The Ford Foundation has awarded CEU a $350,000 grant to further expand the University's work on promoting access, rights, and justice for Europe's most marginalized community, the Roma. CEU's Roma programs include the CEU Roma Access Programs (RAP), initiated with Ford Foundation funding in 2004, and a new University-wide initiative for Roma advancement and inclusion.
In announcing the grant, CEU President and Rector John Shattuck said, "CEU is grateful to the Ford Foundation for reaffirming the University's role as a leading voice on Roma advancement. CEU is proud to partner with the Ford Foundation, an institution committed to promoting human rights and justice around the world, to expand upon these successful initiatives."
The only program of its kind in the world, RAP addresses the roadblocks to Roma integration in higher education and professional life and it aims to build a critical mass of educated Roma who have the skills and experience necessary to work across borders, conduct advocacy work on the international stage, and serve as successful role models and mentors who encourage other young Roma to succeed.
The Ford grant supports RAP's flagship program, the Roma Graduate Preparation Program (RGPP), which prepares talented young Roma with the academic and English-language skills required to win placements in and competitive scholarships to social science graduate degree programs at prestigious universities worldwide.
Since its founding in 2004, RGPP has graduated more than 120 talented Roma youth prepared to shatter stereotypes and break down barriers to education, employment, housing, health, and environmental resources. The University partners with funders around the globe to provide full scholarships for the 10-20 annual participants, allowing them the freedom to focus solely upon their studies, without undue financial burdens.
During each RGPP cycle, 10-20 participants receive a full scholarship including room and board. The students take English language classes and academic writing courses; receive personalized tutoring in a discipline of their choice; audit master's level classes at CEU; receive guidance on the application process for graduate programs and scholarships; and actively participate in public lectures, academic conferences, and seminars.
The Ford Foundation grant will allow CEU to strengthen and build upon the RGPP program and to develop a University-wide initiative that leverages CEU's expertise and resources to expand the critical role higher education can play in counteracting systemic issues faced by vulnerable Roma across the region.