Longtime activists and Roma scholars Iulius Rostas and Angela Kocze were named Chair/Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor, respectively, of CEU's recently launched Roma in European Societies (RES) initiative. Rostas brings nearly two decades of professional and academic experience to the position and has been affiliated with CEU for several years as a visiting lecturer and an Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) fellow. Kocze is an alumna of CEU and is currently a visiting assistant professor at Wake Forest University's Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), as well as a research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Sociology and an affiliated research fellow at CEU's Center for Policy Studies.
In March of this year, CEU announced the RES initiative that was awarded a grant of €1,997,500 (14,981,250 Danish Kroner) from Danish grantmaker THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS. That grant was matched by the Open Society Foundations’ Roma Initiatives Office (RIO) and the Roma Education Fund (REF). The first of its kind in higher education, this collaborative initiative will support efforts to improve the situation of Roma in all sectors at local, national, and regional levels through teaching and research, leadership development, and community outreach. CEU and other funders are also investing an additional €1 million over a six year period.
As Chair, Rostas will oversee this entrepreneurial initiative that builds on the track record of CEU's Roma Access Programs (RAP) which has, for the past 11 years, focused on ensuring equal access to higher education for Roma and has graduated more than 220 students. He will also facilitate engagement between partner universities, government entities, civil society organizations, and the business community, with the aim of strengthening global networks of researchers and advocates dedicated to Roma advancement and inclusion. In his role as assistant professor, Rostas will teach courses.
In addition to his work at CEU, Rostas also taught courses such as Introduction to Sociology, Policies towards Roma in Europe and Studies in Equal Opportunities at nearby Corvinus University. Rostas has also worked for the government of Romania, the European Roma Rights Center, the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, and several Roma programs at the Open Society Foundations. He served as a consultant for the Roma Education Fund, OSCE, the World Bank and the European Commission. Kocze's main research areas are social inequality, gender and ethnic/racial intersectionality, equality and child poverty. She has done extensive research and has published on Roma issues, including topics such as Roma participation in higher education; intersectionality of gender, class and race; Roma identity; and women in Roma communities.
Kocze also brings with her an impressive background working with Roma-related NGOs and the Hungarian government as a senior policy advisor in the Ministry of Social and Labour Affairs. She worked with various Roma-related organizations. She was the director of the human rights education program at the European Roma Rights Center and the founding director of the Romaversitas program in Budapest, which offers scholarship and mentorship to underprivileged students. Angela will join RES beginning in the 2017/2018 academic year and will teach courses that connect Romani studies to theoretical areas such as critical race and post-colonial theory; race, class, and gender intersectional inequality; critical global development; sociology of violence and human rights.
Rostas earned both his BA and PhD at Babes–Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania. In 2001, he received an MA in human rights from CEU's Department of Legal Studies with his dissertation titled “Post-communism and Ethnic Minorities: Policies Towards Roma in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.” Kocze received her BA at the Teacher Training College in Budapest, after which she earned an MA in sociology at ELTE. She then came to CEU where she earned another MA in human rights in the Department of Legal Studies and, in 2011, her PhD from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology.