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The launch of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 in Romania took place in Bucharest on March 1st and 2nd.
As explained by Nicolae Idu, Head of the EC Representation in Romania, in his opening speech, the date of the event was chosen on purpose because “March 1st, or Mărțișor, is a traditional Romanian celebration marking the beginning of spring.”
The host of the event was TV celebrity Cătălin Ștefănescu, who introduced two other famous speakers: Iolanda Balaş Söter (born in 1936), Olympic champion and high jump world record holder, now the president of the Athletics Now Foundation, and Neagu Djuvara (born in 1916), historian, essayist, philosopher, journalist, novelist and diplomat.
Mrs. Balaș Söter, one of the Romanian National Ambassadors for this European Year, reminded the audience that “doing sports is very beneficial, extremely at an older age. We have a very representative example, Elena Pagu, who won, in 2009, at the age of 83, the golden metal at the 5 km run at the 2009 World Masters Athletics Championships (Lahti, Finland).”
Neagu Djuvara couldn’t be present at the event, but he sent some inspirational words in a video. Interviewed by Gabriel Basarabescu, he spoke about solidarity between generations and recommended European authorities to tackle during the EY 2012 the issue of “retirement”, as there should be further plans for seniors who are highly capable to be active and valuable parts of the society. “What is your secret for active ageing?” he was asked. His answer: going swimming once a week, teach at the Bucharest University, write book after book and be strongly involved in the Romanian social and cultural life.
On March 2nd the National Conference for launching the European Year took place at the Intercontinental Hotel, opened by Claudia Boghicevici, minister of Labour, Family and Social Protection, and Niculae Idu.
Mrs. Boghicevici spoke about the necessity to combat stereotypes related to elderly persons and reminded to the audience that “those who do not have and old person around should buy one!” The State Adviser to the Prime Minister Andrea Paul Vass highlighted the role of elderly people in society, as well as in the family, naming them the “white gold of Romania”.
The conference included the “Get involved!” event, with exhibitions of handmade objects and photos, provided by the invited NGOs and a debate with panellists who discussed about ageing issues.
Speakers focused on the major contribution of elders in all aspects of society, about the perception of elderly and importance of strengthening intergenerational solidarity, participation on the labour market and volunteering activities also. Promoting the creation of age-friendly environments and lifestyles was also highlighted.
Pictures of the events can be seen here.