Violeta Vajda is the Resident Program Manager in Hungary. Over the past two years, Violeta has managed Breaking Down Barriers - a multi-country program focused on building the capacity of Romani activists to conduct targeted issue-based advocacy in order to combat discrimination and violence against Roma citizens. It worked with 39 communities in the three countries, and also with Roma activists in the Czech Republic, to establish groups of Roma and non-Roma citizens capable of advocating for issues important to their constituencies at the local, national and European level.
Prior to joining NDI, Violeta worked as an advocacy advisor and manager of programs related to Roma rights, active citizenship and volunteering across Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, Central Asia and China. She has more than 20 years of experience in Central and Eastern Europe and 10 years of experience in creating and sustaining partnerships with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), European networks, and international organizations. In addition, Violeta is a consultant and researcher with the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom on projects related to racism and discrimination, most recently in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
As an academic, Violeta writes about the role that critical whiteness theory can play in Romani Studies and how it may be possible to re-conceptualize non-Roma identity so that it becomes a progressive and positive driver that can ultimately underpin the emancipatory efforts of the Romani movement. Her most recent article on this subject appeared in the European Roma Rights Journal on December 7, 2015 (http://www.errc.org/roma-rights-journal/roma-rights-2-2015-nothing-about-us-without-us-roma-participation-in-policy-making-and-knowledge-production/4433/7)
Violeta was born in Timisoara, Romania and has lived for many years in London, UK, before moving to Budapest. She holds a first degree in Finances and Accounting from the University of Timisoara, as well as an MSc in Development Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Conflict and Development from the Open University in the UK.