Rebecca Adler Schiff is an Associate Professor in the Library at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.  In the library she has held the position of Coordinator of Media Services and is currently Coordinator of Reference Services.  Among her scholarly interests and publications are information literacy, accessibility of library services and resources, media librarianship, and American popular culture.  She has written more than thirty reviews of educational documentaries for Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO).  Most recently, she was awarded a PSC/CUNY grant to conduct research dealing with collection development of documentary films about the Roma.

Anette Åkerlund was born into a Roma family in Finland.  From 2009 she has studied flamenco singing and dance and composing in Spain i.e. in Sevilla in the Fundación Christina Heeren flamenco school’s singing department and in the Roma singer, Esperanza Fernández’s flamenco school, CAFS (Centro de Arte y Flamenco de Sevilla), singing department in 2010-2011 and in Barcelona in Esmuc (Escuela Superiór de Música Cataluña) flamenco department in 2014. Flamenco has been an important part of Anette’s studies in Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, where she has studied i.e. singing, piano, improvisation, modern dance and composing. Anette Åkerlund has performed i.e. in the groups such as: Zugara, which is a band she founded together with the Swedish flamenco guitarist, Patrik Bonnét and Amaro, in which she sings the Roma songs from different European countries with Miritza Lundberg.  She has done cooperation with a famous flamenco music group from Madrid, called Camerata Flamenco Project. She did the first gig together with the group Camerata Flamenco project & Anette in a famous ethno music festival, called Etnosoi! in Helsinki in Finland in November 2015.  At the moment she is preparing in Sibelius Academy her master consert, in which she is going to bring together the two traditions of her passion: the Finnish Roma songs and flamenco. Also an album of her own is in the plan soon.

Agneska Avin is currently a professional intern at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and holder of a Baltic American Freedom Foundation scholarship. She is a young Lithuanian researcher in the field of minority education, with a special focus on Romani community in Lithuania. Agneska finished her studies at Jagiellonian University in Cracow with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies (with a thesis about socio-cultural projects to build a positive image of Romani people in Romania) and a Master’s degree in American studies (with a thesis on migration of Romani people to the New World). She lives in Vilnius, Lithuania, where she works for several NGO’s serving immigrants and Romani communities in the city.

Margaret Beissinger teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.  Her research and writing focus on Balkan cultures and oral traditions, oral epic, and Romani traditional culture and music-making, with a focus on southern Romania, where she has undertaken extensive fieldwork, especially among Romani musicians.  She is the author of numerous articles and The Art of the Lăutar: The Epic Tradition of Romania, and is coeditor of two volumes: Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World: The Poetics of Community and Manele in Romania: Cultural Expression and Social Meaning in Balkan Popular Music, which was just published this past August.

Ioanida Costache, violinist and videographer, is currently pursuing a PhD in Musicology at Stanford University. Her scholarship focuses on Romanian-Roma music – muzică lăutărească – which she researched in Romania while on a Fulbright Research Grant in 2013-14. In Romania, Ioanida took lessons with a Roma violinist about whom she made a short documentary film which touches upon her own Roma identity and family history regarding Romanian-Roma music.

Suzanne Friedman (b.1951) currently lives and works in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. As an artist and writer, she draws inspiration from Nature,Romany culture, Judaism and Catholic imagery.

Lynn Hooker is Associate Professor of Music at Purdue University. Her book Redefining Hungarian Music from Liszt to Bartók was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. She has published widely on modernism, nationalism, race, and popular and folk music. Since 2000 she has been conducting fieldwork in Hungarian folk and popular music scenes in Europe and North America, focusing on the role of Romani performers. Her current book project addresses the transformation of Hungary’s “Gypsy music” industry in twentieth- and twenty-first century Hungary.

Hazel Marsh is a lecturer in the school of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia, UK. She has researched, and published on, representations of British Gypsies in ‘World Music’ festivals, George Borrow's construction of Gypsy identity, popular music and the Mexican student movement of 1968, Venezuelan cultural policy in the Chávez period, resistance music in 21st century Oaxaca, Mexico, and internal displacement in Colombia. Her publications include 'George Borrow and the Representation of English Gypsies' (2014) and the monograph 'Hugo Chávez, Alí Primera and Venezuela: The Politics of Music in Latin America' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Gonzalo Montaño Peña is a musicologist and researcher specializing in Flamenco. He combines academic training with knowledge of the intimate and familiar side of the Flamenco Gitano. Belonging to a family of artists of great importance in Flamenco, he has had the privilege of understanding the Flamenco Gitano both musically and philosophically and developing a deep knowledge of this music and dance. A music teacher and doctoral candidate at the University of Seville with a Master’s in Musicology, he is working on a thesis about the contribution of the Roma people to Flamenco. He has worked as a music critic and journalist for media specialized in Flamenco and collaborated on the production of shows and recordings. In 2014 he worked for the Roma Policy Coordination Unit of the European Commission. Now he works at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano as an activist for the rights of the Roma people.

