Gheorghe, Nicolae (Romania)
Nicolae Gheorghe was born on November 12, 1946 in Rosiori de Vede, Romania. His parents belonged to Roma groups that have been native to Romania for centuries. As a child he became more and more integrated into Romanian society, and against his parentsí wishes attended military school outside of Bucharest. He graduated from military school in 1968 and finished a degree in philosophy and sociology in 1972 at which time he began working at the Institute of Sociology in Bucharest.
Issues involving the Roma came to the forefront in the 1970ís when the Communist Party began trying to integrate them into society. In 1974 Gheorghe worked with the Communist Central Committee to cite causes of the marginalization of minority groups in Romania. The Romanian Parliament began talks on minority issues in 1975. One year later Gheorghe started dealing specifically with the integration of Roma youth.
As a result of his work he was vice president of the International Roma Union from 1991 until 1993 and started speaking at the OSCE and other international organizations that formerly did not recognize Roma issues. Georghe helped to pass Resolution 65/1993 through the UN Commission on Human Rights to help their issues get the recognition that they were due. In 1993 he also founded the Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies, which also strives for an improved situation for the Roma in Romania.
In addition to being a human rights activist he has also published several books on the Roma of Eastern Europe.. Georghe was banned from travelling during the last years of communist rule and was only allowed to publish elsewhere under a pseudonym.
He co-founded the Democratic Union and the Ethnic Federation of the Roma, both of which are not politically oriented and have a focus on human rights. The organization also assists the Roma themselves in practical matters, including issues that arise in schools and at work. They also helping them deal with matters that involve the state and essentially act as a mediator between the Roma and the public, as well as the government. He died on August 8th 2013.