Romania is an amazing travel destination. Mountains of wild beauty, the largest European Delta, vibrant cities, people and centuries old traditions will make you tell unbelievable stories.

Take a car or train from the spectacular seaside to the well-kept medieval secrets in the towns of Transylvania; move further into the Wild Carpathians on the most beautiful mountain motorway and get lost in woods and thoughts. Take a step back in time in the North of Romania and visit world’s famous painted monasteries in Bucovina, folkloric villages in Maramures and taste delicious traditional dishes. And, not to forget, try our home-made spirits: tuica and palinca. You will not forget them.

We also have the world’s merry cemetery, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, Dracula’s Castle (sort of), Europe’s second largest underground glacier, the tallest wooden church in the world, the second-largest outdoor museum in the world or one of the fastest internet around. And 60% of the European bears. Convinced?



Bucharest Hub @ Annual Curators Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland

10 days left until the start of the 2015 Annual Curators Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum offices.

The ACM will bring together 450 Curators to energize and strengthen our Global Shapers Community. The program will focus on the vision, values and culture of the community and aims to ensure the success and sustainability of each Hub and the greater network. Curators will exchange perspectives on global issues in interactions with World Economic Forum staff in sessions designed to generate insight. Highlights will include a full day of strengthening connections with the Young Global Leaders, and dinner with Geneva-based ambassadors.


Open Sourcing Change in Collaborative Networks

In the age of communities, networks are vital infrastructures. As we are beginning to understand their potential, learning to build and harness connectivity is a powerful skill. Networks are as powerful as the change they enable.

What happens when five global and local networks host an open conversation about using networks for change? The Open Sourcing Change in Collaborative Networks event was born out of informal conversations among friends with many organizational hats about the value of the different networks they work through, crowd-sourcing the question of how networks deliver change seemed only natural.


This is why the Global Shapers Bucharest Hub opened up the conversation to the public and asked co-organizers EdgeRyders, Aspen Fellows Network and guests EduCab and Bucharest2021 to join a table at generous host BCR and get talking about what makes networked collaboration work. And what doesn’t.

Ciprian Stănescu, current curator of the Global Shapers Bucharest Hub, was first to present the local chapterDCS_17 of a global network of young leaders addressing local challenges by opening the floor with a statement-question: how do we do good? Global Shapers do good through more than 450 city-based hubs connected in a network of 5500+ people across the world. Locally autonomous but well connected to the global network through a clear governance scheme, mandate and internal platform, GS hubs target urgent city-specific needs through innovative solutions that have the potential to be scaled globally. GS hubs operate through partnerships with large businesses, start-ups, institutions and citizen stakeholders. Bucharest hub’s challenge? Growing its membership sustainably by getting members coming from very different sectors to engage equally in a voluntary network with no small goal: doing good.

DCS_11An installment of the Global Shapers’ #ShapingConversations series, talks where pressing matters of the city get discussed alongside experts, the event moderated by previous curator Oana Țoiu was also an opportunity to discover the ECOC candidacy project București2021 from an insider’s perspective.

Bob Palmer, advisor to the process and Anca Ioniță, coordinator of the candidature application, presented București2021 as an opportunity for institutions, cultural agents and citizen stakeholders to work together in a city not used to doing so. What makesDCS_41 Bucharest so interesting, in Mr Palmer’s view, is that it’s a fragmented, messy city which allows for creativity at the intersections of its fractures. The way to cross those fractures is through networks. Designing a horizontal, network-inspired structure for the team was deliberate, a way to traverse disconnections between institutions and individuals, but also between individual egos with the instinct of protecting their work and the greater purpose of the interdisciplinary team: transforming the city through culture, the stake behind București2021 efforts.

