"CEP Romania went through a turbulent time in its early years. Besides many of the growing pains faced throughout CEP in that time of dramatic expansion from its origins in Czechoslovakia, the Romania program faced disorganized universities and an indecipherable Romanian bureaucracy as it built its early relationships at institutions throughout the country. For many lecturers, immersion into Romania was at once exotic and traumatic. This baptism by fire defeated some, but for those who persevered it created lasting bonds among the lecturers, between the lecturers and their Romanian colleagues, and, for many including myself, a lasting love affair with the country and its people.
"Much was accomplished in those first years in Romania. I'm pleased to see that some of the institutional relationships that we worked hard to develop remain productive today. Several of the students our lecturers taught in 1992-94 have gone on to become Local Faculty Fellows, perhaps the single most gratifying aspect of our work."-- Phillip Henderson, Visiting Faculty Fellow Alumnus, The University of Timisoara (92-93), and CEP Romania Country Director (93-94)
One of the oldest programs of the Civic Education Project, CEP Romania was launched in the 1992-93 academic year. Concentrating its efforts in twenty-five departments at universities in Bucharest, Cluj, and Timisoara, the program hosted fifteen Visiting Faculty Fellows and reached a combined total of well over four hundred students per semester. Over the years, these numbers have continued to grow and, with the addition of Local Faculty Fellows and Teaching Development Project participants, CEP Romania's success is not only far-reaching but has been a critical factor in the overall reform efforts in the Romanian higher education system.
"Being a CEP student opened new horizons for me. Without this organization I would probably not have been able to study abroad and return here to teach. It has given me a whole new vision regarding the system of education. I am now trying to do the same for my students." --Otto Sestak former CEP student and Local Faculty Fellow Alumnus
During the 1999-2000 academic year Civic Education Project supported eleven Local Faculty Fellows and five Visiting Faculty Fellows at six Universities in Romania, where they taught courses in law, political science, international relations, anthropology, ethnology, history, gender studies, sociology, public policy, and economics. Many of the Local Faculty Fellows were former CEP students who received advanced degrees from western universities and then returned to Romanian academic life. This represents a significant shift in emphasis toward the Local Faculty Fellow Program and reflects the increasing number of talented local scholars who are eager to work with CEP.
In addition to these Fellows, CEP Romania welcomed seven young Romanian scholars into its Teaching Development Project (TDP). CEP initiated the Teaching Development Project in 1996 to help Romanian teachers improve their teaching skills. The project consists of a series of workshops focusing on practical issues, methods and teaching strategies, and of pairing TDP Fellows with Visiting Faculty Fellows and Eastern Scholars as mentors. TDP participants are included in nearly all CEP events and work actively with CEP Fellows in teaching workshops and mentoring programs. Affiliation with CEP also helps Local Faculty Fellows and TDP participants take advantage of the Regional Workshop on Teaching Strategies in Higher Education "Szeged Workshop," organized by CEP Hungary, and of the Curriculum Resource Center seminars of the Central European University in Budapest. The TDP has proven to be a cost-effective way to expand the country "team" and the impact of CEP's activities in Romania. It also serves as a mechanism for identifying quality Eastern Scholars and for encouraging Local Faculty Fellow applicants to CEP's programs.
"I feel the moral need to underline that CEP has the outstanding merit in shaping and activating the return trend of young intellectuals to the home academic environment through its managerial policies and programs of educational support."-- Dr. Tiberiu Alexa, Local Faculty Fellow Alumnus and 1999 recipient of the Stephen Grand Award
During academic year 1999-2000, CEP Romania initiated a seminar on Interactive Teaching Strategies, which included the participation of guests from New Europe College in Bucharest, the Fulbright Commission, and Romanian Academic Society (Societatea Academica Romana). The workshops, part of the TDP, were organized in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and several organizations involved in Romanian higher education. Fulbright Fellows historically take part in many CEP events, including teaching workshops and guest lectures.
In addition, CEP Romania has continued to publish its "Info" newsletter twice a year. This publication, which highlights the activities of CEP in Romania, is distributed across the country and internationally, and has helped raise CEP's profile in Romania and the region.
