About Aspen Public Policy Programs

The Public Policy Programs of the Aspen Institute Romania (AIR) seek to improve the formation of policy through transparent, non-partisan, evidence based, multiple stakeholders’ dialogue. Based on the Aspen Method, our programs offer public decision makers, private stakeholders and representatives of the non-governmental and academic sectors an exceptional platform for reflection, aiming to reach consensus on concrete policy recommendations in Romania’s most relevant policy fields. By engaging with public decision makers from the start of the reflection process, in an informal and informed dialogue, mutual ownership of our policy recommendations is fostered.

Context & Program Overview

Considering recent global developments Aspen Institute Romania’s Board of Trustees decided that resilience should become a transversal topic addressed in all public policy programs and public events of AIR. Under the framework of the Resilience, Governance & Society Program a non-partisan dialogue is facilitated between institutional actors, representatives of international organizations active in the field, NGOs, media and private sector representatives, in order to foster resilience in the face of key challenges facing Romania and its international partners, as well as identify and promote policies aiming for better governance.

Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund (GMF) are currently piloting a truly comprehensive resilience measurement, on the case of Romania, complementary to the newly launched Strategic Foresight initiative of the European Commission (EC). Acknowledging the timely and relevant contribution of this monitorization instrument, we aim to bring our contribution in order to achieve an optimal engagement from both the EC and member states.

Our project has a three-pronged approach:

  • Developing subnational resilience metrics;
  • Mapping stakeholders’ converging or diverging interests regarding the key dimensions of the Strategic Foresight dashboard;
  • Mapping tensions between member states regarding resilience-enhancing policies promoted by the EU.

Program Track Record

The following governance-related activities were organized under the framework of program:

  • Towards a Gold Standard in Governance, Transparency and Anti-Corruption in Post-Communist Societies took place on 2 September 2014, marking the 25thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. Benefiting from the participation of high-level representatives of a larger community involved in the good governance efforts in the political, economic and social context in the region, this conference aimed to overcome real and nominal convergence issues separating former communist countries from the developed economies and societies of EU.
  • Gateway Unit– Organized between 2014 and 2016, with the support of Aspen Institute Romania, at the level of the General Secretariat of the Government, the Gateway Unit comprised an inter-ministerial mechanism and a dedicated team of top consultants led by a High Representative of the Prime Minister for Strategic Projects. The outcome was a series of strategic recommendations for the Romanian Government, based on a 360o diagnostic of the economy, including a top-down as well as bottom up analysis.
  • Beyond GDP: Human Development and Welfareroundtable, organized at the Palace of the Parliament, on 3rd of May 2017, identifying new public policy instruments, aiming to reduce the important gaps of development and opportunities still existing inside and outside of Romania.
  • Governance Innovation Forum, a high-level public platform organized on the margins of the Digital Assembly, in partnership with the Ministry of Communication and Information Society (13/14 June 2019). The event aimed to create a platform of expertise, good practice and ideas, in order to identify innovative solutions for better governance and policy making in Romania, both at national and local level.
  • Resilience and Foresight – The World after the Pandemic, webinar organized on May 29th, 2020, in partnership with the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Aspen Institute Germany, and Aspen Institute Italy, addressing resilience and foresight in a post – pandemic world, in the context of the necessary global recovery after the crisis created by the Covid-19 outbreak. The debates covered strategic dimensions related to resilience-building in the face of global threats such as pandemics, also addressing resilience in the face of fake news, a tactic which has recently become a key pillar of a wider hybrid warfare campaign waged by state and non-state actors against institutions such as NATO, the EU, and their member states. As the intensity and potential for harm of the fake news campaign have increased since the pandemic, the webinar discussed strategies to identify and counteract fake news, looking at best practices and lessons learned.
  • The National Recovery and Resilience Plan for Romania and Opportunities for the Private Sector in the New Economy, webinar organized on March 9th, 2021, under the aegis of the Aspen New Economy & Society Program, the Aspen Resilience, Governance & Society Program and the Aspen Dialogues Series. The webinar brought together key actors involved in the Plan’s development process from the Romanian Government, the European Commission and European Parliament. It looked at how new EU financial instruments will be accessed by actors in the domestic market, with a focus on opportunities for the private sector.
  • 2 editions of the Program’s Custom Leadership SeminarAspen Public Service Leadership Program, seeking to consolidate good governance and the fundamental elements of rule of law through promoting value-based leadership. The program identifies and brings together 20-25 of the most promising public administration leaders, aged between 25 and 45 years old and is fellowship based. Participants include professionals from the local or central public administration (government, city halls and municipalities, local and county councils) and promising members of political parties.