Hungarian Conservative

Book Featuring Successful Hungarian Roma Men Launched at Mária Kopp Institute

István Antal, Ferenc Kunhegyesi, Zsolt Farkas, Oszkár Nyári, András Farkas (L-R) at the launch event of the book Fate Shapers – Stories of Successful Roma Men at the Mária Kopp Institute on 10 April 2024 in Budapest.
The launch of the book titled Fate Shapers – Stories of Successful Roma Men was held at the Mária Kopp Institute on Wednesday. The book presents the life stories of twelve successful Hungarian Roma men, serving as an inspiring example for the younger Roma generation.

The book launch event for Sorsformálók – Sikeres roma férfiak történetei (Fate Shapers – Stories of Successful Roma Men) took place on Wednesday in Budapest at the Mária Kopp Institute for Demography and Families (KINCS). Alongside the book presentation, an exhibition showcasing illustrations from the book was inaugurated.

President of KINCS Tünde Fűrész remarked that this book follows a previous publication featuring interviews with Roma women. She stated: ‘As a continuation of the interviews with Roma women, this time twelve successful, purposeful, and active Roma men share their life stories in Fate Shapers – Stories of Successful Roma Men.

Tünde Fűrész emphasized that the primary goal of the book is to showcase role models within the Roma community. These individuals offer hope through their life journeys and work to dispel the stereotypes that persist in Hungarian society.

According to the President of KINCS,

the situation of the Hungarian Roma community has significantly improved in recent years,

notably with a substantial increase in employment rates. Presently, one and a half times more people are employed compared to the early 2010s. This has resulted in a halving of income poverty and in-work poverty among them, as well as a reduction in the proportion of people living in overcrowded housing, particularly in catch-up settlements, largely due to housing subsidies.

Tünde Fűrész also noted progress in the social perception of Roma people. In her view, this reflects Hungary’s consistent and active policy of inclusion, which has been implemented for the past fourteen years alongside family and employment policies.

The President of KINCS remarked:

‘Our Roma compatriots are valuable and indispensable members of society, and we view them as a valuable resource. The new book serves as a tribute to successful Roma men and honours all Roma individuals who have managed to progress, demonstrate their capabilities, seize opportunities, and enhance their circumstances in recent years.’

Tünde Fűrész expressed gratitude towards István Antal, who initiated the creation of the volume, contributed as an editor, and is also featured within it. She also praised the illustrations in the book, which were provided by graphic artist Ferenc Kunhegyesi.

The book presents the lives of twelve successful Roma men, narrated through their own stories. Photo: KINCS

Government Commissioner for Roma Relations at the Ministry of Interior Attila Sztojka is also featured in the new publication. In his video message, he expressed that the new volume provides readers with the opportunity to delve into his life story, which he hopes will serve as an example for his fellow Roma. ‘Role models also signify to us that there is hope and an opportunity to rise up and move forward, even when circumstances may appear challenging,’ he stated.

The government commissioner emphasized that an institutionalized structure has been established over the past fourteen years providing individuals with opportunities for advancement, already yielding tangible results. The government’s objective is for the Roma community in Hungary to actively participate in and contribute to the process of becoming part of the middle class.

István Antal, research analyst at KINCS, editor of the book, and head of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) Roma Talent Program, highlighted the dwindling number of role models for Roma youth. He observed that Roma boys encounter greater difficulties in advancing, face significant challenges, and are at a higher risk of dropping out of school compared to girls.

According to István Antal, this book can provide young people with motivation and offer suggestions for solutions. The Roma men showcased in the book come from diverse backgrounds, with many facing very challenging circumstances. Despite this, all of them have accomplished remarkable feats and speak candidly about their trials, tribulations, dedication, and the motivation that has propelled them forward.

They have demonstrated their talent and ability to shape destiny in various fields,

including public life, science, sports, music, and the media.

Following its presentation at the Mária Kopp Institute an exhibition featuring illustrations from the book will be showcased at MCC. The book is available starting from Wednesday at Libri bookstores and in the KINCS e-bookstore.

In addition to Attila Sztojka and István Antal, the volume also features a diverse range of individuals: singer of Magna Cum Laude Misi Mező; Greek Catholic pastor Győző János Balogh; graphic designer Ferenc Kunhegyesi; Deputy State Secretary for International Relations at the Ministry of Agriculture Oszkár Ökrös; opera singer András Farkas; editor of Roma Magazin József Szénási; actor-director Oszkár Nyári; Deputy State Secretary for Social Inclusion at the Ministry of Interior Iván Sörös; footballer István Pisont; and musician, dancer, and choreographer Zsolt Farkas.

Related more on the Hungarian Roma community:

Is Roma Integration a Human Rights or an Economic Issue? — An Interview with István Forgács
The Roma Minority in Hungary
The launch of the book titled Fate Shapers – Stories of Successful Roma Men was held at the Mária Kopp Institute on Wednesday. The book presents the life stories of twelve successful Hungarian Roma men, serving as an inspiring example for the younger Roma generation.