With over 57 years researching/assimilating /performing/lecturing/ teaching classes and master seminars internationally in Near/ Middle Eastern and North African dance, learned "in culture" here and "Over There", Morocco has received numerous awards and accolades in her field. An interview with Morocco was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Dance Collection's Oral History Archives. Nominated as one of America's 100 Dance Treasures, her reference book (in its 5th printing), You Asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi & Raqs Shaabi is already published in German (2013) and Mandarin (2014), and will soon be in Spanish. She organized and for more than 32 years directed and choreographed for her dance company, Morocco & the Casbah Dance Experience, which had its official debut at Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival in 1978. She performed and lectured regularly in NYC's Museum of Natural History (1970-98). Her articles have been published internationally since 1965. She’s been both a presenter and subject of other's papers at CORD, ICHPER-SD/ UNESCO, CID and SDHS conferences. She filmed and produced 6 research videos/ DVDs that won the Giza Award. Morocco's Raqs Sharqi Movement Syllabus "The Fundamental Movement Vocabulary of Raqs Sharqi" has just been published in English and will be out in Mandarin this summer. She continues to teach and lecture internationally. (For a more detailed bio, go to:

Jud Nirenberg is president of the board of Macedonia's National Roma Center. He was CEO of the largest confederation of Roma organizations in Europe, the ERTF, in its inaugural year; is former director of Open Society Institute's Roma Program (the largest private funder of Roma civil society at that time); and has been a repeat guest lecturer at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute. He served as a Roma issues officer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is the author of Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to the Nazis (2016) and Gypsy Movements (2015), contributing author to Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe  and editor and co-author of Gypsy Sexuality: Romani and Outsider Perspectives on Intimacy.  Outside of Romani issues, he is a political risk and foreign aid consultant and a board member of the UN Association. He has a BA in international politics from The American University, an MBA from the Ecole Superieure de Gestion, and a certificate in leadership development practices from Harvard University.

Tess Lulu Orban is a New Jersey-based musician, activist and teacher. Her Romani in Art blog educates on Roma in visual and performing arts. She has also been a consultant on Romani culture to MTV.

Snezana Otasevic is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. The main fields of her research are feminist and political theory, as well as contemporary continental philosophy. Her doctoral project examines the relationship between purity and violence in the campaigns of linguistic purism, ethnic cleansing, and social cleansing in the former Yugoslavia from 1990 to the present. The part of her project that examines social cleansing is focused on a series of forced displacements of informal Roma settlements that took place in Belgrade between 2009 and 2012.

Filip Pospíšil is an anthropologist, human rights activist and journalist focusing on marginal groups and subcultures in the Central Europe. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Faculty of Humanities, Charles University Prague in 2010 and authored and co-authored several academic publications. He also took part in research, advocacy and campaigns on human rights and privacy rights. For 6 years he worked as a co-editor and commentator of cultural bi-weekly A2 in Prague. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) at NYU with the project Securitization as the answer of European countries to the Roma issue?

Nicholas Quinn-Panzer is a Hungarian-born American of Romani descent. Nicholas is honored to be making his first public speaking appearance at NYU's “Sare Patria: Romani Action Conference” talking about his cross-cultural identity. He is a senior majoring in Global Studies at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut and is an aspiring writer, actor, and cross-cultural consultant. He hopes his unique upbringing as a “global citizen” and as the adopted son of a non-Romani family can further showcase how diverse Romani-Americans are. During his collegiate career, Nicholas was fortunate to have studied numerous languages and cultures, traveled to 25 different countries, had the opportunity to live in Uppsala, Sweden, and participated in Semester at Sea. Feel free to contact Nicholas at nicholasquinnpanzer [at]

Jessica Reidy is a Brooklyn-based writer, and an English professor at LIM College. She is the winner of the Penelope Nivens Award for Creative Nonfiction, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, The Los Angeles Review, and other journals, and is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. She is an editor for The VIDA Review, an Art Teacher at Windmill Montessori School, and a Kripalu-certified yoga instructor offering yoga and creative writing workshops. Additionally, she performs Romani and Middle Eastern dance, and continues to work her family trade, fortune telling.

