Press Release

ECMI Panel "Education Policies for Roma Children in Europe"
"Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights"

Second International Seminar of the Transborder Initiative for Tolerance and Human Rights/GSFI
Prague, 20 - 22 January 2000


The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) is organising a panel on Education Policies for Roma Children in Europe in the framework of the international seminar “Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights”. The aim of this panel is to evaluate ongoing policies and actions in Europe regarding the education of Roma children, especially in the new member states of the Council of Europe, and to contribute to the development of adequate education programmes for Roma children. Various models of education policy will be presented, with an emphasis on best-practice and those developed by Roma themselves. The panel will deal with questions of integrated vs. segregated education, linguistic issues and will draw on theory as well as practical experiences from several countries including Finland, Macedonia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In conclusion, the panel will attempt to identify the conditions which might contribute to the success of a given model. A report on this panel will be published by ECMI in the spring.

The panel will begin with a keynote speech by Ms. Josephine Verspaget (Chair of the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies at the Council of Europe) on Thursday, 20 January, 14:00-14:30 at the Prague Police Training College (Pod Táborem 102/5, Prague 9 – Hrdlořezy). Ms. Verspaget will present a new policy paper for governments developed by the Council of Europe. Mr. Karel Holomek (Association of Roma in Moravia) and Ms. Jana Hejkrlíková (Interministerial Commission for Romani issues at the Czech Government Office) will act as discussants.

The keynote speech will be followed by a panel session on Friday, 21 January, 9:00-13:30 at the Czech Senate under the patronage of Senate Vice-Chairman Ivan Havlíček and will consist of the following speakers: Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (Institute for Language and Culture, Roskilde University, Denmark); Ms. Miranda Vuolasranta (Advisory Board on Romani Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs, Helsinki, Finland); Mr. Sejdo Jašarov (Roma Participation Program, Open Society Institute, Budapest); and Ms. Dimitrina Petrovna (Executive Director, European Roma Rights Center, Budapest).

ECMI is an independent, bi-national expert institution founded in 1996 by the governments of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. ECMI is located in Flensburg, Germany, in order to draw on the positive experience of peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities in the German-Danish border region. ECMI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary research on various dimensions of minority-majority relations in a European perspective and to contribute to the improvement of inter-ethnic relations in those parts of Western and Eastern Europe where ethnopolitical tension and conflict prevail. In legal terms, ECMI is a non-profit foundation and the recipient of regular government funding from Copenhagen, Berlin and Kiel, as well as of a start-up grant under the INTERREG-II programme of the European Union. ECMI is governed by a Board of nine members: three from Denmark, three from Germany, and one representative each from the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union. The working language of ECMI is English.

For more information on the ECMI Panel, please contact:

Farimah Daftary, 
Research Associate, 
ECMI, Schiffbruecke 12, 
24939 Flensburg, 
tel: (49-461) 14 14 962; 
fax: (49-461) 14 14 969; 

For more information on the Seminar "Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights" please contact:

Dr. Laura Laubeová, 
Kettnerova 2052, 
155 00 Prague 5, 
Fax: (420-2) 651 44 42, 


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