Róbert Furiel – fellow from Slovakia

RobertPhotoMr. Furiel was involved in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) activism since the days of his secondary school. In his last year there and in the first years at the university, he was sharing his personal story as a gay man with members of local youth peer prevention programme, sensitising young people active in their community to the issues of LGBT people. Even though he did not finish his legal studies at the Faculty of Law of the Charles University in the Czech Republic, he left a mark there. For three years, he was involved in the LGBT student’s organisation, Charlie, which he even presided for one year. In Charlie, he focused on organisational development and organising community social events. But before that, he became involved in the Slovak LGBT activism. His involvement and a fortunate set of events made him one of the founding members of Dúhový PRIDE Bratislava (Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava), the first Slovak march for human rights of the LGBT people. For three years he was gathering experience and helping the topic of LGBT reach the mainstream media in the Slovak Republic.


Spiska Nova Ves photo: Peter Lázá

Shortly after returning to the Slovak Republic, he founded PRIDE Dúhové Košice (PRIDE Rainbow Košice), a march for visibility and human rights of LGBT people in Košice, the second biggest city and the whole region of Eastern Slovakia. For its third year, Mr. Furiel wants to bring the event even closer to the community of LGBT people in this part of the country. Originally skilled in “hard” areas such as project management, strategic management or grantwriting, he sees this educational programme as an opportunity to gain experience with more “soft” skills, mainly the community organising and community development. Too often, he saw that projects and events were organised without having the community in mind or being of any benefit to the community. He hopes

Charleston-West-Virginia /Photos Courtesy of: West Virginia Division of Tourism and Steve Shaluta,Jr.

/Photos Courtesy of: West Virginia Division of Tourism and Steve Shaluta,Jr.

This will be Mr. Furiel’s first trip to the United States of America. He is excited and eager to find out more about LGBT community organising in rural areas with the focus on co-existence with religious communities. He also likes to meet new people and learn from them – something he expects to be doing almost all the time during his visit.

Mr. Furiel is a non-smoker, both a cat and dog person (definitely not allergic to them, au contraire), proficient in English and Czech language with a basic knowledge of German. He loves reading, walking in the nature and good food. He has spent eight years studying law and attended seminars and workshops on topics ranging from project management, individual fundraising, theatre of the oppressed or appreciative inquiry. He founded and runs his own NGO – Saplinq with the mission to teach and develop young LGBT leaders. Robert will have his internship at Step by Step (Charleston, West Virginia).