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Anticorruption expert Laura Stefan receives woman of courage award from US Embassy

Romanian anticorruption expert Laura Stefan, on Thursday was awarded a 2015 Woman of Courage Award by the US Embassy in Bucharest.

US charge d’affaires Dean Thompson said Laura Stefan, of the Expert Forum NGO, is also the embassy’s nomination for the International Women of Courage Awards, adding that Stefan is a courageous supporter of the rule of law, judiciary reform and human rights.

Even when facing insults and threats, said Thompson, she continues to untiredly campaign for all this, and the NGO where she operates – Expert Forum – is a model for Romania’s civil society. Laura Stefan, he added, possesses a unique combination of courage, knowledge and inspiration that turn her into a staunch activist in the area of the rule of law, in an excellent mediator of difficult issues, as well as in the best expert in her area.

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).

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

The US Embassy says it has acknowledged Bitu’s activity in support of Roma and Romani women, with Thompson saying he saw just how important Bitu’s activity is and the embassy is delighted to honour Mrs Bitu for her 20 years of tireless activism that led to the achievement of real progress with the inclusion of Romani women.

The same award went to Mihaila and Ungurean. About Mihaila, Thompson said she is a courageous pathfinder in educational reform and a strong voice in the fight to improve formal education, while about Ungurean he said she is a courageous, direct and firm supporter of the importance of women’s health.

Among the attendees of the award ceremony, hosted by the US ambassador’s residence in Bucharest, were chief prosecutor with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi, a 2014 honouree; Minister of Youth and Sports Gabriela Szabo, as well as presidential adviser Andrei Muraru.

 

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