"CEP is not only giving good academics to Eastern Europe, it is returning them [to their home countries] with a broader appreciation of the world, to say nothing of a new language and sharpened teaching skills..."--Dr. Nicholas Sellers, 1998-99 Visiting Faculty Fellow in Law, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
Outreach Activities: National and Regional CEP projects
The first CEP Romania National Student Conference was held in Iasi in November 1993 and included students from the (then) new CEP Moldova program (which was subsequently closed down in January 1994 before reopening in 1996 as part of the CEP Ukraine-Belarus Program). Since its inception, the National Student Conference has become a yearly event in CEP Romania and one of the highlights of the program. CEP Romania Visiting Faculty Fellows and Local Faculty Fellows have also inaugurated a variety of innovative and on-going outreach projects, many of which have become staples of the program.
From March 2-5, 2000, CEP Romania and Babes-Bolyai University, with support from the faculties of political science and European studies, hosted the 8th Annual Student Conference in Cluj. Entitled, The End of the State? Regionalism and Globalization, the conference was attended by 48 students from the Universities of Bucharest, Baia Mare, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, and Timisoara, as well as distinguished guests. While examining the economical, political, social, cultural and historical aspects influencing the future of Romania, students from diverse backgrounds and regions grappled with such topics as Euro-Atlantic Integration, NATO, Security and Eastern Europe, Conceptions of the Nation and of the Nation State, Women's Rights, and the role of Minorities and the Media in Civil Society. By the end of the conference, the students had proposed paths for medium and long-range national development, such as improving minority rights, democratizing various sectors of Romanian life, regional economic cooperation, a change of perspective for Romania's internal and foreign policy, and on the role of the media. Proceedings of this conference have been published and donated to university libraries throughout Romania.
"[The conference] served as the perfect framework for a free exchange of ideas proposed by some of the brightest students today in Romania. This event has once again confirmed that investing in the future intellectuals of Central and Eastern Europe is a solid solution towards building and consolidating democracies in the region." George Enescu, Local Faculty Fellow Alumnus
For the first time, from February 4-6, 2000 in Bucharest, CEP Romania hosted a conference for junior academics and postgraduate students. (In)Tolerance and (Co)Operation in Europe and EuroAtlantic Area, was organized in collaboration with the Romanian Academic Society, funded in part by NATO, Brussels, and sponsored by the American Embassy in Bucharest. The conference provided an opportunity for academics in the early stages of their careers to present results of their research and make contacts with scholars from the region who have similar academic interests.
Originally the conference was open to academics and researchers who teach/research in Romania and in countries bordering Romania: Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. But when the opening ceremony began, participants included an array of scholars from the region, as well as those from Russia, Armenia, Italy, Macedonia, Great Britain and the United States. These scholars represented a diversity of disciplines, among them economists, environmentalists, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists, presenting a variety of angles and opinions. Policy advisors, NGO activists, and spirited young academics came together with presentations that complemented (and often conflicted with) one another on topics as wide-ranging as European foreign policy and security, social transformations, transition and modernization, cultural boundaries and openings, and international economic relations.
"[The conference] really got us involved in writing the papers, presenting them and defending our arguments in the best way. ...it really established contacts between young academics and gave them an opportunity to assert their opinions and work...and left pleasant memories of places, people, and moments."-- Olivia Rusu-Toderean, Eastern Scholar, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj
"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this academic event... I learned a lot about cooperation in Europe...and my only regret is that I could not attend every panel." Andrei Medvedev, Russian Federation
CEP Romania is a member of the organizing team of the Balkan Debate Forum, which, next to the CEP International Student Conference, is one of the highlights of the academic year for CEP students, fellows and staff. The goal of the Forum is to help eliminate many of the stereotypes in this region and to encourage students to resolve their differences through dialogue and objective analysis rather than through conflict. In May of 2000, forty-two students from universities in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Yugoslavia convened in Sofia, Bulgaria for the 5th Annual Debate Forum. The students debated on common economic, social and cultural issues facing the region and engaged in constructive discussions aimed at fostering tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for others' opinions. Irina Tanasescu, a CEP Romania student, was awarded the prize for Best Debate Participant.