EdgeRyders, a global community of radical change-makers connected over the Internet, is currently exploring local grassroots initiatives that, although under-resourced, have great potential to grow and affect change. Spot the Future is part of the wider consultation process powered by București2021 and an entry point for isolated change-makers to connect to a global network of people working, creating and living on the edges. Co-founder and community manager DCS_32Noemi Salanțiu explained that through its distributed, radically open model of collaboration, crowd-sourcing resources, know-how and connections over the internet is how the network creates value for its users. While this model sets the cost of participation quite low, the challenge is how to balance the sharers or heavy contributors with the takers or freeriders so as to keep the network functional and fair.

EduCab, short for educational capacity building, is an inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional national framework working on building trust between partners who do not see themselves as such. As founder Mihai Lupu explained, EduCab mediates resources for community developmentDCS_29nt by enhancing the capacity of public libraries to function as resource spaces for educational and community interventions. Currently extending to its seventh county, the platform’s challenge is to show the targeted institutions and citizens that activating libraries to address local needs is a shared effort and that getting involved simply means to ‘do what you are good at.’ Voicing a fact which all panelists resonated with, Mr Lupu revealed that, in building a network and hoping to get stakeholders involved and take ownership of the process, the end-goal keeps evolving, revealing much less control for the network facilitators, other than the drive to change communities for the better.

Aspen Fellows Network, a self-organized network of alumni of the Young Leaders Program at the Aspen Institute Romania, provided yet another model of networked collaboration. Their goal is, firstly, to keep individuals with a proven track record of leadership connected to each other past the year-long program and secondly, to become a network enabling collaborative projects that benefit the larger local community, beyond the alumni community itself. The challenge is designing AFN as a results-oriented, project-enabling network while under the constraints of being a self-organizing and voluntary network of highly successful people with tight agendas and priorities.DCS_25 Alex Ghiță, current AFN president, presented how the ongoing redesign of the network’s purpose is going, while confident that what keeps people in the network is a shared value its members already have, by virtue of having experienced the YLP: leadership implies sustained action through networked collaboration.

As interesting and honest as the panelists’ presentations were, the most fruitful exchanges happened, as expected, in the break-out sessions covering three major questions about how networked collaboration brings about change: how do you crowd-source solutions in an open network? How do you keep the balance between using the network and contributing to it? Governance: when is hierarchy a catalyst and when does it become a bottleneck?

It was rewarding to watch participants overstay, ask poignant questions and offer insightful experiences of their own work within networks. The admirable engagement might have come from the event being more of a practitioners’ meeting than one of spectators, as most of the 60+ participants were themselves builders or contributors to diverse networks.

Some insights glimmering from the sessions:

  • Actionable goals keep networks thriving. Addressing a need perceived by many is what motivates people to participate in crowdsourcing solutions, even without a rewards scheme. Project-based calls for contribution work better than generic ‘come join our network’ calls.
  • Cost of collaboration can be offset by recognition. In other words, sometimes all it takes to keep people engaged is to acknowledge their effort.
  • Different goals make for different network design. Some networks aim at maintaining bonds created by previous common experience, some to certify reputational worth, some to connect global resources with local problems, some to represent marginal thinking etc.
  • Networks should enable, not get in the way. If network governance gets too complicated, rigid or demanding, people walk away. Costs of participation should remain low and rewards can be very diverse, as long as rules apply equally and consistently.
  • Change that can only come through collaboration, greatest selling point. As obvious as it is, people participate in networks to get done the things they can’t take care of individually.


Have some insights yourself? Do share them in the comment form below.

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Bucharest Shaper Raluca Negulescu, elected Board Member of Football Against Racism in Europe Network

RalucaRaluca Negulescu, Global Shapers of the Bucharest Hub and Executive Director of Policy Center for Roma and Minorities has just been elected as a Board Member of FARE, an umbrella organization that brings together individuals, informal groups and organisations driven to combat inequality in football and use the sport as a means for social change.

The strength of the network lies in the diversity of its members, including fan groups, NGO’s and amateur clubs and grassroots groups, among others, who contribute with their expertise and act in a concerted effort to make discrimination in football a thing of the past.

