In a continuation of its mission to empower grassroots Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) advocating for minority rights within the European Union (EU), the MARIO (Minorities, Accountability, Rights, Independence & Organizational Development) project recently concluded its second annual capacity-building training in Budapest. Building upon the success of its inaugural year, the training brought together over 50 participants with a diverse cohort of 30 grantees alongside representatives from MRGE and legal experts from PILnet, Latham & Watkins, and White & Case. This year, the grantee representatives were from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Lithuania.

The three-day event convened participants for engaging sessions in strengthening the capabilities and understanding of human rights defenders hailing from various minority rights organizations across Europe. 


PILnet, a key partner in the MARIO project, continued its commitment to providing invaluable insights with its “Unlocking the Power of Pro Bono” session. Through an interactive session, participants delved into the potential of pro bono support for minority rights organizations, equipping them with essential tools to leverage legal resources effectively.


Furthermore, legal experts from Latham & Watkins and White & Case facilitated workshops that explored European values, institutions, and legal mechanisms. These sessions aimed to empower participants with a comprehensive understanding of the EU institutional and legislative framework, thereby enabling them to navigate complex legal landscapes with confidence. 

Ms. Anastasia Crickley, Chair of the International Council of MRG (in pink)

This year the training participants were also blessed with the presence of Ms. Anastasia Crickley, Chair of the International Council of MRG, former chairperson of the UN Committee for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, first chair of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and former member of the Advisory Committee for the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Anastasia enriched the Central Training with her persuasive sharing of practical knowledge, merging the theory of legal presentations with concrete advice from her vast experience.



As the MARIO project continues to evolve and expand its reach, we encourage you to stay engaged and informed through regular updates on the project’s website as we create a more inclusive and equitable society for all within the European Union. See more photos from the training below.