REF Headquarters, Hungary

Nadir Redzepi
Executive Director

Email:
nadirr@romaeducationfund.org


Nadir Redzepi, born in 1963, is a Macedonian Roma. He holds a degree in Sociology from Corvinus University. Previously, he served as Senior Program Manager at Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma, an Open Society Foundations’ program from 2010-2015. He managed a portfolio of seven countries, providing technical assistance and capacity building interventions for accessing European Union funds, facilitating cooperation and institutional dialogue at the local level, and mobilizing civil society networks for advocating on behalf of Roma inclusion policies at the national level. Mr. Redzepi has extensive experience in Roma policies and initiatives, including Roma children’s education, Roma participation in policy design and policymaking, and the use of EU funds for Roma policy implementation. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, he was Executive Director of the Roma Democratic Development Association - Sonce in Tetovo, Macedonia (2004-2009). As a representative of Roma civil society organizations, he also was chosen as a delegate to the National Working Group that was formed as part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion initiative in Macedonia. Mr. Redzepi has served as a member of the Board of the Roma Education Fund (2007-2014) and shortly a member of the board of Roma Initiative Office at Open Society Foundations (2008-2009). Over the years, he has acted as an analyst and researcher, evaluator and trainer for the Council of Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Minority Rights Group and Open Society Institute, to name just a few. He has published a number of articles on Roma issues and he is presently an active member of the Alliance Group of the European Roma Institute (ERI).

Azra Junuzovic

Azra Junuzovic 
Deputy Director

Azra Junuzovic is a Bosnian national. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Sarajevo and an MA in Sociology from Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey. She also studied at Rutgers University in the United States focusing on inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream education settings. Azra most recently served as a Deputy Head of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). She led, coordinated and aligned activities in the area of tolerance and non-discrimination in 57 participating States of the OSCE. She has published extensively on the OSCE’s involvement in non-discrimination issues, education access in post-conflict environments and ethnicity and modern identities, including a book Sarajevo Roses – Towards Politics of Memory. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, she worked on humanitarian issues with the Danish Save the Children. 

Anastasia Primbas JelasityAnastasia Primpa Jelasity
Fundraising and Communication Officer

Email: ajelasity@romaeducationfund.org

Anastasia Primpa Jelasity, a dual citizen of Greece and USA, started her career working as a business English and communications trainer in the US, Czech Republic, and Germany. After moving to Serbia in 2002, Anastasia made the change to civil society, first implementing Gender and Corporate Social Responsibility programs at Center for Democracy Foundation, and later responsible for strategic planning for the Association of Business Women in Serbia. Anastasia has a BA in Political Science from DePaul University and MA in Applied Linguistics from University of Illinois in Chicago.


Anasztazia NagyAnasztazia Nagy
Program Officer

Email:
anagy@romaeducationfund.org

Anasztazia Nagy is a Roma from Hungary working as programme officer at the REF. Currently she is coordinating and managing the Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin project portfolio. She graduated at the Budapest Corvinus University – Faculty of Public administration in 2002 and holds a MA degree in public policy, Central European University, Budapest.  She is very committed to improve the educational situation of Roma since she believes that this is the field which can significantly change the future of the Roma pupils. She was also active member of the Roma community during her studies.

 

Azam Bayburdi
Administrative Officer

Email:
abayburdi@romaeducationfund.org

Azam Bayburdi is a Russian national and holds an MBA in Finance, Statistics, and Management from the Greenwich University of London, UK. Azam also holds a degree in Hindi Philology from the department of Philology, Leningrad State University and participated in the Hindi Philology Fellowship program of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. She was also a legal administrator at the European Roma Rights Center and Assistant to the Academic Pro-Rector at Central European University. Before joining REF as Administrative Assistant, Azam worked for the Ministry of Education, Office of the Minister’s Commissioner for Integration of Roma and Disadvantaged Children as a Consultant. Azam joint REF in November 2012.

Beata Bislim Olahova Beata Bislim Olahova
Grant Program Manager

Email: bolahova@romaeducationfund.org

Beata Bislim Olahova has been working at the Roma Education Fund in Budapest as a Project Grant Program Manager since 2006. Beata holds BS/BA honors degree in Business Management and an MBA from the Central European University Business School, Budapest. Since 2007, Beata has been a Member of the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), having been nominated by the Slovak Republic. Before joining REF, Beata was involved in many human rights actions; among others, she worked with the European Roma Rights Center as a legal monitor for Slovakia where she was involved in human rights monitoring and worked to investigate potential cases of discrimination and human rights abuse. As a student of the post-graduate Roma Diplomacy Program of the Diplo Foundation, she participated and contributed to the international events on Roma Diplomacy, as a Challenge for European Institutions.

