The intention of the authors and editors of this book has been to demonstrate the experiences and lessons of the past decade and a half in Hungary in the field of equal opportunities—rather than add another volume to the already extensive scholarly literature. The authors, who are experts and activists in different fields of equal opportunities, explore the political and legislative developments as well as the changing social and human environment. The analyses are followed by interviews with members of the various social groups: people living in poverty or in marginalised and impoverished regions, immigrants looking for a new home, people with disabilities, women living in poverty and in villages with an uncertain future, Roma and other people who suffer discrimination and segregation. Thus, the voices of individuals affected by equal opportunities are heard in this book. The accompanying photographs enable words to become visions. The painting on the cover by Imre Ámos (1907–1944/45?) places the world on the balancing scales with the foreboding of the dreadful suffering of another era—perhaps making our current human fate easier to bear. The papers survey developments in Hungary over the past fifteen years. At the same time they support the concept that there can be balance in this world, in our “Europe”.
We do not consider equal opportunities to be a magical solution to all our social, cultural and economic problems. Rather we appeal to legislators and decision-makers, counting on their attention, interest and support. We hope that they will be the ones who preserve and revitalise our different communities, thereby creating a more liveable society for us all.