The Roma communities have suffered stigmatisation for many decades in many parts of the European Union. Discrimination and poverty are among the main obstacles to their integration in society. The most important problem is the lack of understanding of Roma people's everyday realities. This is why the ROMED Programme has stepped in which is a joint European Commission / Council of Europe initiative in school, culture and health mediation designed to improve the lives of Roma people. Since 2011 the programme trained over 1000 people who helped to establish better communication between the Roma community and the rest of the society. This helped many Roma people to overcome the challenges they are facing in education, employment, housing and healthcare.
Key speakers at the Congress include Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. Mediators from across Europe will share their experiences and will participate in an open debate on education for Roma communities and migrants. On the evening of 17th January the Italian-based Roma band Orchestra per la Pace will give a concert.