 

Beata ProkajBeata Prokaj
Finance and Administrative Coordinator

Email: bprokaj@romaeducationfund.org
 
Beata Prokaj, a Hungarian national, holds an MA degree in Economics. Beata’s career started in the private sector, from which she moved to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a Staff Development Clerk. She joined REF in June 2010 as a Finance and Administrative Coordinator working on the EU Roma Pilot A Good Start project.


Dan Pavel Doghi
Higher Education Program Manager

Email: ddoghi@romaeducationfund.org

Dan Pavel Doghi (Romania) worked for seven years as Officer on Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues. Since 1996 Mr. Doghi has been helping the development of Roma organizations. Between 2000–2004 he was Program Coordinator at the Open Society Foundation’s spin-off Resource Center for Roma Communities in Cluj. He also worked as an advocacy fellow on Roma educational matters for Columbia University’s Public Interest Law Initiative in Budapest. He studied social work at Babes-Bolyai Universisty in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and completed a postgraduate course in International Diplomacy at Malta University.

dzhevid mahmud

Dzhevid Mahmud
Program Officer

Dzhevid Mahmud is a Roma from Bulgaria. He holds a Masters in Law from Bulgaria and MA in Public Policies from the Central European University, Budapest. His career working for wider Romani participation began when he was part of the first Roma Political Academy in Bulgaria in 2001. More recently he worked for the Open Society Archives Roma Digital Repository Project and held several consultancies with the World Bank and the Roma Education Fund. He has also been involved in Human Rights litigation and education as Legal Trainee at the European Roma Rights Centre. In 2013, he won a professional fellowship from the US State Department for exchanging experience in the field of community organising and empowerment. In 2015-16 he led the New Professional Program of the International Council on Archives for a year.
 

Erzsebet Bader
REF Scholarship Program
Program Officer

Email: ebader@romaeducationfund.org


Erzsebet Bader is a Hungarian Roma, holds a BA degree in English studies. She worked as international coordinator at the Roma Press Center in Budapest, prior to that participated in one project of the European Roma Rights Centre as a researcher, focusing on Roma education in Hungary and took part in a Media and Marketing training program of the Centre for Independent Journalism, Budapest, held for local TV stations in Hungary as assistant. In 2007 Erzsebet was a press coordinator of the Chachipe photo contest, organized by the Open Society Archives and Open Society Institute, Hungary.


Ionica Toader
Finance Coordinator

Email: itoader@romaeducationfund.org
 
Ionica Toader joined the Finance Department in early 2016. After graduating from the Roma Graduate Preparation Program at CEU in 2015, she interned at REF. She has a BA in Economics, Finance and Banking from the Duarea De Jos in Galati, Romania and worked as an accountant for several years.



Jozsef PetrovicsJozsef Petrovics
IT Officer

Email: jozsef.petrovics@romaeducationfund.org
 
Jozsef Petrovics is a Hungarian Roma. He soon will graduate from the University of Pecs with a BSc in Physics with a specialization in Information Technology. He previously worked for two years as a mentor and teacher at the Khetanipe Association in Pecs. He joined REF in the spring of 2016. Jozsef was a REF Roma Memorial University Scholarship Program recipient and also a member of RomaVersitas.


Marko PecakMarko Pecak
Research Officer

Email: mpecak@romaeducationfund.org
 
Marko Pecak was born in Croatia. A US citizen, Marko holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Public Policy from University of California Berkeley. Marko was a Roma Education Fund intern in 2012, and his professional experience includes establishing and managing a Native American Public Health Research Center with a focus on community-based participatory research. While at UC Berkeley he received the school's Human Rights Fellowship where he supported Romani research and advocacy projects at Harvard University. Marko’s professional focus is on community participation in the research and policymaking process, as well as how research and advocacy can be used for community empowerment.


