Loredana is a youth worker, currently working with students and young people, as the president of the Students’ Union in Romania and vice-president of the Romanian Youth Forum. She has been working on educational and youth policies for the last few years, contributing to the development of the legal framework, including the National Youth Strategy, the Volunteering Law, the Internship Law, and the Students’ Statue etc. Loredana is the youngest member of the Romanian Social and Economic Council, the consultative body of the Parliament and the Government in areas established by its own law of founding, organization and functioning, set up for the purpose of achieving the dialogue between employers, trade unions and the civil society, and building a climate of stability and social peace. Loredana has represented the Romanian youth in many international events, such as the World Youth Conference in Sri Lanka and many European Youth Conferences, contributing also to the development of the world and European youth agenda. She believes that young people should have a proper environment to achieve their full potential, therefore all her work is concentrated on developing new projects and programs in order to empower the young generation.
Project Manager, Romanian Business Leaders
Alex is the owner and founding member of Alpha Basketball Club for kids, and collaborator of the Romanian Basketball Federation. His background is in, but not limited to Art, design, architecture and much more. He finished Spiru Haret University in Psychology and Sociology and uses this knowledge to create his own business. He uses his basketball club as a platform for charity work in collaboration with Rotaract “Curtea Veche” of which he is a part of, for he believes that if you want to see a change in the world you have to be part of it.
Gruia has worked in the fields of local development, urban design and regeneration, with a focus on post-socialist and post-conflict contexts. A graduate of Middlebury College (USA) and of the MSc in City Design and Social Science at the London School of Economics (UK), his experience ranges from working for the National Geographic Society in Washington DC to the UNDP, the World Bank, as well as together with NGOS and public administrations in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Romania. Gruia has a particular interest in urban post-conflict recovery and he won in 2008 a National Geographic Society grant to research the role of architectural reconstruction in post-war reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lebanon. Concerned about what he saw as rapid deterioration of urban and rural landscapes in his native Romania, Gruia returned to Bucharest in 2009, where he was involved in the drafting of the city center’s Integrated Plan for Urban Development, as well as in other projects addressing urban and rural regeneration, including national audits of public spaces and integrated urban development. He is now a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, researching the process of coming to terms with the past in architectural reconstruction. He maintains strong links to Romania, where he joined a team of local development specialists in creating the Romanian Centre for Innovation in Local Development.
Advocacy Coordinator, New Horizons Foundation
Associate Trainer, Institute of Strategic Communication Paris
Elena Calistru is the chair and founder of Funky Citizens, a Romanian NGO. Funky Citizens builds research-based, data-driven online advocacy tools. Our tools aim to be educational and actionable, encouraging citizens to engage in accountability and government responsibility initiatives in which they can see an impact. Elena has more than 5 years of experience in civil society projects, both at national and international level. Her expertise is mainly in the area of good governance, transparency, public finance and advocacy. She strongly believes that data and online tools can empower citizens to influence public sector reform.
Sorina is currently Leadership Programs Manager, working on a number of leadership programs including the Young Leaders Program, the Justice and Administration Leadership Program and also regional Aspen Seminars. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute Romania, Sorina worked for General Electric, under the direct supervision of the CEO for Romania, Bulgaria and Republic of Moldova, on internal and external communication, as well as with several Romanian NGOs on good governance and social inclusion projects. Sorina is a graduate of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, where she completed her BSc specializing in International Relations. She then moved to Barcelona to pursue a Master of Research in Political and Social Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University. This education triggered a broad interest in public policies, community rehabilitation and development and migration related issues. Though open to discovering new hobbies such as hiking and long-boarding, in her spare time, Sorina remains faithful to her quest of making the world a better place, focusing mainly on improving life chances of youth living in socially disadvantaged communities.
Eliza Chirilă, aged 22, defines herself as youth worker and as the former Youth Delegate of Romania to the United Nations, for 2013-2014. Eliza is currently working for the Romanian Youth Forum as an Expert on Structured Dialogue and project manager for different youth events. She is also a Law student at the Romanian- American University from Bucharest, in her 4th year, and the President of the University Students Club. Furthermore, Eliza collaborates with the Union of Romanian Students (USR), since 2011, as External Relations Vicepresident. With an experience of more than 9 years in the field of volunteering, during the last year she has been involved in the structured dialogue process and has actively participated in the public debates of the Romanian National Youth Strategy. Besides being a youth worker, Eliza is also a trainer and until now she has delivered several training on topics such as project management or leadership. Moreover, she has participated in different international or national conferences and workshops, either as participant, or as speaker or organizer.
Advisor, Internal Affairs Department, Romanian Presidency
Simona is currently a Senior Consultant in a professional services firm. Previously, she acted as head of office/advisor to the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Transports and Infrastructure. She also worked as an independent educational consultant with several organizations, including the University of Bucharest and British Council Romania. She graduated with a double degree in Politics and Psychology from the University of Bucharest and a MSc. in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford. Having had the opportunity to study and work in Romania as well as abroad (in the US through an Open Society Institute scholarship and in the UK during her master’s degree), Simona has gained valuable experience in different fields, ranging from NGOs, to institutional and corporate environments. She is also one of the founding members and the former president of an educational NGO, Link Education And Practice (LEAP) and a fellow of the Aspen Institute Romania.
