- World Romany Congress
- There have been six congresses organized by the International Romani Union (IRU) and its predecessors in the years since the end of World War II.The first World Romany Congress in 1971, with delegates attending from 14 countries, was held near London under the auspices of the Comité International Tzigane. It was originally intended to be a preparatory meeting to plan the first congress. However, because of the number of delegates coming and the number of countries represented, it was decided to make this meeting the first congress itself. Grattan Puxon was elected secretary and Slobodan Berberski, from Belgrade, president. During the congress, work was divided among five specialized commissions dealing with education, social problems, war crimes reparations, culture, and language. It was agreed to campaign against illiteracy and that the use of Romani in schools should be officially recognized. The language commission agreed that there should be a move toward unifying the language. The opening day of the conference, 8 April, was proclaimed the national day (Roma Nation Day) to be celebrated every year. A national anthem and a flag were adopted.The second World Romany Congress was held in April 1978 in Geneva, Switzerland, and was attended by 120 delegates from 26 countries. The United Nations, the Human Rights Commission, and the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Commission had representatives at the Congress who put the case for future cooperation. Jan Cibula was elected president replacing Berberski and Shaip Jusuf was elected vice president. Yul Brynner was chosen as the honorary president and took part in the final press conference. During the congress, the IRU was established.The work of organizing further congresses was carried out by the IRU. The third World Romany Congress was held in Göttingen, Germany, in May 1981, with 300 representatives from 22 countries and the support of the Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Völker. The history of the Gypsy people under the Nazis was confronted on the first day. Simon Wiesenthal and Miriam Novitch were among the speakers. At this congress, Puxon was replaced as secretary by Rajko DjuriC, and Sait BaliC replaced Cibula as president.The fourth World Romany Congress, organized by the IRU, was held in April 1990 near Warsaw, Poland. More than 200 delegates from 18 countries were present, with a higher number of delegates from eastern Europe than any of the previous three. It was preceded by a Language Conference on the Standardization of the Romani Language. After the formal opening ceremony on 8 April, the next day was devoted to reports from different countries. Language was an important item on the agenda of the congress itself, and a proposal was accepted for a new common alphabet. A highlight of the congress was a televised concert in which many well-known groups took part, including Esma Redjepova's ensemble. Djuric replaced Balic as president and Emil SCuka was elected general secretary. The membership of the commissions was fixed by elections. The following commissions were set up: Cultural, Encyclopedia, Language, Holocaust and Reparations, and Education and Information. Because of lack of funds, however, these commissions were not particularly active.The fifth World Romany Congress, again organized by the IRU, was held in Prague, Czech Republic, in July 2000 in the headquarters of Radio Free Europe, and 122 delegates from 38 different countries attended in order to approve a new program, statutes, and elect a new leadership of the IRU. The first day was spent electing a committee to oversee the congress and forming working groups. On the following day, topics were agreed upon for the agenda, including the situation of Roma in Kosovo, reparations for Romani Holocaust victims, the migration of Roma from central and eastern Europe, and the standardization of the Romani language. Out of these discussions in the working groups, it was agreed that a new statute for the IRU be created, declaring that the Roma want to be recognized as a nation. There were also calls for Germany to apologize for what has become known as the Roma Holocaust, in which up to half a million Roma were killed by the Nazis. The culmination of the congress was the election of a new president for the IRU. The successful candidate was Scuka, from the Czech Republic, previously the general secretary. Hristo Kyuchukov from Bulgaria was elected as the new general secretary.The sixth World Romany Congress was held in Lanciano, Italy, in 2004. In spite of the late announcement of the date and venue, a representative number of Roma attended. Scuka, the outgoing president, was unable to be present due to illness. Stanislaw Stankiewicz was elected president. The vice presidents are Nadezhda Demeter, Victor Famulson, and Normundus Rudjevics. Zoran Dimov was elected secretary of the IRU and Dragan Jevremovic was reelected as chairman of the IRU Parliament.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.