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Minister of State Roth visits the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture 

10.01.2018 - Article

On Wednesday (10 January), Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth visited the newly established European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) at its Reinhardtstraße offices in Berlin. 

Minister of State Roth speaking with Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, Deputy Director of ERIAC
Minister of State Roth speaking with Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, Deputy Director of ERIAC © ERIAC

During his visit, Minister of State Roth paid tribute to how the institute is helping reduce prejudice and discrimination against the Roma. ERIAC’s work is an important step towards helping the Roma promote their art and culture throughout Europe and present it to a wider audience.

Federal Foreign Office supports the new institute in Berlin

ERIAC was launched with a ceremony at the Federal Foreign Office in June 2017 and has now taken up its work in Berlin. It was founded as a joint initiative of the Council of Europe, the Open Society Foundations and the Roma Alliance for ERIAC. The Federal Foreign Office is providing up to 180,000 euros in financial support for the institute’s first project – creating a Europe-wide network of Roma institutions, and events are being held for this purpose in six European countries.

Helping the Roma present their culture

It is a founding principle of ERIAC to help the Roma tell their own story. With the institute, the Roma now have a platform on which to present their culture to societies all across Europe. Roma art has to date been under-represented in traditional collections. ERIAC aims to give Europe’s largest ethnic minority the opportunity to establish cultural networks that span the continent. Minister of State Roth emphasised that the European dimension of the institute’s work is very important and described its “mission” as being a European one.

Reducing antigypsyist discrimination and prejudice

Antigypsyism to this day remains deeply rooted in European societies – also here in Germany. Roma are still marginalised and targeted by prejudice. Against this background, Minister of State Roth emphasised ERIAC’s large potential to help reduce discrimination. “The place of the Roma is at the heart, and not on the margins, of our society,” Roth said. He went on to point out that ERIAC plays a valuable role as it calls into question stereotypes and clichés by showcasing the cultural achievements and identity of the Roma. Roth wished the institute’s leadership every success in their project-related efforts and assured the institute’s Director, Timea Junghaus, of the Federal Foreign Office’s Support.

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