Merziha IdriziMerziha Idrizi
REF Scholarship Program
Program Officer

E-mail:
midrizi@romaeducationfund.org 


Merziha Idrizi is a Roma from Macedonia. She holds International Masters degree in Public Policy (Higher Education Policy and Management) from the Central European University, Hungary and a Bachelor degree in Economics, Financial Management from the University of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”- Macedonia. She has an extensive working experience on education of Roma minority in secondary and tertiary  level. With previous work as a Program Coordinator of a secondary scholarship program “Alliance for Inclusion of Roma in Education” within the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia, Merziha in 2007 joined the Roma Education Fund`s Scholarship Program for tertiary education. As a Program Officer of the REF Scholarship Program for Central, Eastern Europe and mostly the Western-Balkan countries, she has been working with different stakeholders, ministries of education, donors, students, -alumni networking on a national and international level. She has a voluntary work experience with non-governmental organizations working on Youth policies.


milena babic

Milena Babic
Program Officer

Email: mbabic@romaeducationfund.org

Milena Babic, a Croatian and Serbian national, holds an MA in Social Development Practice from London Metropolitan University, UK, and BA from Pedagogy University of Osijek, Croatia. Milena’s interest in Roma integration issues commenced with the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and her work in that area intensified through the activities of local Croatian organization Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance – Vukovar where she was the Project Manager of OSI/MtM supported Project Generation Facility Croatia. She also consulted to the Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Government of Croatia in various Roma integration related activities, among which in creation of the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion 2013-2020 and the Action Plan for implementation of the NSUR 2017-2019.

Nevsija Durmish

Nevsija Durmish
Program Officer

Email:ndurmish@romaeducationfund.org

Nevsija Durmish is a Roma national from Macedonia. She holds an International Baccalaureate Diploma from United World College of the Adriatic in Italy, and a BA degree in English Language and Literature. She has a 9-year work experience in the field of education. With previous work at the Program for Higher Education of Roma – Romaversitas in Skopje and coordinating the project “Alliance for Inclusion of Roma in Education” at the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia, Nevsija is also a published co-author of the Romani language grammar “Gramatika Romskog Jezika” in Croatia and primary school textbook “Romani čhib 1” in Kosovo. She is currently on maternity leave. 

Peter Toth

Peter Toth
Chief Financial Officer

Email: ptoth@romaeducationfund.org 

Peter Toth is a Hungarian national who graduated from the Budapest University of Economics in 1997 and earned a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2001. He joined the Roma Education Fund in May 2014. He is a finance professional with over 15 years of broad international business experience in multicultural environments in the Central Europe and the Balkans. He is a member of supervisory board of the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities.

 

Radoslav Kuzmanov
REF Scholarship Program
Program Officer

Email: rkuzmanov@romaeducationfund.org

Radoslav Kuzmanov is from Bulgaria. Before joining REF as Program Officer in Scholarship Program, he   worked for more than 6 years for the Roma NGO Organization Drom, Vidin, Bulgaria, where he was involved in the implementation of projects dealing with Roma education, desegregation, public awareness, and advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master Degree in Psychology from South West University in Bulgaria. In 2012 he graduated the Roma Access Program in Central European University - Budapest.

roland ferkovics

Roland Ferkovics
Advocacy Officer

Email: rferkovics@romaeducationfund.org

Roland Ferkovics is a Roma from Hungary. He holds a BA degree from the University of Szeged and an MA in Political Science from the Central European University. His interest is on Roma political representation and participation with a special focus on Hungary. Roland worked in researches related to these issues for various institutions and universities. Among others he was researcher in the work of Penn State University, Columbia University, Roma Education Fund and Open Society Justice Initiative. In early 2016, he has been appointed by the US Embassy of Budapest to the Transatlantic Inclusive Leadership Network of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He is also the main author of a study being recently published in the Croatian Political Science Review as well as the co-author of other work published in the Ethnic and Racial Studies.  

Svetlana D. Hristova

Svetlana Hristova
Communication Manager

Email: shristova@romaeducationfund.org  

Svetlana D. Hristova graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from Sofia University in 1998 and obtained a MA in Sociology from Central European University in 2000. In 2010 she defended her PhD thesis, “The Public Image of Roma, Constructed by Community Media,” at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She previously worked as a public relations specialist for a public health program at the Ministry of Health in Bulgaria, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Her interests encompass ethnic minorities, educational inequalities and community media.

Tom Bass
Communication Officer

Email: tbass@romaeducationfund.org

Tom Bass has been a communication for development professional for REF since 2011. He has a BA from the University of Texas-Austin, an MA in Political Science from the Central European University, an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and a certificate in literary translation from the Balassi Institute in Budapest. He has formerly worked as an editorial consultant for the Open Society Foundations and other prominent international organizations on issues of public policy, governance and minority affairs.