With help of the Roma virtual Network the coming into existance of the Initiative is spread worldwide;
The official launch of this website takes place on 25 October;
Members start organizing themselves in Groups with coordinators: Cultural, Edicational, Media and Porrajomos. The public presentation of the Initiative and its website is on 19 November in Rotterdam on the IDEA conference "Samen in Europa";
Official number of Members is over 140 (most orchestras count as only 1), Facebook supporters: 1800.
There is a first orientation on fundraising and famous artists are invited to join as Honorary Member; a new Group Coordination is added to focus on PR, fundraising, translation and logistics;
There are three Main Ideas for events: the Caravan Project, a smaller one or two day event and a Cultural and Educational project, linked to universities;
Official number of Members reaches 174, Facebook supporters: over 2300
The Artists' Initiative starts working out more official structures: the movement needs a Board and a Foundation, in order to receive the financial support for the planned events. It is decided that the focus will be on Romani children and youth.
Members of the Coordination Group start to meet in person;
Official number of Members is 213. Facebook supporters: close to 3000
The Artists' Initiative starts preparing the ROMA FOR ROMA event in Rome, Italy, planned on 15, 16 September 2011, in which approximately 50 artists will participate. The Initiative applies for a grant from the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), Amsterdam.
Simultaneously the Initiative distributes its text "Commemorating the Future" about the practice of Apartheid in nowadays Europe.
With all this progressing February also brings a serious setback: Kasum Cana, writer, painter and activist, passes away. Not even four months old since the start of this website, the Artists' Initiative loses one of its most precious Members;
Official number of Members reaches 259. Facebook supporters: over 3000
The Artists' Initiative starts forming a Board and preparing a Statute for the new Foundation that is going to be called: World Artists' Initiative "Khetanes" (= all together in Romani)
Within the Initiative the IRADL group, initiated by Casimire Williamsii, becomes more and more important: International Romani Anti Defamation Group, that spots racism in culture, media and politics. The first letter sent out is drafted by Ciuin Ferrin and co-signed by a large group of Members. The letter is meant for A&E network in the United States, having broadcasted an episode "Bloodlines" (Criminal Minds) full of very strong prejudicm. It is decided that IRADL will become an integral component of the new Foundation. Glenda Bailey-Mershon and Ciuin Ferrin start working out a press pack.
While in the States TV is broadcasting a film full of dangerous stereotypes, in Europe neo-Nazis march in Novy Bydzov (Czech Republic). Lukas Houdek, photographer and reporter, has posted his photos on this site. Also in Hungary far-right vigilantes intimidate Roma populations. In most cases police is extremely passive;
Official number of Members 284. Facebook Supporters: 3574
After the marches by neo-Nazis in Czech Republic, there are marches, occupations and even training-camps of neo-Nazis in Hungary. The Roma population of Gyöngyöspata is strongly intimidated. Children are kept at home and even adults are afraid to leave the house. In the weekend of Eastern (24 and 25 April) almost 300 women and children are being evacuated by the Hungarian Red Cross, as there is a paramilitary training-camp near their village. The men stay at home to protect their valuables.
There is growing pressure on Hungarian authorities to act. Finally some of the neo-Nazi leaders are arrested, but the evacuation of 300 women and children is officially called a holiday trip;
Official number of Members 306. Facebook Supporters over 3600
On 25 May our successful Facebook Cause is closed by a former Member, in spite of our protests to him and to Facebook. We immediately start a new Cause: World Artists for Roma Rights, that by the end of May has approximately 600 Supporters.
Also in May the translation in English of the Statute for the new Foundation, by Niko Rergo, is finished and handed over to the notary. "World Artists Initiative Khetanes" becomes the name of the Foundation and the new name of this website.
In the Test Europe Now Group preparations start for summer events in Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic. Also the International Romani Anti Defamation League Group (IRADL) becomes more and more active.
Thanks to Glenda Bailey-Mershon there is huge progress in the preparation of the Press Pack;
Official number of Members 331. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1163
The final work on the Press Pack is done, that is going to be launched together with the Initiative.
Zoran Tairovic travels to Hungary, where he adds a beautiful fresco on one of the houses of the Bódvalenke Fresco Village. This project, managed by Eszter Pásztor, wins the Country Winner/ Honorary Award of Erste Foundation (chosen out of 1867 projects in Central-Eastern Europe). Zoran is also the painter who makes the sketches for a Formula 1 Fresco, on the occasion of the Formula 1 races to be held in Hungary in July.
Former President Václav Havel from Czech Republic cannot accept the patronage of a concert offered by Miret, due to his bad health. We do not cancel the event in Prague, but try to find someone who can replace Václav Havel.
Simultaneous we work on the Garden Project by Nadara: a plan to anable poor Roma families in Transylvania to buy pieces of land in order to stop the famine;
Official number of Members 352. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1398
On 18 July World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" becomes an official foundation.
The Press Pack is translated from English in Czech, German, Romanian, Turkish, Italian, Romani and several more languages. It will be distributed by the end of August.
Prof. Dr. Rajko Djuric joins the Initiative as Honorary Member.
The fresco made by Zoran Tairovic in Bódvalenke is not adopted by Formula 1 officials, due to a lack of time, but it is agreed that events will be planned for next year.
