US Embassy grants anti-corruption expert lady “the woman of courage” award

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US Embassy in Bucharest awarded Romanian anticorruption expert Laura Stefan the 2015 Woman of Courage prize on Thursday evening.

„I am proud to announce Ms. Laura Stefan as the 2015 U.S. Embassy in Bucharest Woman of Courage this year and our nominee for the 2015 Secretary’s Award for International Woman of Courage. Ms. Stefan is a long-time, leading voice against corruption in Romania,” US charge d’affaires Dean Thompson said.

„Ms. Stefan is an expert on anti-corruption and rule of law and a brave advocate for rule of law, judicial reform, and human rights. Even when facing personal insults and threats, she tirelessly lobbies on behalf of these issues, and the NGO for which she works, Expert Forum, is a model for civil society in Romania,” the US charged’affaires also pointed out.

Thompson mentioned that as a director with the Romanian Justice Ministry, Stefan drew up essential reforming legislation, including the statutes of the National Integrity Agency (ANI).

Every year the embassy chooses one candidate for the State Department’s International Women of Courage Awards, yet the Embassy recognized three other leaders in addition to our International Woman of Courage, arguing „Romania has many extraordinary women who are deeply committed to serving their communities. Inspired by their determination.”

Executive Director of Romano ButiQ Nicoleta Bitu, Bucharest University emeritus professor Rodica Mihaila and Carmen Ungurean of the National Public Healthcare Institute were also nominated for the award.

„We will honor Nicoleta Bitu for her work on behalf of Roma and Romani women. Coming off the heels of International Roma Day, we have been lucky to partner with several NGOs and participate in programs that celebrate Roma and advocate for equality. We have seen how important this work is and we are delighted to honor Ms. Bitu for over 20 years of unrelenting activism, which has contributed to a breakthrough in Romani women inclusion. Next, we will recognize Rodica Mihaila, a courageous pioneer in educational reform, who has been a strong voice in the fight to improve education. And, we will recognize Dr. Carmen Ungurean. As you’ll hear, Dr. Ungurean is a brave, direct, and outspoken advocate for women’s health; this evening we honor her for her unfaltering courage in bringing difficult issues to the forefront of our discussions,” Dean Thompson told the Thursday ceremony.

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