Remarks at the Public Education Roundtable in honor of International Roma Day

State Secretary Laszlo Palkovics, esteemed members of the panel, ladies and gentleman,

Good afternoon!

It is my great pleasure to join you here to observe International Roma Day.  Since 1990, this day has been set aside as an opportunity to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues and daily challenges facing the largest single ethnic minority on the European continent – the Romani people.

Today’s important roundtable discussion will explore Romani achievements and contributions to global culture in general, and especially to Hungarian history and society.  And today’s event will serve to develop a roadmap to the inclusion of all Roma accomplishments in textbooks and educational materials.  It is only through educating ourselves about the complex and nuanced traditions of other cultures that we grow in knowledge and learn to see beyond stereotypes and prejudice.

We must recognize that each individual, regardless of background, deserves a fair and equal chance to succeed in life, professionally and personally.  This means ensuring equal access to education and employment opportunities, healthcare, and housing.

As Secretary of State John Kerry noted on the occasion of last year’s International Roma Day,

“That’s why today and every day we renew our commitment to ensuring that all people – regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or creed – are allowed to reach their full potential.

Only then can we empower not just the Roma people, but all people.”

On the occasion of International Roma Day, I congratulate the Roma people for your rich cultural heritage and your tireless efforts to ensure a bright future for your community.  I wish you great success in your discussions today.  Thank you.