MIGRADEMO Workshop Series: A Snapshot from Romania 

The MIGRADEMO research team has conducted fieldwork in Morocco, Romania, and Turkey, including semi-structured interviews and household surveys. As part of our dissemination activities, we have organised a series of country-level workshops in Ifrane, Bucharest, and Istanbul with local actors, survey companies, and academics supporting our research on the field in order to thank them and provide them with an update on the progress of our study. These events aim to communicate some preliminary findings to the local audience and gather valuable feedback and input from them. 

Our second workshop, focused on the Romanian case study, took place at Villa Noël (Bucharest) on May 10. The event consisted of three sessions (one in English, two in Romanian), where our research team presented a selection of our initial findings and engaged in insightful conversations with the workshop participants.   

During the first session, Dr Eva Østergaard-Nielsen (PI), presented an overview of our findings. She explained how migration influenced the political attitudes and behaviours of members of Parliament and civil society representatives and discussed the results of the household surveys conducted in Maramureș. The presentation was followed by a critical and constructive Q&A session moderated by Dr Ovidiu Oltean and Dr Vladimir Bortun. 

For our second session, Dr Vladimir Bortun outlined the choice of the locations for the in-depth interviewing with return migrants and local residents with relatives abroad in Maramureș and presented a MIGRADEMO working paper, Bortun, V., Østergaard-Nielsen, E. and Cosciug, A. (2023) “It was us, from Italy, that made him mayor”: Drivers and inhibitors of migrant-led political change at the local level, on the influence of migration on local politics. After the presentation, Dr Anatolie Cosciug facilitated a stimulating discussion between the speaker and the attendees, who exchanged their perspectives and opinions on the topic at stake. 

The third and final session, moderated by Dr Ovidiu Oltean and Dr Vladimir Bortun, built on a more interactive approach. It was structured as an interview to three returnees who had participated in our research, namely Antonia Tomoioaga, Stefan-Iulian Lorincz, and Bogdan Ivanel. During the session, they shared their experiences as local councillor, member of parliament, and head of a civil society organisation with a migration background, which sparked significant engagement from the audience. 

The event resulted in several insightful debates between the MIGRADEMO team and the participants, primarily focusing on how migration impacts the attitudes of returnees, particularly those joining local and national politics. Among the other topics discussed, the attendees addressed the main drivers and obstacles characterising the migration-related diffusion process at the level of civil society and political elites. 

Eager to follow up on such fruitful conversations in the future, we would like to express our gratitude to all those who joined the event and shared their perspectives and ideas with us. Your contributions enriched the debate and provided valuable insights to help us digest the preliminary findings of our research. We also thank Villa Noël, Roberta Maria Aricò and the speakers for making this event possible.