The University of Bucharest is the new signatory of the Romanian Diversity Charter on recognition and promotion of social diversity. The University of Bucharest thus reaffirms its already assumed mission so that, both within its academic community and in society – through the generations it forms -, diversity, respect for human dignity, the promotion of equal opportunities and social inclusion become values and principles of constant action.
Thus, by signing the Diversity Charter, the University of Bucharest commits to:
- To develop an organizational culture based on mutual respect, trust, recognition and capitalization of individual differences and skills;
- To apply the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunities in decision-making processes and in the management of human resources with special focus on the recruitment, training, remuneration and professional promotion of employees;
- To reflect the diversity of Romanian society in all its forms in management processes and human resources;
- To carry out a program of awareness and training of the management team and employees in relation to the benefits of diversity;
- Communicate its commitment to non-discrimination and diversity and inform its employees and stakeholders about the practical results of this commitment;
- To annually monitor the progress made in achieving the goals of this Charter;
- To present in reports and other publications the organization’s commitment to non-discrimination and diversity, mentioning concrete actions, practices and results.
Moreover, the University of Bucharest has constantly undertaken activities to ensure an inclusive and safe climate, both for its students and for the teaching staff of the institution, being engaged in protecting and promoting human values and principles that place man, human dignity and the fulfillment of human potential at the heart of its education, training and research activities. “Signing the Diversity Charter by the University of Bucharest is not accidental at all.
It comes to confirm, once again, the mission firmly assumed by our institution regarding the promotion of multiculturalism and diversity within our academic community. In addition to the inclusion and support strategies for the disadvantaged categories that it constantly implements and promotes, the University of Bucharest is also in a permanent process of adaptation and internationalization, which entails precisely the promotion of the cultural and linguistic diversity of an increasingly cosmopolitan academic community.I must mention that the University of Bucharest was the first, through the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, to adopt and implement affirmative measures for Roma in the early 90s. The model was immediately extended to several faculties and then taken over as national public policy. The University has continued over time with various other measures and projects to make our academic community an inclusive one that values and promotes diversity. I give just the example of the institutional development projects aimed at students with disabilities, the SEED project (Educational Support for Disadvantaged Students), aimed at supporting young meritorious students from disadvantaged communities, or the ATHENA project, through which we promote and support gender diversity in our university.
Moreover, in addition to a network of extensive international collaborations and in response to the initiative to establish alliances of European universities, with a fundamental role in consolidating a real European identity, our university is a member of CIVIS, an alliance of 11 prestigious European universities. The University of Bucharest is thus actively involved in promoting the partnership with Africa, thus consolidating its vision on the promotion of multiculturalism at the level of European, regional and global higher education”, noted prof. Marian Preda, PhD, rector of the University of Bucharest. Thus, the University of Bucharest makes, as a priority, consistent and constant efforts to ensure and promote both a quality inclusive education and an inclusive work environment within its university community.
ATHENA, SEED or BlindHub, just three of the initiatives of the University of Bucharest in the direction of consolidating diversity and an inclusive community
For example, as part of the ATHENA project, the Plan for Gender Equality in the University of Bucharest was developed, which provides for a series of measures and actions aimed at creating an inclusive and safe educational climate for all categories of students, professors and non-academic staff. The plan contains, among other things, details on preventing and combating sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination and proposes solutions for situations of this type.
“We welcome the decision of the University of Bucharest to support the Diversity Charter platform, a unique project in Romania that aims to motivate the signatory organizations and institutions to recognize and expand the advantages of integrating diversity into organizational and human resources practices”, said Dana Oancea, Co-founder and Project Manager of the Diversity Charter in Romania.
Moreover, the University of Bucharest, through the Faculty of Political Science, established the Center for Equal Opportunity Policies. This is an academic entity of scientific research, education and expertise, with an international and interdisciplinary vocation, whose mission is to investigate the processes of democratization and definition of citizenship, the development and evaluation of public policies, as well as the social processes of the construction of differences in gender, class, ethnicity, race, sexuality and other forms of social hierarchy. The center complements the master’s program Equal Opportunity Policies in the Romanian and European Context from the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Bucharest.
Also, in partnership with the Association of Blind Persons from Romania and the Orange Foundation, the University of Bucharest implemented the BLINDHub project. Intended to facilitate the insertion of visually impaired people into the university environment and the labor market, the project meets the needs of over 50,000 visually impaired and able-bodied people in Romania. The main component of the project is the BLINDHub mobile application where beneficiaries will be able to create for free a complete professional profile based on a video CV.
In addition, through the “Virtute et Sapientia” Foundation, the University of Bucharest initiated and implements, starting with 2021, the SEED program (Educational Support for Disadvantaged Students), through which they are annually supported – through mentoring programs, facilitating access to technology and covering some educational needs – young high school students with potential from disadvantaged communities, in order to ensure the continuation of their studies.
Students accepted into the UB SEED program benefit, for 5 school years, from online courses, activities/events, mentoring, material and/or financial support, and the results are visible: the first generation of SEED students – the 33 students supported by the Foundation “Virtute et Sapientia” of the University of Bucharest through the SEED program – obtained good and very good results in the National Evaluation exams in June 2022. For example, the top-performing first-generation SEED student achieved a 9.80 average on the June 2022 National Assessment tests, and six other students achieved averages above 9.
Last but not least, we mention that, during the last years, through institutional development projects, several concrete measures have been implemented with a view to the inclusion of people with disabilities-students, professors and administrative staff-, at the same time strengthening the institutional framework for promoting a culture of inclusion in the University of Bucharest. Thus, works were carried out to make access to and modernize the access infrastructure in faculties’ premises, the guidance system with step-hear technology for people with visual impairments was expanded and a series of trainings were organized for teaching staff and administrative staff of the University of Bucharest in the field of educational and social inclusion.
About the Diversity Charter in Romania
The Romanian Diversity Charter is an initiative that brings together the most diverse stakeholders at the same table and offers its signatories a collaborative platform for action, debate and exchange of best practices around diversity management. The Diversity Charter has 189 signatories, covering around 230,000 employees who have publicly assumed the principles of the Charter. Details on membership and the Charter’s programs can be accessed at www.cartadiversitatii.ro.