November 23, 2022

Roma organizer from North Macedonia discusses democracy with Barack Obama at the democracy summit in Copenhagen

Selvije Mustafi (far left), a Roma activist from North Macedonia, in discussion with former US President Barack Obama (far right) during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in 2022.

Roma organizer Selvije Mustafi from North Macedonia took part in a panel discussion on “Democratic Digital Organizing” moderated by former US President Barack Obama during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit. The Alliance of Democracies Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2017 by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, organized the event.

The summit took place on June 9 and 10 and Obama gave a speech there on the second day before moderating the panel. Mustafi is one of the European leaders working with the Obama Foundation and is a grassroots organizer of Avajathe largest organized Roma movement in North Macedonia.

Mustafi recently became president of the Romano Avazi organization, which aims to mobilize the Roma community to participate in decision-making at local, regional and national levels in North Macedonia. She and Roma analyst Deniz Selmani, another North Macedonian leader working with the Obama Foundation, then participated in an interactive workshop with Obama on June 11 addressing the challenges they face regionally and sharing their experiences of progress. in the development of democracies in their societies.

Selmani is one of the founders of the Institute for Policy Research and Analysis-Romalitiko, where he leads the democracy program at local level, and is a co-founder of the Avaja movement in North Macedonia. The Copenhagen meeting was the first opportunity for participants in the Obama Leaders 2020 and 2022 programs to meet in person since the pandemic.

The Obama Foundation launched its European program in 2020. The Leaders program is designed to connect emerging leaders from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe to effect positive change in their communities and the world.