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Arena of Active Citizens

On the evening of Saturday, the 26th of September, over 80 Bucharest dwellers have been lured with a mirror and the question “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most active citizen of them all?” to enter Arena Cetatenilor ActiviThe Arena of Active Citizens. The Arena is an interactive track which had been set up by the volunteers at Progress Foundation on the occasion of the Night of Open Libraries.

The track, which was packed with different activities- a quiz on the topic of active citizenship, puzzles with portraits of model citizens, filling in of MUST DO lists- must-do activities, must-read books- has led the sleepless citizens right into the Nest of Democracy. The Nest is a space awarded by the National Library for setting up a meeting, debate and work place for citizens and NGO’s.

The Nest of Democracy will only be inaugurated at the end of October, but the brave clue-hunters were already able to see  the set-up plans, they received information about the space’s functions, and they participated in active citizenship exercises.

Training course for active citizens @Ploiesti

The course in active citizenship took place this weekend in the hall which is soon to become a “Nest of Democracy”.

As a trainer, I have constantly wondered whether I would be able to maintain the volunteer citizens’ initial enthusiasm, whether the ideas I would present would be useful tools for them in the process of getting involved in the community of Ploiesti. I must however admit that I was impressed by the results. On the second day of the course, there were even more participants, who were even more involved in the sessions. I already knew that Ploiesti needed a handful of people with administrative spirit but now, after having known them, I saw the beauty of their spirit. Regular citizens, but with rich souls, with warm smiles, strong arms and sharp minds.

I felt that we were a family, planning for the future, sharing our problems and communicating efficiently. Even if we know that we still have to learn how to develop this nest, our motivation is strong. We are certain that we can help our community!

Their answers regarding this meeting have been:

“Over the period 11th- 12th of September 2015, I have participated in a training workshop on active citizenship where I had the privilege of not only learning new and interesting things, but also of feeling that I am a part of a nest of people who are willing to get involved and be themselves the change that they desire to see in the world. I have learned here that it is difficult to make a civic bicycle to work and get to its destination without balance, involvement and coordination. I have learned that active citizenship does not only mean to be

a critical observer, but it also means involvement, responsibility and action. During this workshop, I have learned that through objectivity and analysis we can solve any conflict to the benefit of all parties involved. I consider this course to be a great gain for me and I want to thank the trainers for igniting and / or recharging the active citizenship engines of participants.” – Cosmin Florentin NEAGU, Coordinator C.P.E.C.A. Prahova

“On the days of September the 11th and 12th, I have participated in the course which trained the active citizen in me; it was an experience which has helped me to understand that being a citizen and being active means growing together with the others and for the others, it is about how you are and not about who you are, it means vision and action.”– Anca Spiridon, volunteer

“Time goes by, sometimes slower, other times quicker. Sometimes we feel as if we waste it. But there are also moments in life when time becomes very precious because of the beauty and the intensity with which we live every moment. This was the case for the time which went quickly by during the two course days, when I felt strongly that it was time well spent. It definitely was that for me!” – Pirvu Adriana Maria, high-school student, XII GE class,  „Jean Monnet” National College Ploiesti

Civil Literacy In Public Libraries

Article written by: Dr. Camelia Crisan, project manager

I had the honor to present the project The Third Space of Active Citizenship within the Next Library Conference from Aarhus (Denmark), unanimously recognized as the most innovative conference of the library profession, where only the most interesting and cutting-edge initiatives are accepted in order to be part of interactive sessions or as keynote speeches.

Our project drew a lot of attention and libraries from developed countries like Finland,USA, Sweden and Denmark have stated that active citizenship is an initiative that must be promoted in these countries’ public libraries too.

There has been an agreement among participants that the national states go through a systemic crisis, a legitimacy crisis of the political system, of the public institutions and of leadership, while the solution resides in citizens’ empowerment. People were able to learn how to fly so they can learn democracy too, was the position of Progress Foundation, adapting a slogan well-thought by our colleagues from the Democracy Nest Brasov.

On the occasion of this conference we had the opportunity to visit the most modern library of the world at this moment, DOKK1. It is a building whose design has been done through public participation, and a vision of the public authorities whereby the libraries should be the focal point of citizens interaction, in order to build a prosperous and cohesive society. When you visit this space you are under the impression that the space as a whole is under the control of the citizens, there is free access in most of the spaces and the interactions are available on several levels: reading, debates, learning and playing.

The Civic Action Groups have their natural habitat in the public libraries, sometimes in order to re-learn democracy, as a participant from Denmark mentioned – in some countries democracy is taken for granted, practicing it seems just something effortless.

Several libraries invited us to offer them for consultation the course and to show them the project’s results, as a model. We are proud that we have been able to inspire others with our ideas and innovation and all these have been made possible by the effort and involvement of 191 volunteers and 15 librarians who participate in the project. Kudos and chapeau-bas!

BJ Prahova

BJ Oradea

BJ Mehedinti

BJ Valcea

BJ Mures

BJ Neamt

Active members

The group of active citizens is finally formed.  Here are the volunteers who make our project a tangible space for active citizenship:

1. Ghitoiu Daniela
2. Dinca Iulia
3. Panait Ana-Maria
4. Popa Alexandra Monica
5. Stoleru Iulia Manuela
6. Matu Cristina
7. Cojocaru Mihaela
8. Puscasu Stefan
9. Udrea Rafael
10. Udrea Andra
11. Liviu Martinescu
12. Carmen Spiridon
13. Diana Cioban
14. Cristiana Sava
15. Florin Prunaru
16. Mihaela Carutasu