In 2014, Paul Runcan started his journey with CIEE as a Work & Travel USA participant from Romania. It was during this exchange program in the United States that Paul discovered his passion for politics, due in part to his participation in the CIEE Civic Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. After he returned home to Romania, Paul continued to develop his interest in politics. Then, in 2019, Paul learned of an opportunity to participate in the World Justice Project Forum, an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide. He applied for a “Professional Development” CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grant and received the funds he needed to attend. Having the opportunity to participate in such high-level legal discussions was a huge opportunity for Paul to advance his personal and professional pursuits.
Paul's first working session was on “Agenda 2030” and how states are working towards implementing SDG 16 and access to justice. Other sessions he attended addressed topics such as businesses advancing access to justice, regulating legal services in the 21st century, and many other discussions directly related to the Forum's theme: "Realizing Justice for All". His first day of attending the forum was very insightful, yet he was most looking forward to day 2, where attendees were taking offsite to the Dutch Parliment to attend sessions on politics. The discussions were hosted by two Dutch MP’s, who presented information on the court systems in Amster, the independence of the judiciary, and about how MP’s can help tackle these issues. On his last day, Paul attended a session on the Open Government Partnership and how to use it to advance access to justice. They spoke on case studies from Moldova, Indonesia, Macedonia, Argentina, and Sierra Leone, and about OGP’s influence in these countries.
Wrapping up the Forum, Paul felt that he had been able to grow personally and professionally by having the opportunity to attend the World Justice Forum. He says, "I am eternally grateful. Reinvigorated by observing global and community leaders sharing insights on the rule of law, I gained a great deal of personal and professional growth and will strive to continue to make a difference in my community."
To find out more about the CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants, visit out website here!