Margareta (Magda) Matache is a Roma rights activist from Romania, director of the Roma Program at Harvard FXB, and also a Harvard instructor. In 2012 she was awarded a Hauser postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard FXB and founded the Roma Program here at that time. In April 2017, she shepherded Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution, FXB’s very successful fifth annual event to mark International Roma Day. The University of Pennyslvania Press published her latest book Realizing Roma Rights in spring 2017. This volume, which she co-edited with Andrzej Mirga and FXB’s research director, Jacqueline Bhabha, investigates anti-Roma racism and documents a growing Roma-led political movement engaged in building a more inclusive and just Europe. From 2005 to 2012 Matache was the executive director of Romani CRISS (www.romanicriss.org), a leading NGO that defends and promotes the rights of Roma.
During her tenure as executive director, Romani CRISS took a stand against discrimination in landmark cases targeting the president, prime minister, and foreign minister of Romania. The organization’s advocacy and litigation efforts also contributed to the approval of the domestic School Desegregation Bill. Prior to this work Matache served as a youth worker and trainer on cultural diversity and minority rights. She has also worked as an election observer in the Western Balkans and has implemented well-known initiatives, including “Roma and the Stability Pact in South-Eastern Europe” and “Roma Use Your Ballot Wisely.” She completed her doctoral research work in the early childhood development of Romani children at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Bucharest, and holds a Master’s degree in European Social Policies. Her publications and research have covered the rights, agency, and social ecology of Romani children and adolescents, early childhood development, Romani women, anti-Roma violence, and segregation in education.