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Romanian National training

Thursday November 30th, 2023

The session on Romanian National Laws training occurred on December 5th, 2023, under the guidance of Catalina Olteanu, who is the first Roma woman employed at the Romanian National Antidiscrimination Council. Conducted in an online format, this training brought together both Roma and non-Roma students creating a dynamic intercultural learning environment, as it was organised in collaboration with the Social and Pschicology Faculty of the West University of Timisoara. 

 

The primary goal of this training was to equip participants with knowledge about the current antidiscrimination laws at the national level and provide guidance on navigating situations involving discrimination in general or, more specifically, anti-Roma racism. Catalina emphasized the responsibilities and legal independence of CNCD, illustrating these concepts through specific case scenarios related to anti-Roma discrimination that she has previously addressed within her career. Besides, the participants were enlightened about the proactive role of CNCD in not only combating discrimination, but also preventing it through campaigns, human rights awareness programs, and training sessions aimed at fostering a culture of equality. 

Moreover, as part of the participants were future educators, Catalina shared an enlightening study about discrimination in Romanian schools. The study uncovered that people who discriminate often don’t realize they are doing so. It pointed out specific groups facing discrimination, such as the Roma community, students dealing with weight-related issues, and those with mental disabilities. She also presented a powerful example of segregation in a school. The formation of classes based on ethnicity raised concerns about potential consequences for the school, including the risk of closure. 

The training dynamic surpassed our experiences with international trainings within the project, as the absence of a language barrier allowed for direct communication. Catalina delivered a training rich in the legal context of the national antidiscrimination policies and laws. However, she didn’t stop there, as she also provided specific case scenarios, sparking continuous questions from participants about these cases. The participants, comprising both Roma and non-Roma individuals, actively contributed to the discussions, bringing diverse perspectives to the topic. The positive atmosphere within the training contributed to a sense of shared awareness. Participants not only gained insights into the legal aspects of national antidiscrimination laws but also developed a collective understanding of the tools and mechanisms available to ordinary citizens when one is confronted with instances of discrimination. 

As the training progressed, it became evident that the session had successfully equipped the participants with both knowledge and a heightened sense of social responsibility. The discussions extended beyond individual experiences, encompassing a broader conversation about structural challenges that persist and the role of each of us in addressing these issues.

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