Established in 1999, Roma Virtual Network will celebrate 15 years of highly-qualified services in the fields of communication, information and education on 19th July, 2014.
Els de Groen, author, poet; former MEP and initiator World Artists Initiative “Khetanes”
This is an excellent moment for personal reflection. In 20 years, I learned to know many Roma: painters, writers, scholars, filmmakers and many, very many musicians. Most of them being also Roma rights activists and fighting for what is usually described as “a constitutional state”, that should be renamed as a constitutional globe. Fundamental rights are a border-crossing issue. Whereas all crises that we face today, economical, financial or ecological ones, are perceived as global issues, we keep on trying to consider violations of rights as national diseases. As a failure of isolated states. That does not make sense! States that are open to trade, climate change or pollution, are automatically also open to human rights. In the past we had customs to uphold the law, nowadays we have human rights activists to check our luggage and see what is coming in or getting out.
They are no policemen, they are mainly informers, they remind us of common treaties, violations of rights, broken promises and double standards. On a daily basis they keep us on the alert. Valery Novoselsky started his RVN as a young and well-educated man of 29 years old. Fifteen years later RVN contains 33 electronic mailing lists in 20 languages. With close to 11.000 email addresses it is the biggest Roma network in the entire world. That is a huge achievement, but I cannot help adding some sad words to my sincere congratulations. Do we fully realize that Valery Novoselsky sacrificed his youth, a family life of his own and even a private home, in order to build the network? RVN is extremely precious to scholars, students, reporters, NGOs, diplomats, policymakers and journalists. All have reasons to be grateful for the financial support from Open Society Roma Initiatives that enabled Valery to continue the work. But what would RVN have been today without the never-ending day and night work of the editor himself? That is why I hope and wish that in the years to come, there will be also space for Valery himself, for some private moments to relax and enjoy the Roma motto and wisdom of carpe diem. He has more than deserved it.
Testimonials of the supporters of Roma Virtual Network (RVN)
“I am deeply convinced about the necessity and importance of Roma Virtual Network. I proudly announce the use on daily basis of the information’s of RVN – because it has a bright and neutral scale of information. The author and editor of it, Valery Novoselsky is very committed and hard working person.” – Agnes Daroczi, scientific researcher and activist (Budapest, Hungary).
“As a researcher in these issues, I hail the RVN both as a rich source of information and a communication space which has allowed me to conduct different research into the experience of its early years on Portuguese gypsies. Daily insights from different parts of the world on social and government policies, situations of discrimination, exclusion and marginalization, conditions, strategies and (re)actions of the Roma individuals or groups in the face of such situations, consultation with (new) projects covering fields such as culture, history, justice, education or economy are only some of the information that I find in RVN. Simultaneously, this network promotes the interconnection of different Romany and non-Romany individuals considering their comments and suggestions, contributing to social science researchers’ entry into the universe of Roma issues.” – Ana Brinca, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, New University of Lisbon (Portugal).
“Since its establishment in 1999, the Roma Virtual Network has been a very important channel of communication and information sharing for all the Roma and non-Roma individuals and organizations interested or involved in the faith of the Roma people. The information is flowing without any disruption, despite of only one individual`s efforts. And it is difficult to imagine the international Romani movement without its voice.” – Ana Oprisan, Consultant at UNFPA Eastern Europe & Central Asia and Consultant at Council of Europe (Istanbul, Turkey).
“As a United Nations staff member, involved since long in endeavours seeking to further dialog and respect among the peoples of the world, I can only stress how important I feel the Roma Virtual Network is. In that respect, I find an active Romany presence on the Internet necessary and I commend how successfully the Roma Virtual Network meets that purpose. I also must note the excellent quality and completeness of the daily Roma news coverage. The RVN is a precious, comprehensive and easily accessible well of information to any journalist working on Roma issues, which are more and more central to Europe`s very identity.” – Andre Dryansky, Court Interpreter, UN Assistance to Khmer Rouge Trials (Phnom Penh, Cambodia).
“Gypsy Roma Traveller communities continue to suffer from acute exclusion and xenophobia, in these troubled times the information service and platform for advocacy provided by RVN is of paramount importance and is delivered by the RVN in a professional and efficient manner. Given the critical stage we are at in the development of the EU Framework for National Integration Strategies it is evident that the RVN will play a key role in enabling a range of stakeholders including researchers to observe and compare the progress of this initiative.” – Dr. Andrew Ryder, Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary).
“The project of the Roma Virtual Network is really unique in terms of scope of provided information on various aspects of the life of Roma, Sinti, Travellers and other related groups usually referred to as Roma. The contribution of the Roma Virtual Network and its founder, Mr. Valery Novoselsky, cannot be overestimated both in terms of awareness raising, dissemination of information and advocacy. The Roma Virtual Network has undoubtedly become by far the most extensive and detailed source of information about various aspects of the Roma issues. This is virtually unprecedented source of numerous and timely data on the situation of Roma in virtually all European states, emergencies and problems faced, as well as views of Roma leaders, organizations and communities on different issues.” – Boris Cilevics, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Latvia, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Rights of Minorities, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“Keeping in view that Roma are the oldest migrants from India, we have been making a cultural bridge between Roma and India. Ever since we got in touch with Roma Virtual Network, we are able to contact a large number of Roma organization and individuals of eminence importance and our activities with Roma have enhanced manifold. We receive latest information on Roma everyday through emails from Mr. Valery Novoselsky, who is running Roma Virtual Network. We personally feel if there is no communication from Roma Virtual Network on Roma, Roma people and we particularly people from India will not be able to know latest happenings on Roma. His efforts to unite Roma World are highly laudable and he deserves to be appreciated by one and all.” – Dev Bhardwaj, Director of India Inter-Continental Cultural Association (Chandigarh, India).