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Organised by ERIO and DiploFoundation
with the support of the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Additional support provided by:

Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest 
US Embassy in Bucharest
European Parliament, Office of Livia Jaroka 
Roma Participation Programme, Open Society Institute 
European Commission Delegation in Romania

Within Europe, the 8 – 12 million Roma (or Gypsies) remain the most disadvantaged ethnic group, facing daily discrimination in all fields of life: employment, housing, social services, and education. Additionally, they are often subject to aggressive and physically violent treatment by members of the majority population and police forces. (See reports by the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Center)

The Roma lack a visible intellectual or political elite, and have no state or international institutions committed to protecting and advocating their rights. With practically no political influence or representation in national governments and European institutions, advocacy of Roma rights is left to human rights activists.

Currently, the countries home to the majority of Roma are beginning to join the EU and as a result, the situation of Roma is gaining political attention. Through initiatives such as the World Bank “Decade of Roma Inclusion,” Eastern European governments are under increasing pressure to improve conditions for their Roma minorities. It is a critical time for the Roma to find ways to effectively represent themselves at the national and international level, to protect their interests and identity, and to ensure than they are recognised within a united Europe.

The Roma Diplomacy project, run through cooperation between the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) and DiploFoundation, aims to: 

  • to create a strong group of Roma “public diplomats” with the ability to bridge the gap between the Roma civil society and governments/EU institutions;

  • to create and build on existing Roma rights networks, so that activists can use diplomatic channels for fast appropriate response to challenges facing Roma;

  • to facilitate the sharing of research and experience of Roma and human rights activists with a focus on diplomacy, through ICT tools and a collaborative online platform;

  • to build practical capacity among Roma rights activists through participation in conferences and internships in EU institutions, international organisations and non-governmental organisations;

  • to form the basis of a Roma “think tank” which can inform and steer the process of Roma social inclusion in a united Europe;

  • to build awareness of Roma rights issues on the local, national and international level through academic dialogue, research and the dissemination of information.

The project includes: 

  • a capacity building educational programme including skills training and academic study of diplomacy and human rights advocacy related topics;

  • individual and collaborative research projects on topics related to Roma rights and diplomacy;

  • an online knowledge sharing platform for Roma rights activists;

  • conference scholarships, visits and internships in EU institutions, international organisations and non-governmental organisations for programme participants;

  • conferences with leadings experts in the field and a publication on Roma rights and diplomacy with the aim of awareness building.

» Educational Programme

Through an open call for applications, the Project Team, with the assistance of the Advisory Group, will select 20 - 25 participants from specified Eastern European countries for a year-long educational programme. This programme will consist of 2 or 3 residential workshops and 2 online learning phases; and will combine skills training, study of diplomacy and human rights advocacy related topics, and individual and collaborative research


  Dates   Event
  June 15, 2005   Deadline for applications
  June 25, 2005   Applicants notified of acceptance
  9-17 July, 2005    First workshop in Bucharest
  Mid-August -
  November, 2005
  Online Learning Phase
  Early December, 2005   Second workshop (Brussels - study visits to European Institutions - to be confirmed)
  January, 2006   Online Learning
  February - April, 2006   Individual/collaborative research
  End of April, 2006   Final workshop (Geneva - visit to Human Rights Commission - to be confirmed)


  • Skills Training: general IT skills as needed, use of Textus Learning and briefcases for research; negotiation; media skills; academic research and writing;
  • Diplomacy and Human Rights Advocacy: European Institutions (Anti-discrimination Legislation); Introduction to Diplomacy; Language and Diplomacy; Public Diplomacy, Human Rights, Advocacy and Lobbying.

» Research Projects

Under the supervision of leading experts in the field of Roma and human rights and diplomacy, programme participants will work on individual and collective research projects. The research process and assessment will aim to build a virtual research community, leading to real dialogue between young activists emerging into this field and experienced practitioners. Research will lead to two end products:

  • the basis of an online knowledge sharing platform for Roma and human rights activists;

  • academic papers suitable for publication.

» Knowledge Sharing Platform

One of the concrete and long-lasting results of the educational programme and research will be the creation of an online platform for knowledge sharing among Roma and human rights activists, with a focus on diplomacy. This platform will offer a “toolkit” for human rights advocacy (databases, communication tools) and an online space for sharing knowledge and collaborating on common projects. It will also provide a focal point for continued contact within the network established through the programme, including both course participants and experts in human rights and diplomacy.

» Internship Programme

Throughout the year, top participants in the programme will receive funding to attend relevant conferences and meetings. At the end of the programme, a number of internships will be offered to successful participants on a competitive basis at relevant governmental, EU, international and non-governmental organisations.

» Research and Awareness Building

One or two public conferences should gather experts in the field of Roma, minority and human rights and diplomacy. Through public dialogue, these conferences will aim to raise awareness, and to form the basis of a Roma “think tank” which can inform and steer the process of Roma social inclusion in a united Europe. Conference speakers will be invited to submit papers for a publication on Roma Diplomacy.

Please contact for further information, or if you would like to support this project.

Organised by ERIO and  DiploFoundation