Vijay Raju – Deputy Head of Global Shapers Community @ TEDx Bucharest

vijayWe’re proud that Vijay Raju – Deputy Head of Global Shapers Community is coming to TEDx Bucharest, where Global Shapers Bucharest Hub is a partner.

Vijay is an expert on creativity and business model innovation, spent several years leading animation and computer graphics projects and has extensive experience in design thinking.

Watch his speech here:


Youth in local and central public administration

We organized on September 12 a Conversation on the importance of having more DSC_6121young people in local and central public administration. Youth disengagement with politics, policy and administration is an increasing and dangerous trend as political scandals, low wages and positions and an overall negative perception are a constant reality .

The debate took place within the National Youth Council of Romania which has as purpose to structure and promote the vision of young people on a series of subject areas and to propose amendments to update the legislative framework youth in Romania.

Ciprian Stanescu, Curator, Global Shapers Bucharest Hub

Aniela Aron, Public Manager, Ministry of Labor
Claudia Benchescu, President, CSL, Vice President TNL
Iulia Drajneanu, Advisor, Presidential Administration
Corina Murafa, Public Policy Consultant
Codru Vrabie, Anti corruption expert, Funky Citizens

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National Youth Council of Romania

The second edition of the National Youth Council of Romania will take place between 10 and 13 September in Bucharest. The purpose of this edition is to structure and promote the vision of young people on a series of subject areas and to propose amendments to update the legislative framework youth in Romania. This debate platform benefits from a strategic partnership with Global Shapers Bucharest Hub, Aspen Institute Romania and the Youth Organization National Union Bloc and will gather over 200 youth representatives from Romania.

In the first two days of the event participants will attend a series of panels for discussion on topical issues. Professional facilitators will join young people’s creativity and critical thinking to achieve an objective analysis and, especially, to propose realistic and appropriate solutions to the problems identified on each level. Subjects for the panels will be:

1.    Labor and Entrepreneurship
2.    Participation and volunteering
3.    Health, Sports and Recreation
4.    Culture and Education
5.    YOUth Guarantee and the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups

Young people aged 14 to 35 willing to participate in this event can register by filling in the form available on the official website of the Youth Forum in Romania ( from August 10th to 23th, 2015. The selection results will be released on August 31, 2015. The organizers will provide accommodation and meals for 100 participants from outside Bucharest  and lunch for 100 participants in Bucharest.

“Beyond statistics, the overall situation of young people in Romania is worrying. From our point of view, a central role in improving the social situation of this category, creating a favorable youth employment and professional development of their initiatives, and not only that, is the  particular legislation and executive action. For this reason,  the second edition of the National Youth Council of Romania will recreate the space devoted to discussions and interaction between young people between 14 and 35 years from all over the country, NGOs, youth, other members of civil society  and also the  representatives of the central authorities. We started this process in order to identify the most desirable and appropriate ideas for updating the legislative framework in the field of youth in Romania, steady and perfectly connect the agenda and good practices: youth empowerment, especially young people’s access to rights and support their participation in democratic life. “- Radu Petrariu President of the Romania’s Youth Forum.


So what is a Global Shaper?

August 2025. It’s been 10 years since the 2015 Annual Curators Meeting happened. I remember it as if it was yesterday. 450 Curators of the largest community the World Economic Forum created gathered to meet and transform their ideas into action and their action into change. Global change.

There were times in these 10 years where many of us felt like our impact is smaller than we can; many times when our voice was silenced by the ones that should shut up; many times when we just stayed low and forgot who we are. But something made us stand up and shape our world. The stories Mark Pollock told us, the inspiring words of Prof. Schwab and the conversations we had with each other in and after the ACM helped us connect our work, cities and countries. And this was the key of ACM, each year. To connect us in sharing cultures and dreams and to make us support each other.

Someone asked then what does it mean to be a Global Shaper. I realize, every day, that it is what we do that makes us who we are, not definitions. It is in our DNA to fight, build, connect and inspire. I’ve seen cities rebuilt, countries breathing the air of freedom and improbable technological innovation created by Shapers. I’ve seen us in political, business and civic leadership positions that shook the very foundations of the world. We are shaping the world like nobody believed we could at the beginning of this story. We are leaders, friends, mothers, fathers, presidents, prime-ministers and citizens. We are, alongside our peers, the ones that shape the world. And we have the duty to continue.


*This is an essay by Ciprian Stanescu, Curator, Global Shapers Bucharest Hub


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:

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, 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.