Business Incubation Manager, The Alternative University
Having studied finance in Paris and Milan, Claudiu works as a financial analyst for the large corporate department of one of Romania’s biggest banks. He is founder and President of SoLib, a libertarian NGO dedicated to promoting the principles of liberty and free markets through education and active citizenship projects. Passionate about philosophy and social sciences, Claudiu returned home from his studies in 2009 and took the lead in changing the world of ideas in the Romanians society by organizing weekly gatherings called Liberty Café, where people meet to debate ideas and current events. He went on organizing numerous conferences, economics seminars and summer camps in Romania with the goal of furthering economic education. In 2014 he launched Open Budget, an online budget transparency platform, allowing users to track state revenue and spending as well as simulate other possible allocations of taxpayer funds. Claudiu is thrilled by the way freedom enables people all around the world to thrive and is committed to making Romania a better place for everybody.
Raluca Negulescu is the Executive Director of the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation where she currently develops and runs comprehensive educational programs for children in disadvantaged communities in Bucharest. Focusing on the empowerment of marginalized Roma communities, Raluca has extensive experience in coordinating local, national and European advocacy and awareness raising campaigns using a wide array of instruments such as documentaries, debates and community organizing. In 2013, Raluca was Legislative Fellow in the US Department of State professional program “Building grassroots democracy in minority communities” and she received the Annual Human Rights Award of the Embassy of France in Romania for her local women empowerment initiative – Mothers’ Club. Graduate in Political Science at the University of Bucharest, she also collaborated as a volunteer with the German Marshall Fund for the United States in 2008 and she worked as a junior consultant in a World Bank project targeting 250 poorest communities in Romania in 2007.
Brand and Marketing Specialist, Romanian Football Federation
Andrei is an entrepreneur, working to promote both his family’s business interest and ventures with strong social ambitions. After 9 years spent studying and working abroad, he returned to Romania in 2007 to join the family business (CEFS). Since then, he initiated the Good.Bee project and a private equity fund. Good.Bee is a service focused on banking the unbanked. It provides financial products as well as the technology and literacy needed to access them. For instance, it provides microloans, mobile banking access to these loans and financial education to make the most out of the microloans. The Erste Bank Foundation is the main financial backer of the Good.Bee project. Concomitantly, Andrei one of the three partners is involved in the setup and investments of an opportunistic 35m euro Private Equity Fund, already investing in Romanian companies during the economic slowdown. Andrei is a keen debater and snowboarder. He holds BA and MA degrees in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. He considers his views to be Libertarian and Cosmopolitan.
Director of Cabinet, State Secretary, Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue
Ciprian Stanescu is currently Director for Corporate Affairs and Membership at the Aspen Institute Romania, and until 2013 he was coordinating the activities of the Leadership Programs Department. He holds an MA in Political Science from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and a BA in International Relations and European Studies in Bucharest. He previously worked with the European Institute of Romania and the European Commission Delegation in Romania and is involved in various civic, entrepreneurial and educational projects in Romania and abroad. He is also a founder of factual.ro, Romania’s first fact-checking initiative and has his own improv theater group, Martienii.
Alexandra is the founder of Hey MĂRIE!, a bilingual online community aimed at empowering young adults through inspiring life stories and challenging conversations on issues relevant to their generation. She has an academic background in International Relations and the Politics of Central and Eastern Europe and work experience in local sustainable development and freelance political consultancy. Alexandra is interested in online and offline community-building and using new media to inspire, empower and engage.
Partner, Seedstars Academy
Board member, The Entrepreneurship Academy
Oana co-owns a Romanian strategy and innovation boutique, part of an international network, with a personal focus on social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Previous to that she led a Romanian community development organization with a team of 25 people from civil society, private and governmental background. Focused on generating viable solutions to our communities enduring problems through diverse ways with a common design as catalysts for systemic change – social entrepreneurship, sustainable tourism, communication campaigns, capacity building trainings, businesses around traditional community crafts. Their leading social entrepreneurship project, Romano ButiQ, has been awarded by the European Commission in the top 10 best social innovation ideas on employment in Europe and with the Honorary Award on Social Integration by the Erste Foundation. In 2013 she was included by Foreign Policy Romania in the list of 101 thinkers and doers that move Romania. She is also an Aspen Fellow, Global Marshall Fund Memorial Fellow and part of AIESEC Romania Alumni Hall of Fame. She has delivered training or programs in Romania, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia and Hungary.
Project Manager, Google Romania
Vlad is currently the Romanian Minister of Healthcare and until recently he was a Vice President in the Infrastructure Finance Division of Erste Group, Vienna. Vlad has led teams involved in the structuring and financing of pioneer projects in the region (including the first private greenfield hospital in Romania). Alongside his activities in the field of finance, Vlad is following his passion of supporting people and organizations from his home country active in the healthcare and education sectors.˜ Vlad graduated from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, focusing on strategic management and finance.˜ He finds great joy in discovering great people, great causes and organizations making a difference.
Anamaria Vrabie is an urban economist and local development professional. Discovering early on that statistics rarely show the sense of neighborhood and wellbeing, she became committed to understanding how things work in the urban realm and how to foster stakeholder engagement. Currently she is an associate at the start-up venture MKBT (MakeBetter), a company focused on developing better instruments for enhancing local potential. Her recent work providing technical assistance for local authorities in Romania builds on her strong international exposure towards India and the US. She holds a BA from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest and an MA in International Affairs as a Fulbright Scholar at The New School New York. She is also co-founder and committed member of the Creative Room, teaches at the ”Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest and is an Aspen Institute Romania Fellow.