Roxana Donaldson Cirtu

Annual Report of the University Women Romania Association

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In 2019, University Women Romania Association (AFU România) organized its own 3 conferences (May 25th , October 5th , November 23rd ) and a webinar (August 4th ). The conferences were held in Bucharest, at the prestigious National Museum of Romanian Literature and consisted of public speeches held by AFU Romania members and by guests who are prominent Romanian women. The topics of 2019 were: education, family, non-gendered working fields, women in STEM fields and well-being as an indicator of happiness.

On 5th May, in the conference “History of women – Professions without gender”, we evoked, with the support of our guests, historians, psychologists and other professionals from different fields , female personalities who have written history and pioneered in professions once considered to belong to men.

On 5th October it was time for an educational event: “Romanian women in history- Women as mothers and educators”. We invited people to explore together what education means today in all its aspects.

On 23rd November we talked about what well-being and wellness and how we perceive it as men and women. We challenged our audience to find new answers to old questions and we were helped in our journey by our guests: psychologists, writers and other professionals from different fields.

We also participated as a BURSA partner in the “Genderless Entrepreneurship” Conference, and as an UWE partner in the Erasmus Net Power Project, and developed partnerships with several high schools in Bucharest and in the country, in the purpose of emotionally supporting 12th grade students to prepare for baccalaureate degree and college admission.

“Genderless Entrepreneurship” was aired live on AFU Romania’s Facebook Page. Detailed info on the 2019 partnerships and projects can be found on the AFU website, as follows: Net Power Project and Students’ support project.

And since 2020 has been the IT year for digital communication and social distancing, AFU Romania launched on 4th August a webinar on Well-being. Well-being is not something abstract, it is provided by the sum of verbal and nonverbal behaviors determined by the thoughts we use both in our verbal and inner dialogue. People attended online via Zoom.

Just like in 2018, in 2019 we faced various challenges: to attract new members, to ensure sustainability and better financing. For 2021 we aim to increase collaboration with other international women associations on women common interests, to grow our membership and find volunteers and active people ready to get involved in making things happen.

On behalf of the University Women Romania Association:

Roxana Donaldson Cirtu/CER


Reporter from the Romanian Lockdown Front

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As I write this, sometime near the end of April 2020, the hardest part of the coronavirus adventure is over. It’s been a tough two-month lockdown in Bucharest, Romania, and if you were to ask me more on what it really feels like, I would have a hard time finding the right answer. Life in self isolation, working from home, limiting real face to face interactions, drowning in the limited routine of each identical and symmetrical lump of 24 hours melts days into each other until you no longer recall anything except just a long, dull time that lasted from Day 1 till the final.

I am a visual artist and an entrepreneur and while the artistic part of me can be very happy all by itself, painting and figuring out colours, shapes and sometimes future projects, the entrepreneur needs constant and real feedback, meeting real people, doing things and getting things done.  It was not much I could do for my inner entrepreneur, so I took the liberty to dedicate the lockdown to my artistic projects.

When the crisis happened I was on the verge of setting down the last details for a prospected May 2020 exhibition, and as days passed on and more and more worrying news appeared I realized the May exhibition was not going to happen at all. I chose to pick up the works and store them somewhere so I didn’t see them anymore. It was not meant to be, I said to myself, and since I am a go with flow kind of person I moved on. Everything I wanted to express with my May exhibition suddenly felt out of place, no longer fitting me and certainly not fitting what happened around. I felt it was the right time to start a new project, this one entirely dedicated to the Corona pandemic: daily drawings to express the most notable feeling of the day, be it hope, sadness, plain old boredom or fear. Because the unhappiness of the present moment shall pass and since the routine of the isolation bears nothing remarkable in itself, its only vivid remains will be the fleeting memories of my emotions. I wanted to capture this and I did it.

It is my way to change a negative experience in something positive and full of hope. I am an eternal optimist and I believe in making things happen.

As a woman artist and as a woman entrepreneur, I have long learned that the only way to succeed is to adapt and see the positive in anything. I did find the positive in all this dreadful experience: I reconnected to my art, my family and close friends and once this is over, through my works, I will connect to other people, people who for the time being cannot be reached and live as isolated as I live, in their homes, with their thoughts, their hopes and anxieties.

Roxana Donaldson Cirtu
CER University Women Romania