CEP Student Conferences Inspire Debate


From the Civic Education Project Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 1, Winter 1996/97

At CEP Romania's 5th Annual Student Conference, held December 6-8 in Timisoara, students gathered to explore the main themes of contemporary Romanian society and analyze major trends shaping Romania's future. The conference, entitled "Facing the Future -- a Proposal for Romania," provided a forum for students to present scholarly papers and engage in open and lively debate. While the majority of the conference was devoted to student presentations, there was continuous interaction between CEP professors, guests from academic institutions, and the students themselves.

Thirty-two Romanian students from Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi, and Baia Mare were joined by six students from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. Students' papers were grounded by content, and presented at panels on: Education; Ideas, Perceptions and Reality; Art and Literature; Minorities; Human Rights; International Trade; Information; Management and Systems; European Union; Security in World Order:Finance; National Policies/Politics. Each panel was made up of from three to five students who gave short oral presentations of their papers; CEP professors served as moderators and discussants on each of the panels. After the presentations, the members of the panel answered questions from the audience, providing the framework for an open dialogue.

This conference was funded by HESP Romania and hosted by the Social Science Research Center and the University of the West in Timisoara. Conference papers will be published, and the volume will be sent to libraries in the universities of all student participants.

CEP scholars teach about 6,000 of the next generation of leaders of the region in the subjects best designed to help them learn to think independently and critically, and develop the habits of democratic debate, tolerance, and peaceful resolution of disputes. Student Conferences, which have become an integral part of CEP's work, bring young men and women together from different communities and countries who learn from and about one another. The conferences allow students to refine their analytical skills, where gaining valuable experience presenting their own original research to people who listen and respond. In upcoming months, CEP will sponsor a number of other Student Conferences. The CIS Student Conference series will include: "Social Institutions and Values in Transition Societies" (Russia, March 14-16); "Regulation and Reform in Transition Economies" (Kazakhstan, March 29-30); and "The Problems of Supra-National Integration" (Ukraine, April 4-7). CEP Estonia will host "Economic and Social Change: A Question of Balance," March 14-17.

At the 5th Annual International Student Conference to be held in Budapest from April 22-27, entitled "The Way Ahead: Choices in Transformation," students from all countries in which CEP has a presence will come together to discuss the continuing transformation of social, political and economic institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Emphasis will be on the implications of this transformation process for the close of the 1990's and the start of the new millennium.