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Putting Romani History at the Top of the Agenda

Putting Romani History at the Top of the Agenda

On 1 July the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued a recommendation that for the first time ever advises all of its 47 member states to include the history of Roma and/or Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials.

The stated aims of the recommendation are

"building a culture of tolerance and respect at school; developing the historical awareness and the consciousness of all pupils; contributing to the assertion of Roma and/or Travellers’ identity; and enhancing the understanding that Roma and/or Travellers are an integral part of both national and European societies."

It goes on to stipulate that school curricula should include

"a balanced and contextualised teaching of Roma and/or Travellers’ history, reflecting both their national presence and historical context and their common history as a people present in Europe for centuries, and

information about the contribution of Roma and Travellers to the national economies, in particular trade, metalwork and other handicrafts, as well as animal husbandry, and refer to various aspects of Roma and/or Travellers’ history and culture, such as storytelling, literature, religion, music and traditions, as well as the asymmetric social progress and unequal access to social rights they have experienced."

The BESTROM team welcomes this recommendation, and we hope we will see the results of our research reflected in new teaching materials. We’re pleased to be approaching completion of our first joint publication, European Roma: Lives beyond Stereotypes (Liverpool University Press, 2021), which is designed to open up some key moments, people and dimensions in Romani history for non-specialist readers.

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