Press release

International conference – The role of religion in the social inclusion of Roma: past and present

Sibiu, 13.03.2024 – 15.03.2024

A scientific conference is being organized by the team members of the PARI project, a research project carried out by the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu and the VID University in Oslo. The international scientific conference, marking the end of the project, will be organized in partnership with the ASTRA Sibiu County Library.

The event will take place at the ASTRA County Library in Sibiu (Str. George Barițiu, no. 7, Buildings A and B), between March 13 and 15, 2024.

The opening ceremony of the conference will take place on Wednesday, March 13, in the Festive Hall of the ASTRA Library – Building A, floor 1, starting at 17:00, followed by the opening of the PARI Exhibition, in the Foyer of the library – Building B, at 18:00. The activities and research results of the PARI project, as well as photographs, documents or paintings, will be made public during the exhibition. The aim is to sensitize the public regarding the social inclusion of Roma people with the guidance of religious factors.  The exhibition can be seen from Monday to Friday, free of charge, between 08:00 and 20:00.

The following two days of the conference will be dedicated to scientific presentations: March 14 – Researchers’ Day – special guest historian Viorel Achim, and March 15 – Open Science Day – special guest Tatiana Podolinska, president of the Gypsy Lore Society. On Friday at 11:00 there will be a Round Table, which will include discussions with representatives of public institutions, NGOs and churches, and in the afternoon, from 14:00, a workshop on participatory methods will be held, supported by specialist in the field Inger-Marie Lid (VID University in Oslo).

The end of the conference will be marked by a concert performed by the children from the Matias Association in Jilava, Ilfov County, starting at 16:00, in the Festive Hall of the ASTRA Library.

Specialists, practitioners, representatives of NGOs, journalists, officials, teachers, theologians, researchers, students or any other person working in the sphere of social inclusion of Roma are invited at the event. There is no participation fee. The conference will be held bilingually, in Romanian and English, with simultaneous translation.

Prof. Stefan Tobler, Ph.D. (“Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu), manager of the PARI project, states: `Religion plays a decisive role in the context of Roma’s involvement within the present day society. It is in this sense, that we regard the role of the churches, regardless of their denomination, capable to achieve better results, and also the role of religious faith, capable to enforce a feeling of belonging within individuals, encouraging them to engage and solve daily challenges and to shape a better future.`


The conference is organized within the research project “The role of religion and religious actors in the social inclusion of Roma: towards a participatory approach” – acronym PARI – project of the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu and the VID Specialized University in Norway, financed through the program Norway Grants 2014-2021 and administered by UEFISCDI, through contract no. 38/2021 ( / Facebook – PARI project). The project initiates, stimulates and supports Romanian and Norwegian research on the inclusion of the Roma population, focusing on the (potential) role of religion and religious actors in relation to the inclusion/exclusion of Roma. The project combines sociological, theological and historical research.