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World Roma Federation Makes History with Diplomatic Gathering at UN Plaza


New York, NY – Feb 1, 2024 – In a historic event, the World Roma Federation (WRF), an international organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and recognition of the Roma community, hosted a diplomatic gathering at the United Nations Plaza in New York City. Notable attendees included diplomats from Italy, Austria, Poland, the Holy See, the European Union, Germany, UNAOC, and Ireland, among others. The event marked the first time that so many diplomats convened under one roof for an event hosted by the Roma community.

The highlight of the evening was the Mobile Roma Holocaust Exhibit, organized by the WRF to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Roma Holocaust. The exhibit serves as a powerful reminder of the Roma community's resilience and strength in the face of historical adversity.

The event commenced with opening remarks by the Commissioner for International Affairs of the New York City Mayor's Office, who read a citation from the Mayor himself, underscoring the significance of the occasion. Deny Dobobrov, Director of the World Roma Federation, delivered an impactful speech, emphasizing the importance of understanding and empathy in addressing the challenges faced by the Roma community. His speech outlined the WRF's commitment to advocating for Roma rights through education, cultural preservation, and policy advocacy.

Sara Apostol, a Roma student from the University of Texas and a new member of the WRF, delivered a compelling keynote speech, setting the tone for the evening's discussions. Chase Iron Eyes, representing his tribe and the Sioux Nation, delivered an impassioned speech highlighting the shared struggles of indigenous communities and the Roma. His words resonated deeply with the audience, emphasizing the need for solidarity among marginalized communities. Other distinguished speakers were Ken Cosentino (WRF Member) and Dena Nieren, who shared their insights and experiences.

The screening of a poignant short film on the Roma Holocaust moved the audience, offering a profound glimpse into the experiences of the Roma during that dark period in history. The film also highlighted the crucial role of the Global Romani Coalition in advocating for Roma rights and recognition on an international stage.

The panel discussion that followed featured experts in the field, including Petra Gelbart, Lorcan Otway, Jud Nirenberg, and Barry Fisher. The discussion, moderated by Felicia DeRosa, WRF Community Outreach Ambassador, delved into the challenges still faced by the Roma community today, touching on topics such as recent genocide, forced displacement, discrimination, and the importance of inclusivity.

Janos Sztojka, President of the World Roma Federation, concluded the event with closing remarks, summarizing the evening's discussions and expressing gratitude to the diplomats, attendees, and supporting members for their unwavering support. He highlighted the WRF's mission to elevate the Roma community's influence in global politics and to ensure their voices resonate in the pursuit of social justice on an international stage.

The World Roma Federation's gathering at the United Nations Plaza was a significant step forward in raising awareness of the challenges faced by the Roma community and garnering support for their cause. The event underscored the importance of understanding, empathy, and action in shaping a future of equality, justice, and peace.

Special thank you to our members who helped make this rememberable event. Bethann Carbone & Michael Heil. Stoimen Vassilev

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