(For more on The Balkan Debate Forum, see CEP Albania and CEP Bulgaria.)
"I believe that academic exchanges are very beneficial. The knowledge, the teaching methods and the resources that a Visiting Professor brings along to the host university can add a lot to local reform efforts." - Liana Ghent, former CEP Romania Country Director (currently CEP Regional Director of Central and East European Programs)
In October 1998, Eastern Scholar Enikö Demeny, with the support of the Open Society Institute's Gender Studies Small Grant Program, founded the Information and Documentation Center on Gender Studies and Feminism. Established within the framework of the Institute of Anthropology at Cluj, the Center strives to institutionalize Gender Studies in Romanian universities and to encourage interdisciplinary research on gender related issues. The Cultural Construction of Gender, a course for MA Students in European Cultural Anthropology in the Faculty of European Studies at the University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj, introduced the gender perspective to students from different fields of social sciences. The Center has since established an MA program in Gender Studies at the Faculty of European Studies. Since September 1999 the Center has been involved in the Desire Foundation for Social Reflection Program.
In 1998-99, at the initiative of Dr. Tiberiu Alexa, Local Faculty Fellow Alumnus in Baia Mare, CEP Romania inaugurated The Guest Lecture Series. Under this program, CEP Fellows at various universities host a Guest Lecture event to which Fellows from other universities in the country or region are invited to present public lectures on thematic topics. The first event took place in October 1998 at Baia Mare and the second was held at A. I. Cuza University in Iasi in February 1999. The press reviews of the first event in Baia Mare evaluated the impact of CEP, stressing that "events like this add vitality to academic life in Romania." During academic year 1999-2000, CEP Romania hosted Harold Bonacquist, the American Bar Association Liaison for their Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI). At the invitation of Meg Mahoney, Visiting Faculty Fellow at A. I. Cuza University in Iasi, Bonacquist lectured on mediation, negotiations, bankruptcy and venture capital. He returned a few weeks later and gave the mediation lecture to the local legal community. In May, Christopher Binns, a visiting lecturer at Central European University presented three lectures in Bucharest at The National School of Political Studies and Public Administration and at the CEP office. One of Binns' lectures covered the topic of Russian politics.
The Romanian Journal of Politics and Society, edited by Civic Education Project Romania, was established in October 2000 as an international forum to draw together theorists from different fields of Social Sciences interested in Romania. The RJPS is a continuation of The Romanian Journal of Liberal Arts, which, after two issues, changed its name and profile. The journal now provides Romanian and international scholars with the inter-disciplinary space necessary to develop a critical perspective on and provide radical responses to contemporary problems faced by the Romanian society.
This publication is the only journal focusing on inter-disciplinary national and international perspectives on Romania. Each issue focuses on a theme including a broad range of topics from international relations and economics, to public policies and human rights, and contains scholarly articles, notes and book/article reviews written by prominent scholars.
The RJPS welcomes papers that address theoretical, empirical or methodological issues as long as they are relevant to contemporary Romanian politics, society or culture.
The theme of the Spring 2001 issue will be: "The Romanian Society at the Beginning of the New Millennium." For information on submitting articles, contact The Editors
. Other activities involving the participation of CEP Romania, its Fellows and students during academic year 1999-2000 included the participation of a team of students in the Moot Court Competition held in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the end of April, 2000. Students from CEP Romania were a formidable presence at the International Student Conference in Budapest, Hungary, where they received four prizes. And CEP Romania was a driving force in the establishment of the Romanian Society of Political Science, for which it hosted meetings and provided support throughout the academic year.
In addition, CEP Romania, in cooperation with Equal Opportunities for Women (an NGO in Iasi) and the Fulbright Commission, Romania, established The Campaign Against Domestic Violence in Romania. In response to an article published in the April 2000 edition of "Playboy Romania," The Campaign organized a public demonstration to make a stand against domestic violence and for active government involvement in enacting legislation to counter this phenomenon. The demonstration, held on April 24 in Revolution Square in Bucharest, was the first of its kind in post-Communist Romania and attracted international press and television coverage.
