Roma Education Fund Appoints Andrzej Mirga as Board Chair

The Roma Education Fund is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Board Chair, Andrzej Mirga. Mr. Mirga joined the Board of the Roma Education Fund in 2014.
Mr. Mirga was born in a small Roma settlement in Czarna Gora, Poland in 1954 to Polish Romani parents. He became the first Romani student at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, completed his studies in the history and philosophy department (1976-1980). He has been actively involved in the Romani movement since his days as a student.

As a student, teacher, writer and activist, Mr. Mirga has a longstanding practical connection to Roma education. He has taught at Jagiellonian University in Poland and Rutgers University in the United States and written extensively on issues related to Roma, including Roma education, from the perspective of sociology, political science, human rights and public policy.

Mr. Mirga has engaged with Roma issues in his native Poland and more broadly across Europe. He has served as a leading expert and advisor on Roma issues to the Government of Poland, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the OSCE. From 2006-13, he served as OSCE ODIHR Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues and chief of the ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues.  

Speaking about his work with REF, Mr. Mirga stated: “I am honoured to accept the Board’s appointment as Chair. Ensuring the ability of Romani children to access high quality, inclusive education is essential to help Roma break the cycle of poverty and discrimination that has afflicted Romani communities for generations. Improving the education of Roma is a moral, political and economic imperative.  With programs spanning early childhood education to advanced university study, the Roma Education Fund has demonstrated that Romani students can succeed. I am excited to be contributing to REF’s work and helping to ensure that Roma reach their full potential as European citizens.” 

REF particularly wishes to note the contribution of Rob Kushen, the outgoing Interim Chair and a member of the REF Board since 2009, for his hard work, dedication and keen eye for REF's governance procedures.

Mr. Kushen will continue in his post as a board member and as a member of the Executive Committee.