Presenter and Romani Dance Instructor, VOR co-founder, President, and Artistic Director Sani Rifati is a Rom from Kosovo who immigrated to the United States in 1993. Sani is a researcher and teacher specializing in Romani dances of the Balkans; he has taught at many international camps and festivals. Sani has broadened the scope of VOR events, organizing the 2002 Herdeljezi Benefit Concert in Kosovo and managing VOR's Romani Routes national tours including Esma Redzepova (2004) , Yuri Yunakov (2007), and KAL (2006 and 2008). 

Edita Rigová is a junior researcher and former Roma fellow at the Slovak Governance Institute (a non-profit, non-partisan civic association) located in Bratislava. Previously, she worked as a Policy Advisor in the team of Representative Alcee L. Hastings in the U.S. Congress through the Lantos-Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship Program. She also interned at organizations such as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR in Warsaw) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA in Vienna). Edita obtained an M.A. in Social Work in Slovakia and graduated from the MPA program at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She is also an alumna of the Roma Access Programs of the Central European University in Budapest.

Carol Silverman, Professor of Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Oregon, has been involved with Romani culture for over 30 years as a researcher, teacher, activist, and performer.  Focusing on Roma in Bulgaria and Macedonia and the American and West European diasporas, her research explores the intersection of politics, music, human rights, gender, migration and state policy with a focus on issues of representation.  Her current project examines appropriation and race in relationship to the globalization of “Gypsy” music.  Her book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (Oxford University Press, 2012) won a book prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Andrew Singer teaches courses in European literatures, literary translation, and creative writing at Penn State University, and is director and editor-in-chief of Trafika Europe (, showcasing new literature in English translation from the 47 countries of Council of Europe. With its acclaimed journal, planned European literary radio station, and literary events calendar, Trafika Europe seeks to empower greater community for Europe and increase mutual regard among the many cultures of Europe. The project explores issues of identity and belonging, such as migration and race, toward building more united and caring communities, overcoming divides of class, religion, nationality and ethnicity. It strives to be a bridge between traditional and online publishing, exploring transformational approaches, and build enthusiasm for lesser-known European literary cultures, while engaging a new generation online.

Péter Szűcs is a Budapest-based journalist, photographer and cultural anthropologist. He has a Master's degree from the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. A few years ago he started to research and take photographs of the 'Romani santuario,' called Csatkai búcsú, in Hungary. Before that he did a radio programme about the best-known western European Romani pilgrims in France, in les Saintes Marie de La Mer. As part of his new activity as a travel journalist, he has also done an exhibition of Cuban portraits entitled "Waiting for Obama" and one of Iranian portraits called "Persian portraits. Redefining manliness."

Eszter Tarsoly is and early career researcher and senior teaching fellow at University College London, specialising in language contact, minority languages, and the cross-linguistic diversity of attitudes towards language. Eszter's interests in minority languages include Yiddish and Romani, as well as Uralic languages (Mansi and Khanty in particular). Her PhD thesis (2016) explores the social, cultural, and language-typological factors that influence discourses of normative language varieties in Europe. Her projects have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies. She is currently writing a book chapter on Hungarian from a typological perspective and a journal article on the language-pedagogical implications of online translation tools. Her next project explores Hungarian and East European languages in a migrant context.

Sydnee Wagner is a PhD Candidate studying early modern English literature and culture at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation, Outlandish People: Gypsies, Race, and Fantasies of National Identity in Early Modern England, uses critical race theory, queer theory, affect theory, and biopolitics to focus on the construction of England’s white national project through the figure of the Gypsy. By focusing on notions of racial materiality, sexuality, and witchcraft, the dissertation project fleshes out the technologies of race making employed in literary and visual representations of early modern Gypsies. When she's not busying herself with academic projects, she is also a published poet, with work featured in Quail Bell Magazine, Drunken Boat Journal, and Bettering American Poetry 2015.

Sofiya Zahova is post-doctoral researcher at the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages (within the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Iceland) where she is working on a study of entanglement between Romani publications and identity politics. Her research interests are in the field of Romani studies, ethnicity, South-East European history, migration and minorities. Her publications include "Montenegro after Yugoslavia: Dynamic of Identity" (2013 in Bulgarian, forthcoming English edition) and "History of Romani Literature" (2014), she also co-edited with Mila Maeva the collection "Ethnography of Migrations: The Bulgarian in the Mediterranean" (2014 in Bulgarian).