Official Opening of ERIAC Serbia
Serbia Moves to Advance Roma Culture and Education;
in an Effort Also Supported by the Open Society Foundations, the Council of Europe, and Germany
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, inaugurated the first branch of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and the new headquarters of the Roma Education Fund (REF).
Speaking about the launch, President Vučić said:
“The opening of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture and the Roma Education Fund in Belgrade shows how much effort Serbia is investing in preserving the Roma language and culture, quality youth education and greater Roma participation in public life, fighting discrimination, and respecting social equality and human rights. In this way, we are creating a better future for all citizens, because a better life for Roma means a better life for Serbia.”
Alexander Soros, deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, welcomed Serbia’s unprecedented commitment:
“President Vučić has set a new standard for the Western Balkans—and Europe—by opening the first branch of ERIAC and helping the Roma Education Fund relocate to Belgrade. It is my hope that the other leaders of the region and Europe follow suit. My father George Soros and I have sought to advance Roma education, culture, Roma leadership, and economic entrepreneurship, and I am grateful that today we have greatly strengthened their effort.”
ERIAC aims to dispel prejudice and encourage Roma pride in their role in European history and culture. ERIAC is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe, the Open Society Foundations, and the Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture. The German government hosts ERIAC’s headquarters in Berlin.
Timea Junghaus, ERIAC Executive Director:
“For centuries, the Roma have contributed to the artistic and cultural heritage in Serbia and the entire region. Yet these contributions have often remained invisible. The establishment of ERIAC’s first branch is a historic milestone. It paves the way for ERIAC Serbia to become a leading stakeholder, promoting Roma cultural inclusion in the vibrant mainstream cultural scene in Serbia and the region.”
The same building will also house the Roma Education Fund, an organization working to increase the access of Roma children to education.
Redjepali Chupi, Interim Director of the Roma Education Fund (REF):
“REF wants to create a future in which everyone can develop their full potential and creativity. I am thrilled to welcome ERIAC into our community here in Belgrade. Together we are creating a powerful inner core, aimed at countering stereotypes and prejudices about our community.”
ERIAC SERBIA will promote Roma arts and culture in Serbia and the entire region, making a significant impact on the cultural recognition of Roma. Located in the city center at Majke Jevrosime St. 51, the ERIAC SERBIA office and art space occupies a total area of over 130 m2 on the ground floor, with a beautiful open space suitable for art exhibitions and events.
You can download press release in English, Serbian and Romanes here: