The Grimshaw Club - LSE IDEAS – Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation trip to Romania

The Grimshaw Club, LSE IDEAS, and the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation organised a trip to Romania in early April 2019 for LSE students.

The calibre of our speaker engagements was very impressive as we immersed ourselves in the local culture and geopolitical situation

Horatio Lyons, Grimshaw Club President

LSE IDEAS and The Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation (our partners on the Central and South-East Europe Programme (CSEEP)) teamed up with the Grimshaw Club, the oldest student society at the LSE, to organise a trip to Romania. The purpose of this visit was for students interested in the region and the wider global trends that impact it to get to know the realities on the ground and make their own research and assessment on these issues.

Meeting at the Cluj-Napoca city hall with Mayor Emil Boc (former Prime Minister of Romania)

During the week-long trip the students had numerous meetings with former and current high-ranking officials from Romania, the neighbouring countries and others. At the same time, our partners from the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca (where our LSE IDEAS CSEEP regional desk is located) organised a number of seminars and workshops with the purpose of familiarising the delegates to a number of problems that can be found in this area. The themes ranged from ethnopolitics, history of the region from the empires that once existed to the formation of new nation-states, the current political complexities of the Romanian system and those of its neighbours.

While the main focus was on Romania due to the fact that it currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, there were also guest speakers from surrounding countries that offered a more rounded picture of the region. Guest speakers included the former foreign minister of Hungary and former European Commissioner, Peter Balazs, former Prime Minister of Moldova, Ion Sturza, the German Consul in Sibiu, Hans Tischler, and the First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest, Aleksei Samsonov. The delegation also witnessed the workings of the EcoFin Council reunion that was taking place at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest at the time.

Tour of the Romanian Presidential Palace

On the Romanian side, the delegation was received by three State Counsellors from the Presidency of Romania, two former Prime Ministers, two former EU Commissioners, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Romanian Parliament and the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. The final meeting took place at the residence of the British Ambassador to Bucharest, Mr Andrew Noble, where the students recapitulated the main themes of the previous days over afternoon tea.

Horatio Lyons, President of the Grimshaw Club and member of the delegation said:
“It was a pleasure working with Vlad Zigarov and LSE IDEAS to develop this first ever Grimshaw-CSEEP student delegation to Romania. The reach afforded us by this triple collaboration with also the Ratiu Family Foundation immediately became apparent as the trip took us from Cluj and Turda in Transylvania to Sibiu and finally the capital, Bucharest. The calibre of our speaker engagements was very impressive as we immersed ourselves in the local culture and geopolitical situation, and we look forward to deepening this relationship in the coming years.”

Meeting with former Romanian Minister for Agriculture, Prime Minister and former EU Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos