Understanding the Romanian diaspora

This essay is the first in a new Foreign Policy Centre series that aims to focus on the complex relationship between homelands and diaspora communities. Bureaucratic and institutional practices in the home country have shaped to certain degrees, at times considerably, how diaspora communities interact, associate and organise themselves abroad. In particular, by examining the Romanian diaspora the authors seek to glimpse into larger issues of governance and more specifically, into Romania’s fight against corruption. The research showed that Romanian state institutions tended to endorse what was perceived as a benign form of diaspora engagement, centred on promoting a specific ethnic-cultural identity abroad. Current state policies largely and intentionally ignore the civic dimension of diasporic identity. Despite this, civic and political activism increasingly forms an organising basis for diaspora communities. Common themes such as good governance and the fight against corruption have become rallying points for collective mobilisation, at home and abroad.

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