On Roma Matters & Other Compelling Stories: An Online Educational Festival and Gala

Hello everyone,

We at the Roma Peoples Project at Columbia University are thrilled to announce our online educational festival: On Roma Matters and Other Compelling Stories. Please see event listings here, where you can purchase the festival pass or register for individual presentations on a “pay as you wish” basis.

We have planned an exciting series of workshops, bringing together over twenty fantastic speakers, which will run online from May 30th to June 21st. The festival will provide an uplifting and nuanced look at Roma matters and other relevant topics related to identity, justice, arts and well-being—spotlighting stories from Roma and Roma allies. Every ticket you purchase for the festival will provide critical funds necessary for continuing our activities at the Roma Peoples Project.

When the global pandemic hit, we were in the middle of a fundraising campaign to support our work. For the past three years we’ve been sharing knowledge and stories to understand the Roma peoples in a global context, developing kinship with other marginalized groups, and reflecting on Roma experiences of survival and resilience. While we were fundraising to be able to sustain our activity, the whole world was facing—and continues to face—heartbreaking and unimaginable losses.

While reflecting on the implications of this global pandemic, we cannot help but notice that the current crisis reflects the ongoing crises that Roma people and other marginalized groups have faced for centuries: financial insecurity, housing instability, and lack of access to health care and education. This perspective has made us even more determined to support Roma representation, since the Roma cause needs attention in times of pandemic and progress, war and peace, famine and boom. Even amid this cycle of successes and setbacks, Roma people have continued to rise.

We so much wish we did not have to resume fundraising during these times, when the urgent need of humanitarian relief should be everyone’s first priority. Given these circumstances, we were not comfortable asking for donations directly without providing valuable learning opportunities to our supporters. Therefore, we invited a series of speakers to share their knowledge, life experiences, skills and talents with us so we can raise the minimum funds our project requires to survive. We are dedicated to advancing scholarship, facilitating connection among those interested in Roma issues, and spotlighting Roma voices bringing greater visibility to the topic in academia and society, as we have done for the past three years.

This is a critical time for the Roma Peoples Project, and we need your support now more than ever. Your concrete, financial support will help us continue our Roma Studies seminars, facilitate conversations between Roma and non-Roma scholars, interview Roma with inspiring stories, and maintain the capacity of the project.

Our fundraising program provides creative, insightful and educational opportunities for our community to learn and connect. We are excited to launch over fifteen online workshops, culminating in a virtual gala. We hope you will support these efforts. Here are a few options for you:

  1. If you can, we encourage you to get a festival pass to support our fundraiser.

  2. Please attend our individual workshops.

  3. If you cannot attend, but would like to support us, please consider donating here.

  4. If you’re facing financial difficulties, and may not be able to pay the full cost of a festival pass, please write to us at romapeoplesproject@columbia.edu. We will work with you to find a solution.

We are thankful to Columbia University; the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders in the USA; the Columbia University Center for Justice, who have hosted us for the past three years; the Heymann-Wolf Foundation; and a dozen volunteers and collaborators, who have helped with editing, logistical planning, promotional materials and social media engagement. All have provided invaluable support over our past three years of activities.

Thank you. We look forward to experiencing this together!

Cristiana Grigore & Sarah Zawacki


(212) 851-5845


406 Schermerhorn Hall, MC 5501
1190 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027
United States of America