Freedom Team Interview: Lorin Stan in Focus
1. Please share a few words about yourself?
I am Lorin Stan, I was born in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), but live in Germany for 21 years. Before joining FNF, I graduated a bachelor’s program in “Public Governance across Borders” and “European Public Administration” in Münster (Germany) and Enschede (Netherlands). The strong European, interdisciplinary and international focus of the study program opened my eyes that our challenges of today must be solved on a global level, as a regional crisis can easily become a global one. Thus, single nation states and national egoisms are not effective enough to deal with current issues, such as migration, the fight against terrorism, security and climate change.
During the 3rd year of my study program, I had the great opportunity to do an internship at the German Embassy in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. Being born in Romania, I am personally very interested in the countries of East and Southeast Europe, because even 28 years after the fall of the iron curtain, their transformation process towards a transparent, accountable, liberal and meritocratic state as well as a social market economy is not completed yet. However, all of these countries have an enormous potential for growth, development and prosperity in future.
Personally, I am a proud liberal since I was a teenager and that was exactly one of the reasons why I chose the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom as an opportunity to see how a political foundation promotes liberal values in East and Southeast Europe.
2. How long and in what position have you worked in FNF?
For a period of 3 months, from September to December 2017, I worked as an intern of the Freedom Team in the Project Office of FNF Southeast Europe in Sofia.
3. What are the most valuable insights that you will take from your time in Bulgaria?
I have never been to Bulgaria before joining the Freedom Team in Sofia and the first thing I was impressed by was the huge historical, cultural and archaeological heritage the capital and the whole country have to offer. With its different historical periods, Bulgaria has a lot of sights it can be proud of, such as the old churches, monasteries, the Roman theatre of Plovdiv and ancient Thracian ruins. Moreover, I could not imagine the great importance and impact of the Bulgarian liberation in 1878 even today, as a lot of streets, boulevards and names of football clubs are named after the thinkers of the liberation movement. Nevertheless, after the communist period the country suffered from, I realized that the transition of Bulgaria is not finished yet and more time and action is needed to democratize and to bring the country closer to the liberal values of the European Union. It is not possible to eradicate the cancer of communism over night, but determination and a political will based on national priorities can contribute to accelerate the transition process.
4 What did you enjoy most during your internship at FNF?
During my internship at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, I gained a lot of knowledge about the political, economic and social situation of Bulgaria. Taking part in various conferences about media freedom and disinformation, digitalization, the Western Balkans, Bulgaria’s EU membership, the focus of the Bulgarian presidency of the European Council and the fight against corruption, contributed to increasing my knowledge also about the situation beyond the national borders of Bulgaria. Conferences, organized by NGOs with representatives of the civil society and the young generation outside the political power structures, were a good opportunity for me to understand better what kind of challenges Bulgaria faces.
Especially 2 events organised by FNF, in which I assisted my colleagues with organisational and preparation work, will remain vivid in my memory. The conference “Reshape Bulgaria, Reshape Europe”, which enabled direct debate between young Bulgarians and high level politicians from different parties across the political spectrum about Bulgaria’s current challenges. This was a good opportunity to understand in what kind of country young people would like to live in and what changes Bulgaria needs.
Another important FNF event I contributed to was the reception “FNF and Friends” during the Regional Directors’ Conference, where Directors from 7 Offices in East and Southeast Europe and FNF representatives from Germany visited Bulgaria. During the meet and greet reception, I had the chance to meet with Manfred Richter, Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Furthermore, the reception gave me the occasion to speak with and even take a photo with the former President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, who gave an impressive speech about liberal values and the importance of historical knowledge to make Bulgaria and Europe a better place for the future.
5. Why is promotion of Freedom important to you?
Freedom brings prosperity, individual well-being, development, innovations, creativity and new ideas! Especially in the region where I was born, the promotion of freedom is a crucial aspect during the transformation process. We should learn from history that shows us how much unfree countries suffered and still suffer today due to totalitarian regimes pursuing only their needs, interests and power positions and not the pursuit of happiness of the whole society.
6. What does the “F” of FNF mean to you?
Freedom, the privilege we have compared to other countries to decide independently and free without being forced and dominated by the state what decisions to make for our own future.
7. What is your Freedom message?
Never take freedom and democracy for granted. Both must be actively defended against illiberal forces and constantly adjusted to current challenges. An active civil society is crucial to defend freedom and liberal values against the abuse of state power.