Romania Romania is a multi-party democracy with a constitution inspired by France's Fifth Republic. Universal suffrage is the right of all Romanian citizens at 18-years of age. Its main industries include mining, timber, construction materials, metallurgy, chemicals, machine building, food processing, petroleum production and refining. Agriculture also takes an important place in Romania's economy with wheat, corn, sugar beets, sunflower seed, potatoes, grapes, milk, eggs and beef the primary products.
After the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989-91, Romania was left with an obsolete industrial base and a pattern of industrial capacity wholly unsuited to its needs. In February 1997, struggling to shift to a free market system, Romania embarked on a comprehensive macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform program, but reform subsequently has been a stop-and-go process. Restructuring programs include liquidating large energy-intensive industries and major agricultural and financial sector reforms.
Although climatically very different, Romania lies on the same latitude as France, with a costal region on the Black Sea. Bulgaria lies to the south, Serbia and Hungary to the west, Ukraine to the north, and Moldova and part of Ukraine to the east. The main geographical feature is the Carpathian mountain range, curving from the Ukrainian border through the center toward Serbia in the southwest.
The general climate is continental with hot summers and cold winters, alleviated slightly by the influence of the Black Sea in the extreme southeast. In the Transylvanian plateau, west and north of the Carpathian Mountains, the altitude gives slightly cooler summers than are found elsewhere in the country.
Living and Working in Romania
Bucharest, the capital of Romania, lies half-way between the river Danube and the South Carpathian mountains, on the banks of the Dambovita. It is Romania's cultural and economic center, as well as its largest city, with a population of over two million people. The modern city is characterized by a number of squares from which streets and boulevards radiate. The two chief streets, running roughly parallel through the center of the city, are Bulevardul Balcescu and Bulevardul Uniri, known under Communism as the "Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism." It was expanded in the 1980s under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and was decorated with such buildings as the palatial marble House of the People (Casa Poporului). About 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of old Bucharest were razed to make room for the new palace and grand boulevard.
The most important centers for higher education are the Technical Institute of Bucharest (founded 1819) and the University of Bucharest (founded 1694). In addition, there are several academies in both arts and sciences, as well as numerous research institutes. Bucharest has three central libraries (the Library of the Academy of Romania, the Central State Library, and a central university library) and a large number of public library units.
Many of the city's theaters, for example, the National Theatre "I.L. Caragiale" and the Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Romania, have long traditions. Bucharest is also the seat of a national philharmonic orchestra. Among the many museums are the Museum of the History of the City of Bucharest and the Art Museum of Romania, the latter maintaining large collections of national, European, and Oriental art. A highly original ethnographic collection, the Village Museum (1936), is made up of peasant houses brought from various parts of the country.
The city of Cluj-Napoca is one of the most important academic, cultural and industrial centers in Romania. Located in central Transylvania, northwestern Romania, it is considered to be the historic capital of Transylvania and it is approximately 200 miles (320 km) northwest of Bucharest in the Somesul Mic River Valley. The city stands on the site of an ancient Dacian settlement, Napoca, which the Romans established a colony. Iasi is one of the biggest cities in the country with a population of about 400,000. Situated in the northeast of Romania, it is also called 'the city of the 6 hills.' Iasi was the capital of Romania during the First World War and for several centuries the capital of Moldova. Some say Iasi is the spiritual capital of Romania because of the many great people in the Romanian culture who studied and spent their lives here. In Iasi the first university in the country was built in the second half of the 19th century and now is named after it's founder, Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
Timisoara is the most western Romanian city, both in democratic traditions as well as in outlook. Within 40 miles from Hungary and Serbia alike, this city prides itself on its elegant baroque squares, churches of many faiths, new German and French libraries and a pedestrian only downtown, cafes, restaurants, and gift shops along "16th December 1898" Boulevard. Timisoara is also a place for ethnic diversity.