The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - Romania, launches Stand By Me in Bucharest

Hosted by the British Embassy in Bucharest, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Romania has launched the Stand By Me initiative with the Buddy Up scheme aimed at supporting young Ukrainians in Romania to deal with the huge impact of war and displacement. The event, taking place on the 9 of March 2023 at the residence of His Majesty’s Ambassador to Romania, Mr. Andrew Noble, LVO, has benefited from the presence of an influential group of stakeholders and supporters of the Ukrainian community in Romania, including Presidential Administration, Ministry of Education, UNICEF and UNHCR.

Guests at the event have had the chance to listen to the inspiring welcome words of HMA Andrew Noble, while this special project has been introduced by Lucy Ranson, Senior Operator Manager at the International Award Foundation and by Mihaela Maris, Vice-president of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Romania.

The framework of the Award has become available together with the Award Units and participants to support Ukrainian youth to find the comfort of friends, stay active and access integrative learning for life. While the history of the Award goes back more than 60 years, the history of Ukrainian young people joining the Award starts now, allowing them to become part of an educational program that is present in more than 130 countries and territories in the world. Moreover, the Romanian DofE team has welcomed the Ukrainian Teachers Association in Romania who have impressively gathered to provide national curricula, from a very active and responsible drive to help at mitigating the challenges of integrating the displaced Ukrainian children and youth in Romania.

“It’s a great honour for us to be here today to celebrate the launch of the Stand By Me project in Romania. The war has made us experience very different roles. Here am I, a Ukrainian teacher, a wife, a mother, but also a refugee, a survivor, a community leader, a fighter. Our fight is for the Ukrainian children, the treasure of our nation. And we are not alone in this fight. We have been supported by Romanian people, by European countries, by the whole democratic world.

“We have now hundreds of refugee teachers joining the Association of Ukrainian Teachers in Romania and thousands of children and young people reached in educational hubs. We are very grateful for this opportunity because through our hubs, we are saving our uniqueness, our native language, our culture, and on the other side, Ukrainian children have the possibility to learn a new language, a new culture step by step. This year, our teachers have started working with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Romania and the Stand By Me project. The greatest value of this programme for us is that we can finally reach teenagers and young adults, the age group most difficult to reach. The Award gives us a clear framework and a plan of how to interact with young people, how to engage them in the life of the community and how to motivate them to strive” – Mrs. Galyna Zmiievska, a representative of the Association of Ukrainian Teachers in Romania from the Ostovok Hub in Bucharest.

The agenda of the launching event has included speeches from Ionel – Florian LIXANDRU, Secretary of State in the Romanian Ministry of Education, Mr. Gabriel Vockel,

UNICEF Deputy-Representative in Romania, Mr. Pablo Zapata Head of UNHCR, Lucy Ranson, the Senior Operations Manager from the International Award foundation and Mihaela Maris from The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Romania. And it ended with a touching moment of short impressions and perspectives from the Ukrainian community. Ms. Olena Koval, UN volunteer for WHO Romania, has described what it means to be a cultural mediator and the importance of Ukrainian community leaders in mitigating between cultures and mentalities.

Amira Korobko and Anastasia Damanakis, young participants and ‘Buddies’ from the International School of Bucharest spoke of the challenges for Amira to continue her musical training she started in Ukraine and how this left her with a feeling of loss. Anton Bobrovskyi from Politehnica University Bucharest spoke with enthusiasm of how he managed to learn English in a year and become a university student. Maria Skalska, a young participant from Transylvania College in Cluj-Napoca described the amazing opportunities she gained being in Romania and how doors opened up for her in what she sees as much better education in Europe.


Further information

For more information, please click here or contact Anca Doczi Luchian, Stand By Me project manager on [email protected] or Miha Maris, Vice President of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Romania on [email protected].