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Roma Political School piloted for the first time in Kosovo* through the ROMACTED II Programme

Gjakova/ Đakovica 19 - 21 November 2021
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Roma Political School piloted for the first time in Kosovo* through the ROMACTED II Programme

A group of 20 youngsters from the Roma Ashkali Egyptian communities representing different municipalities were the first cohort of the three-day Roma Political School seminar organised by the Prishtina Institute for Political Studies (PIPS) on 19-21 November. The Prishtina Institute for Political Studies is the Council of Europe’s partner organisation in the domain of Political Schools, and as such was considered to be the appropriate organisation to organise this pilot event.

The group’s expectations for the school were exceeded and followed with interest various seminar topics from renowned lecturers as follows: the legal framework on the rights and freedoms of communities; functioning, use, and challenges of the statehood; political participation; the electoral process and participation of the communities, etc. Conversely, the critical debates from the participants enhanced the dynamics in the deliberation of the subjects.

The composition of the participants was diverse in terms of their professional backgrounds, as well as the fact that they represented different political parties and civil society organisations from their respective communities. Several participants are part of the ROMACTED Programme, for example, as members of the Community Action Groups or facilitators. The participation of women was also well-represented in the seminar: out of 20 participants, 10 were women, one of whom was a municipal assembly representative elected in the last municipal elections.

The purpose of the Roma Political School is to foster and bridge the gap in political and public participation between Roma and non-Roma which is reflected in the multiple expected project results following this pilot event as follows:

  • Improved capacities of Roma youngsters in Kosovo to better comprehend and participate in political processes;
  • Increased interaction and cooperation between Roma youngsters from different municipalities;
  • Strengthened role of civil society sector as a transformative force in Kosovo, in relation to full integration of nonmajority communities in Kosovo;
  • An established alumni network of 20 youngsters from Roma community, which could also be utilised and nurtured in the future with other activities.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence