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FESTIVAL OF ROMA CULTURE ROMANO ČHON
Romano Čhon is a festival presenting Roma culture – its music, dance, poetry, film, puppets, workshops, lectures and exhibitions. The purpose of these activities is to open up Slovenian and European space to embrace the rich traditions of the Roma culture, to promote the creativity of the Roma people, and to increase awareness about the discriminated status of the Roma people in our societies. We have decided to organize the Festival in April because 8 April is the World Roma Day and since springtime symbolizes openness and optimism.
The Festival complements the “Dosta!” campaign, countering prejudice and stereotypes regarding the Roma people. This campaign is part of a joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. In Slovenia, the campaign was officially launched on 17 November 2008, and it is carried out by the Office for Nationalities of the Republic of Slovenia in co-operation with the Information Office of the Council of Europe. The purpose of the Festival programme is not merely to expose the rich cultural heritage of the Roma, but also to warn about their social exclusion, in line with the principles and goals of the European Year of Inter-Cultural Dialogue (2009) and theEuropean Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010), as well as the recommendations by the“Roma Decade 2005-2010”, carrying out political reforms and programmes designed for elimination of the vicious circle of Roma poverty and social exclusion. In 2011 we are joining the directions of European Year of Volunteering and ‘Roma Routes’ project – a project supported by the Council of Europe, in partnership with heritage organisations from United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Romania and Slovenia, showcasing Roma culture to create a Roma Route of Culture and Heritage.
The Festival has been organized/carried out by: The Slovene ethnographic museum (SEM), Roma Academic Club and Association of Creative People in Culture (ZULK), which is also the coordinator of the partnership cooperation and inter-city cooperation.
The structure is designed as equal partnership of a public institution and two associations comprising the members of various ethnicities. Each partner – convener is responsible for the realization of the programme on the local level. This partnership is a result of matching interests of individuals (authors), who have effectively used inter-cultural dialogue to create the synergy necessary for realization of complex projects.
SEM is a museum “about people, for the people”, a museum of cultural identities, the space of dialogue between the past and the present, between our own and foreign cultures, between nature and civilization. SEM is a well-established organization, which enabled the Festival’s placement on the map of Roma cultural paths. The Representative of SEM in the project is Mr. Ralf Čeplak Mencin.
RAK - Roma Academic Club, active since May 2008, brings together Roma students and intellectuals. Established by a group of Roma intellectuals during the world Roma festival “Khamoro” in Prague, it currently has 30 members, including 15 students. RAK has been developing rapidly and reveals promising prospects regarding the social affirmation of the Roma people in the future. RAK is represented in the project through Ms. Samanta Baranja.
ZULK- Association of Creative People in Culture was established in 2003 and has a status of public interest association. While the basic motive behind its establishment was to bring together creative people in various fields, ZULK also seeks to promote development of a more healthy, happy and tolerant society, by infusing art with social elements. Ms. Mira Muršič is the representative of ZULK in this project.
Authors of the project and members of the expert committee are: Ralf Čeplak Mencin, Samanta Baranja, Vinko Cener, Polona Červek, Mira Muršič in Enisa Brizani.
A larger number of authors imply a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience of individual authors, the particularities of their skills and expertise. At the same time, they all have a common objective to help co-shape “good society”.