybille Suter

currently serves as Swiss Ambassador to Macedonia and represents the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on the REF Governing Board. She previously served as Head of the SDC’s Latin American Division. She received an LLM from the University of Bern. She joined the REF Board as representative of the Swiss government in mid-2016.

REF Hungary foundation

Dr. Kinga Göncz

also serving as Vice Chair on the REF Switzerland Board, is Chair of REF Hungary.

Gábor Ormosy

also serving as Treasurer on the REF Switzerland Board, is a member of the Board of REF Hungary.

Gyula Várallyay

is a former senior staff member of the World Bank; he served as Interim Director of REF on two occasions.

REF Slovakia foundation

William Lazarus Bila

also serving on the REF Switzerland Board, is Chair of REF Slovakia Foundation Board.

Lydia Gabcova

is an independent Roma consultant specializing in Roma youth empowerment and
participation in Slovakia. She currently advises the Roma Institute in Bratislava on
ESF-funded projects.

Dr. Ingrid Kosova

is the founder and director of Quo Vadis, a multicultural Montessori school in Zvolen, Slovakia