The Aspen Fellows Network organized on September 17, 2012 a Conversation about the value of active citizenship and the significance of social justice in Romania, "Social Romania: when youth gets involved."
We were joined by Aspen Fellows, Aspen Members, the HUB Community as well as young professionals with initiatives in community projects. The conversation had as starting point some success stories of social justice that aim to change the current social and political status. The five projects in discussion (BaniPierduti.ro, PiatadeSpaga.ro, MedAlert.ro, Cineceapromis.ro and Map of logging) address issues such as: corruption in the medical system, bribery in public institutions, transparency in using public expenses, electoral promises or transparency in exploiting natural resources. They are based on the principles of fairness, transparency, equality, solidarity or responsibility and aim to diminish the social problems Romanian society is faced with by inviting people (citizens) to take a stand with the aid of technology, social media and the internet.
The Conversation focused on the potential for change that social justice initiatives and active citizenship can have in the public attitude towards the public goods, in running and administrating public institutions and perhaps even in the political practices towards the public goods and institutions. The event will was moderated by Valeriu Nicolae (Policy Center for Roma and minorities) and had a special guest, Chris Worman (Techsoup Global) - initiator of the social justice competition Restart Romania.
Other topics included:
What does active citizenship mean in today's Romania?
How is the need for social justice manifested in our country?
How can we, as active citizens, grow the Romanians' interest in the responsible administration of public goods and public institutions?
How do we intensify the citizens' involvement in solving community problems?
What does our rulers' public accountability looks like today? What do we do about the promises made but unkept? What do we do about legal responsibilities that are broken in public office?