96669 2/14/2007 15:19 07BUCHAREST165 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED 07SECSTATE12871 VZCZCXYZ0001 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHBM #0165/01 0451519 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 141519Z FEB 07 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6039 UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000165
DEPT FOR EUR/NCE AARON JENSEN G/IWI
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KWMN, PHUM, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIAN NOMINEE FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE AWARD: LILIANA POPESCU
REF: SECSTATE 12871
1. (U) Embassy Bucharest Nominates Professor Liliana Popescu for the Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage.
Name: Liliana Popescu Title: Professor of Political Science and International Relations Institution: National School of Political and Administrative Studies Date of Birth: 1964 Contact Information: 40 722-724-226 (cell); e-mail: Liliana firstname.lastname@example.org; Liliana email@example.com
One of Romania's leading civil society activists, Liliana Popescu is currently professor of political sciences and international relations at the National School for Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest. Whe has made many important contributions in promoting the political and economic emancipation of women, and in general of other discriminated minorities (including sexual minorities) in what is still a rather parochial Romanian society.
Earning her PhD in philosophy at the University of Manchester, Liliana Popescu was for years the director in Romania for the US-based Civic Education Project (CEP), making important contributions to the reform of the curricula in the Romanian universities, including the introduction of civic education programs. She is the director of the Foundation for Civic Education and Academic Development (FPECDA) which continues the CEP's efforts, and has a project sponsored by Embassy Bucharest's Small Democracy Grants program. With this and other related programs, Liliana Popescu tirelessly works to draw public attention to civic problems in Romania's immediate neighborhood, especially in Moldova and Ukraine.
Liliana Popescu is best known, however for her women's rights activism. She is the author of a widely acclaimed book, "The Politics of Sexes" published in 2004. She also has edited or contributed to many other volumes dedicated to this same topic. She was the director for a UNDP program aimed at increasing the role of women in Romanian politics which she held until 2005. Her role as the principal women's rights activist was first prominent during the so-called "Playboy Scandal" in the spring of 2000. Popescu mobilized the widespread protest, including leading a march through downtown Bucharest, following the publication of an infamous article in the Romanian edition of Playboy magazine titled "How to beat your wife without leaving traces." Her efforts brought to light the frequently hidden issue of domestic violence, and forced a public apology from Playboy International and the Romanian editors. The international media recognized this event as one of the first real successes of post-communist Romanian civil society in defending civil rights and liberties.
Liliana Popescu also has an active, leadership role in ACCEPT, a leading Romanian NGO promoting the rights of LGBT community. She courageously works to raise public awareness on the existence and rights of sexual minorities in homophobic Romania, much to the dismay of the highly conservative institutions, including the Romanian Orthodox Church hierarchy. Popescu also promoted the Romanian Festival of Diversity in 2004. For her active involvement in defending the rights of women, combatting domestic violence, and promoting the rights of minorities in Romania, and for her initiatives and leadership role for the emancipation of women in Romania, we nominate Liliana Popescu for the "Women of Courage" prize.
2. (U) Post would also like to bring to the Department's attention our runner-up Iana Matei, who we also consider a strong contender for recognition. Iana Matei is the founder and coordinator of "Reaching Out" shelter for trafficked women. Matei founded the shelter in 1998 and since then has provided direct assistance to 127 victims of human trafficking. Matei's shelter offers a one-year recovery and assistance program that provides victims with shelter, health care, legal aid, and the opportunity to complete their education and to learn new skills that enable them to enter the work force Upon completion of the program, "Reaching Out" acts as a mediator for victims while they seek employment, with the aim of reducing the victim's chances of re-entering the trafficking cycle. "Reaching Out" also carries out information-awareness campaigns targeting potential victims in several cities in the country. Ms.
Matei has managed to maintain an active dialogue with local officials, earning their respect and cooperation. Today, police routinely refer victims to Matei's shelter. She has done a tremendous job of helping the victims of trafficking, and educating officials on the importance of helping these vulnerable people. Matei was praised as a "TIP Hero" in the latest U.S. State Department report on trafficking in persons (TIP).
3. (U) Contact person at post for women's issues is Political Officer John Moor, who can be reached at MoorJ@state.gov, and/or 40 (21) 200-3321. TAUBMAN