Dr. Angela Kocze, a leading Hungarian Roma rights activist and scholar, is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, as well as a Research Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kocze has an interdisciplinary approach, combining political activism and policy-making with in-depth participatory research studies on the Roma situation in Hungary and elsewhere. Dr. Kocze also worked as a founding director of the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) in Brussels (2003-2004), as well as the former director of the human rights education program at the European Roma Rights Centre (1998-2003) in Budapest. Dr. Kocze was the founding director of the Romaversitas program (1996) in Budapest which offers a scholarship and mentorship for underprivileged Roma minority university students.
The World Youth Democracy Forum (WYDF) was founded in December 2008 as a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences, and projects among democracy practitioners, advocates, and emerging young democratic leaders. The Ion Ratiu Democracy Award (IRDA), established in 2005, aims to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas, ideals and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy.