With this year's graduation ceremony the Romani Studies Program has reached another milestone: in addition to graduating the 18th RGPP cohort, a non-degree preparatory program, for the first time, our newest certificate program, the Advanced Certificate Program in Romani Studies has also graduated its first students.
The Advanced Certificate Program in Romani Studies came to life in the fall of 2022 after many years of preparation and curriculum development. The program is approved and registered by the New York State Education Department, and it is available to MA and PhD students at CEU. It offers core knowledge, expertise and critical competences and skills to lead educational and research projects as well as design and implement policies related to Roma equality, social inclusion and diversity management. The program is designed as an inclusive inter-disciplinary advanced certificate program for Roma and non-Roma students.
The launch of the Advanced Certificate Program was a remarkable step towards institutionalizing Romani Studies at CEU and beyond. Launching a program during the pandemic was not easy, but we had an excellent group of students and faculty. We are very proud of the very first graduates.
– said Angela Kocze, chair of Romani Studies Program.
In June, three students MA students, Tayla Myree, Department of History, Mihaela Lisia Pamfilie, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, and Alba Hernandez, Department of Gender Studies earned their Advanced Certificates in Romani Studies Program.
I chose to participate in the Advanced Certificate Program in Romani Studies because I knew that taking courses and having access to specific literature would help me with my MA thesis. I don't think I would've had access to any of the readings that I had access to or had someone that could advise me more thoroughly on my topic, especially on the theoretical piece. I think it was my favorite decision I made at CEU, because of the workshop teaching methods with other students that the program offered. I made a lot of friends and colleagues I'll probably keep working with after the end of the program.
I think it was really important for me to point out that the archives are not the best place if you are trying to do Romani history because there's a lot of absence in the archives and even if there's presence, it's not well organized. Communities with marginalized identities are rarely placed in national history or have complex memories archives at all. I think I have further developed this understanding while taking courses in the Program, and I believe this progressive lens is beneficial for other history students.
– said Tayla about her experiences with the Program.
Lisia also emphasized the unique qualities of the program, and what she gained from taking classes with us:
Because I wrote my MA thesis proposal about a specific Roma community, I kept exploring the elective courses of other departments, and that’s how I took some of the required classes of the AC without even knowing about the Program. At last, when I heard about the Program, I enrolled officially, and I began to understand what critical approaches to Romani studies was meant to achieve.
The curriculum expanded my previous understanding, going beyond class and poverty and helped me approach not only my thesis topic but also the world around me from an intersectional perspective.The most valuable thing for me was the group that we had during the year, students that were concerned about the same things, that shared their experiences in the safe space that we created, students that made Vienna feel like home for me. I felt connected and motivated throughout the year to do the readings, to engage in discussions and to offer and receive feedback from them. I am deeply grateful that the courses I took for the AC guided me in writing my thesis, challenged me to question the certainties I had, but also provided resources that expanded my knowledge.
Currently, I am doing research for a Roma NGO that values the skills and knowledge I developed through participating in the AC Program and I am planning to apply to a PhD program.
Alba, the first RGPP alumna who completed the Advanced Certificate Program, also talked about the added value of the transferable knowledge and skills the Program provides:
The AC has given me new insight not only about Roma community, but I also learned about concepts useful for writing MA thesis and beyond. The readings and classroom discussions have broadened my theoretical knowledge, and I believe I have learned how to apply these theories while discussing issues and interventions related to other minority or disadvantaged groups. This is the most remarkable thing about the AC.
In my view, the program is quite complete and intense. Students will gain specific knowledge that they will not find in other programs of this kind. Class discussions are an essential part of the learning process where you can not only get to share your opinion, but through the reflections of your classmates, you get to see the whole picture and learn how to think critically.
I believe that both RGPP and AC programs along with my academic background and previous work experience make my education complete and these skills and experiences are valuable when searching for a job. I have recently been offered the Junior Expert consultant position at OSCE's Sinti and Roma Contact Point in Warsaw, Poland.
All theses are focusing on Roma communities and will be accessible in the CEU’s digital thesis collection.
The Advanced Certificate Program’s application will be open again in the beginning of the next academic year. We invite every CEU MA/PhD student to attend the general presentation during the zero week in September. For more information about the requirement and deadlines, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.