Fare has grown in numbers to become an international organisation with more than 150 members in over 35 European countries. Many more groups and activists join Fare’s activities, campaigns and events throughout the year.

Through the annual Football People action weeks, which with more than 1500 activities is the largest initiative against discrimination in football worldwide, Fare has been able to expand its sphere of influence to countries outside Europe. The organisation works not only in more than 45 European countries, but also with activists in the United States, South Africa, St. Lucia and Brazil.

What does Fare do?

Fare works across all levels of the game to advance social inclusion of marginalised and disenfranchised groups and to engage policy makers, key players and governing bodies in the anti-discrimination movement.


  • Challenges discrimination at all levels of football
  • Uses football as a tool to tackle societal discrimination
  • Fosters networking and the transnational exchange of good practice
  • Undertakes activities to empower and build capacity of marginalised and discriminated groups
  • Gives a voice to those combating discrimination in football

Fare also uses its expertise to provide advice and support in combating discrimination and promoting social inclusion and regularly organises and supports initiatives, including:

  • Hosting international events and conferences
  • Producing best practice guides and educational materials
  • Organising pan-European and international campaigns, including the Football People action weeks
  • Delivering activities at international football competitions
  • Monitoring matches and reporting discrimination

More here: http://www.farenet.org/

Bucharest Shaper Eliza Chirila to meet with SG Ban Ki-moon

11011093_833501913375809_8637335438198642594_nBucharest Shaper Eliza Chirila is going on May 27 to Brussels to meet with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as part of a group of 10 young people from around the world. Her ideas in the essay competition “If you were the UN secretary general for a day, how would you make the world a better place?” was selected from thousands of essays from around the world.

Eliza is no stranger to the UN environment as she was a Youth Delegate of Romania to the United Nations, for 2013-2014.

Hub Elections: new Curator and Vice-Curator

We are happy to announce the new Global Shapers Bucharest Hub Curator and Vice-Curator, after this spring’s elections: Ciprian Stanescu and Anamaria Vrabie.









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.

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.


Shaping Conversations: Bucharest, where are you?

sc2On February 15 we organized a debate within the Shaping Conversations series, focusing on Bucharest and the urban framework we call “home”, about the many characteristics that make our city eclectic and the way we can shape the future of the city.

Initial commentators included Anamaria Vrabie, Global Shaper, urban planner-economist and architect Maria Duda, discussions including various Shapers and guest ranging from social entrepreneurs, public policy experts, economists, sportsmen, journalists and civic activists.

From practical topics like who makes and decides on the plans for the future of Bucharest to nostalgia on how the city experience was in the early 90s and to philosophical questions like where/who draws the line between citizens’ needs and desires and urban/national needs, the debate laid the ground for future conversations. We now know, for example that University Square was at the beginning of twentieth century the Botanic Garden, that the University building was cut in half by bombardments and the remained space used as an interior garden, that there is a strategic concept for Bucharest 2035 or that more and more civic initiatives are becoming successful in impacting local urban policies.

Thank you for: visual harvesting Graphic Dealer and The Institute Cafe.


3 Bucharest Global Shapers on Realitatea TV

rnvTaking our message as Global Shapers on television is one of the keys to raise awareness and create impact in our societies.

3 Bucharest Global Shapers met with other young leaders of Romanian society last night at Realitatea TV, the main Romanian news network. Topics included: youth involvement in politics, global and regional impact of communities, transparency and anti-corruption, education, creative industries and journalism.


Participants to the debate are some of the authors of an unprecedented editorial initiative in Romania – “Romania Noului Val”, gathering 77 young entrepreneurs, artists, inventors, activists, young diplomats, analysts, consultants, managers and journalists offering a collection of original visions on the future of Romania, in the context of global cultural revolutions fostered by technology and the democratization of knowledge. More here: http://noulval.ro/