My Current Bio
Ronald Lee is a Romani Canadian, born in Montreal. He is a journalist and author and since 2003, he has been teaching a spring seminar, the Romani Diaspora in Canada, at New College, University of Toronto, as part of the Equity Studies Program, Department. of Humanities. He is a founding member, former executive director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roma Community Center, in Toronto, registered in 1998, which assists Romani newcomers to Canada with their social integration and serves as a cultural center which organizes ethnic Romani events for the local Romani community and to acquaint other Canadians with Romani culture, music, history and their situation in the refugee-producing countries prior to the admission of these countries to the EU. Its aim is also to assist with the social, self-empowerment of Romanies in Canada. This is a non-governmental, Romani organization whose members are mostly Roma and Romani is often used at meetings.
He has two published books to date, Goddam Gypsy, a semi-autobiographical novel about Romani life in Montreal and Canada in the 1960s, first published by Tundra Books of Montreal in 1971, and also published in Spanish, German and Czech translations and Learn Romani, an 18-lesson self-study course of Kalderash Romani, published in 2005 by University of Hertfordshire Press. His current manuscript, The Gypsy Invasion: Romani Refugees in Canada 1997-2006, is currently being revised and updated for publication. This is based on his experience in Toronto, working with Romani refugees, immigration lawyers and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) since the Czech-Romani refugees arrived in Canada in 1997 and with later refugee groups from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and elsewhere in central/eastern Europe. His Kalderash-Romani dictionary is soon to be published by Magoria Books (Toronto) in 2009 as well as a reprint of Goddam Gypsy entitled The Living Fire.
He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about Roma in Canada and more recently, about the Romani refugee situation in Canada, as well as scholarly articles in academic publications such as Chapter 9, of Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions and Culture, 2001, which was originally published as an article in The American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 103 (November 1993), pp.323-399 entitled “The Rom-Vlach Gypsies and the Kris-Romani.”
He has also lectured extensively for colleges and universities, both in Canada and in the US and also, in the Toronto area, for public and private elementary and high schools. As a folk musician, he also performs locally with other Romani musicians at Romani cultural events.