Public Engagement

As a teenager I joined the Peace Now youth group, was co-convenor of a left-wing political discussion and action group in Jerusalem, and first volunteered and subsequently worked as a coach at the Peace School in Neve Shalom / Waahat as-Salaam. As an undergraduate student I co-founded the Action Committee Against Racism and Xenophobia in Tübingen in 1984 and helped set up a national movement to support the right for asylum in 1986. During the 1980s I was a regular contributor to a series of political magazines and periodicals in Germany on issues of Israel/Palestine, immigration, multiculturalism, racism and anti-semitism and Roma rights, including Die Brücke, Kommune, Hamburger Rundschau, Die Tageszeitung, Kirpi, AK, and others. I worked first as a volunteer and part-time support worker and later as full-time media relations and policy adviser for the Rom & Cinti Union based in Hamburg between 1988-1995, and in that capacity helped coordinate the international campaigns for Roma rights and lobbying work at the Council of Europe, OSCE, European Commission, UNHCR and other international bodies. As an academic I served as adviser and rapporteur for the Council of Europe on issues of Roma migrations and Romani language policy (1995-2005) and was co-founder and elected member of the Scientific Committee of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies sponsored by the Council of Europe and the European Commission (2012-2016). As part of the Romani Project’s public engagement work at the University of Manchester I set up a training and resilience initiative for young Romani migrants and helped establish a local Romani Community Interest Group. As the founder and lead on Multilingual Manchester I initiated and led campaigns to support community or heritage languages and recognise the contribution of language supplementary schools, to amend the UK census question on language, to adopt UNESCO International Mother Language Day as an annual city-wide celebration and to draft a City Language Strategy, and co-authored the Call for a Multilingual Cities Movement. I serve as Research Advisory Board member of the charity Egality and am co-founder of the Manchester City of Languages initiative and co-author and co-initiator of the Multilingual Museum platform with Manchester Museum.