A long range plan "Test Europe Now!" is presented to all members;
Official number of Members 383. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1541
Last formalities are done to register the new Foundation in the Chamber of Commerce and to open a bank account.
It is decided that the first events in the framewok of Test Europe Now! will take place in Bódvalenke (Hungary) and Prague (Czech Republic).
An invitation is received (later confirmed in written) from the Congress of the Council of Europe to address the Summit of Mayors on Roma on 22 September 2011 in Strasbourg. On that day we will officially present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" and hand out the Press Pack in several languages;
Official number of Members 409, Facebook Supporters New Cause 1637 (4674 Likes)
Beginning of September our website is under maintenance and almost one week offline. The whole content is transfered to another account to prevent hackers from entering the site.
Immediately after the preparations for Strasbourg continue. The English Press Pack is translated in French, German, Romanian, Czech, Italian and Spanish. In these 7 languages we present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" on 22 September during the Summit of Mayors on Roma in Strasbourg. Both the introduction speech and the Press Pack are well received.
More translations will follow to forward the Press Pack to media and other interested institutions and individuals world-wide.
By the end of the month we focus again on submitting grants to finance the first activities in 2012, Test Europe Now!
Tensions grow in Europe. There are serious clashes in Czech Republic and Bulgaria. France is criticized by HRW for its mass deportations of Bulgarian and Romanian Roma, violating EU legislation;
Official number of Members 445. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1688 (4920 Likes)
Xylena joins as web administrator, creating a totally new design and introducing a special page "other languages", where Press Packs in many translations are posted. Pit is involved in designing all translated posters in 3 alphabets and many more languages.
Contacts are made with several foundations where we apply for grants. By the end of the month there are two meetings with members of Cabinets of the European Commission. The atmosphere is constructive and there will be a follow-up in December;
Official number of Members 467. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1748 (5028 Likes)
November weeks are spent to prepare for those meetings. Focus is on establishing a European Roma Orchestra and working out an educatiuonal and cultural program for schools, universities and community centres. Simultaneously we continue preparing a first concert by CHAVORENGE, the children's choir from Miret. Zoran is deeply involved in both the orchestra and plans about the Bódvalenke Fresco Village;
Official number of members 562. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1926
In January 2012 contacts with the European Commission take place in written and by phone. We are invited to present Khetanes in April in Brussels, during the celebration of International Roma Day.
Els visits the Cultural Contact Point (CCP) in Amsterdam; Ema Dei has a meeting with the CCP in Paris. In most EU countries CCPs are there to help with application grants meant for the European Commission.
On the site two new groups are established by Nedjo Osman and Zoran Tairovic on respectively Romani Theatre and Romani Film.
With Romano Kher, the National Roma Centre in Romania, we further confer on the position and development of the European Romani Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Paco Suarez;
Official number of members 618. Facebook Supporters New Cause 2012
In February the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the Cabinet of Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou sends invitations for the conference "The role of culture in Roma inclusion" to:
Zoran Tairovic (Serbia), Paco Suarez (Spain), Santino Spinelli (Italy) and Els de Groen (Netherlands). The evening concert will be given by Ida Kelarova and her children's choir. So, at least 5 artists from Khetanes will be in Brussels on 18 April. In the final programme more members may be involved.
Emma Dei and Valérie Debruche prepare a special group for cultural events in schools and at universities, including 5 or more countries. Also further discussions on of the Orchestra group take place.
Official number of members 670. Facebook Supporters New Cause 2066 (Likes: 5212)
In March Ema Dei establishes the new group "Romano Them Transmission", inviting all members, artists and scholars, to see whether they can contribute to special cultural programmes for schools, universities and community centres.
Intensive contacts through Skype help us preparing for 18 April. It is decided that all 5 speakers, representing Khetanes at the conference in Brussels, will focus on special issues. To evaluate the conference and to discuss future activities, several of us decide to stay one day longer.
Official number of members 717, Facebook Supporters New Cause 2109
(Likes: over 5200)
In April we present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" at the conference "From Segregation to Integration" in Brussels, organized by DG Education and Culture of the European Commission on 18 April. Paco Suarez, Zoran Tairovic, Santino Spinelli and Els de Groen all take the floor. Ida Kelarova is a speaker too, but too busy with the rehearsal for her great concert that evening in the Albert Hall.
The presentation of Khetanes is a success. Director Culture of the European Commission, Vladimir Sucha, compares our artists with his software and invites us to forward proposals for the Cultural Programme grants. We also have to thank Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, speaker at the conference as President of the Spanish Unión Romaní and Honorary Supporter of Khetanes. That day in Brussels he is our strong advocate and ally.
After the conference we stay one more day in Brussels to discuss future steps. There is a lot work ahead!
Official number of members 742, Facebook Supporters New Cause approximately 2120 (Likes over 5200)
In May a lot research is done on the grant possibilities. With our different projects we can apply for grants in the framework of the Culture Programme, the Media Programme and the Citizenship Programme.
The biggest group on our site is Romano Them Transmission (RTT) that prepares visits to schools, universities and community centres. After confering with the Cultural Contact Point in Amsterdam and an expert from Brussels, the Cizizenship Programme seems to offer the best possibilities.
May 2012 is also the month in which Paul Rafferty, secretary in the Main Board, joins us again on our site, after a dangerous operation and a long stay in hospital. Get better, Paul! We need you, your friendship and your optimism.