The Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation was established in London in 1979 by Ion and Elisabeth Ratiu to promote and support projects which further education and research in the culture and history of Romania.
Ion Ratiu (6 June 1917 - 17 January 2000), distinguished Romanian diplomat, entrepreneur, publisher, writer and humanitarian, was an outspoken critic of the communist regime in Romania during the 1947-1989 period. He devoted his life to the fight for democracy in Romania and its integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures.
The Foundation offers 100 annual grants worth GBP 200,000, principally for projects, postgraduate courses, conference participations, travel grants, and other short term courses including academic research. The Ratiu Grants are awarded to Romanian students to study a wide range of subjects in the UK. They enable talented graduates and young professionals to become familiar with the UK and gain skills, which they can adapt and apply in Romania. The Ratiu Foundation has to date supported Romanian students in a range of subjects including architecture, music, theatre, business, theology, philosophy, town planning, political studies, law, art, design, fashion design, archaeology, and ethnomusicology.
The Ratiu Foundation also offers annual seed funding for innovative projects, principally in Romania, which foster Romanian arts and civilisation, heritage, civil society, democracy, and environmental protection.
The projects supported by the Foundation are numerous, and they range from the prevention of human trafficking to the promotion of Romanian fashion in London, via the support for old artists with problems of existence, art curators on voyages of cultural discovery, day centres for the old and disadvantaged, photographic odysseys around unseen Romania, theatre shows in Romania and abroad, specialists in optics attending conferences, English choristers touring Romania, and Welsh writers making research in Transylvania.
The Ratiu Foundation in the United Kingdom supports and collaborates with The Ratiu Center for Democracy, Turda (www.ratiudemocracycenter.org )
The Ratiu Foundation supports The Romanian Cultural Centre (RCC) in London. RCC is an independent, non-governmental organisation promoting Romanian culture in the UK, celebrating this year its 15th anniversary. RCC activity includes organising, supporting and advertising an entire range of Romanian and Romania-related events. Most of the cultural projects initiated and funded by the Ratiu Foundation are put into practice through The Romanian Cultural Centre (RCC) in London. More details on www.romanianculturalcentre.org.uk .
In recent years, The Ratiu Foundation UK has been able to make a substantial contribution to its present vitality and future viability by providing support to the following NGOs and projects developed in Romania:
- Fundatia pentru mestesuguri (Romanian Crafts Foundation in Bucharest) – setting up the organisation; preserving traditional crafts
- Asociatia ‘e-cart’ in Bucuresti (Raluca Voinea) – Marcel Iancu architectural heritage map, Romanian curators’ visit in the UK
- Asociatia de Tineret Add in Bucuresti (Dragos Olea) – library of arts management books, support for up-and-coming fashion designer Rozalb de Mura
- Fundatia Teatru Fara Frontiere in Bucuresti (masterclasses for young actors)
- Asociatia Aurarilor ‘Alburnus Maior’– FanFest in Rosia Montana
- Fundatia pentru Antropologie Vizuala (ASTRA) in Sibiu – Astra Documentary Film Festival
- Jeunesse Musicale Romania – music competition for young people
- Asociatia Liternet – internet cultural portal
- Fundatia Democratie prin Cultura, Sibiu - The Sibiu International Theatre Festival, a festival which presents shows by Romanian and foreign companies and also organizes lectures and workshops for artists, managers, and young people. The Ratiu Foundation UK has funded a program for children – ‘education through theatre’.
- Imago Association – DramAcum platform for new Romanian playwrights - This programme encourages young authors in the Romanian language to write and to realise their ideas. It also encourages the translation of foreign plays into Romanian and Romanian plays into other languages.
- UNITER (Uniunea Oamenilor de Teatru) – Artistii pentru Artisti - The Ratiu Foundation UK supports the UNITER “Artists for Artists” programme. This project is about solidarity with older, retired artists who have difficulties in earning a living. All proceeds from the shows organised within this programme will be given to the charity, Theatre Solidarity Fund.
The Ratiu Foundation/Romanian Cultural Centre in London supported several arts projects in UK, such as Dan Perjovschi’s residency at the Collective Gallery in 2004, Lia Perjovschi’s show at the Yujiro Gallery in London, Matei Bejenaru’s commission for Tate Modern in 2007, and Mircea Cantor’s shows for Modern Art Oxford (2008), Arnolfini in Bristol (2008) and Camden Arts Centre in London (2009). We also organised a UK curators’ trip to Romania, together with Visiting Arts, in October 2005. This was followed by a visit to London of a group of Romanian curators in January 2007, organised with e-cart.ro Association.
The Ratiu Foundation runs several drama and poetry projects – such as encouraging new Romanian playwrights to publish, supporting residencies for playwrights at the Royal Court Theatre in London, support for Uniter (the Romanian Theatre Union), and co-organising the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Poetry Translation with the Poetry Society in London.
- The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation (awarded every other year) is organised by Poetry Society and sponsored by Ratiu Foundation. The first Award was given in 1983.
The prize is £1,500 and the competition is open to collections of poetry translated from a European language into English.
- Book Launches organised by us: ‘Theft of Romania’ by Tom Gallagher; ‘15 November 1988; The Day we Won’t Forget’ by Stejarel Olaru and Marius Oprea; ‘Remittances and International Migration’ by Alexandra Delcea; ‘National Geographic Traveler: Romania’ by Caroline Juler.
The Ratiu Foundation is funding a number of young Romanian musicians in institutions of higher education in England: the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music. These musicians are appreciated there and many of them have already started to perform with success on stages throughout the UK.
The Foundation also supports a range of projects: CD editing, concerts, etc.
Most recently, the Foundation supported the editing of two CDs of the complete works for piano and violin of George Enescu (Haenssler Verlag, Germany), recorded by Remus Azoitei (violin) and Eduard Stan (piano). A concert at Wigmore Hall followed on 15 September 2008.
- One of the most successful events we organised up to date is the Romanian Film Festival in London, which is looking forward to its sixth edition between 1 – 4 May 2009.
It all started in 2002 with screenings of Romanian films in a small art-house cinema, for an audience formed for its greater part of Romanians. Little by little, by publicising these as much as we could through our channels, and offering briefings both to the public and to specialists, we transformed a film club into a festival with a broad scope, and a very visible presence in the local media. We have a mixed audience of Romanian and British people, with both film amateurs and specialists in attendance.
- The Foundation also supported the Romanian presence in The Times BFI London Film Festival, in 2007 and 2008.
- Heart of the Tornado, a documentary film about artist Paul Neagu (1938 – 2004), made by Laurentiu and Agnieszka Garofeanu, was also supported.
- In 2008 the Foundation was also involved in the Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the most important international documentary film festivals, by supporting the Romanian presence there.
- The Ratiu Foundation Award at Astra Film Festival, Sibiu, was first awarded to ‘A Balkan Champion’ by Reka Kincses, in 2006. In 2007, the Award went to Petr Lom, for his documentary ‘On a Tightrope’
- Other film projects: The Foundation supported, through the RCC the London International Film Festival (March 2006). Through the Romanian Cultural Centre in London, the Foundation also supported the launch of Tony Gatlif’s film ‘Transylvania’.
- The STEPdoc Mobility Grant encourages Romanian documentary film production. First STEPdoc Grants were awarded in Autumn 2007 to film makers Adina Pintilie and Corina Radu, both of whom have already taken advantage of the grant in order to visit the UK for the benefit of their current and future projects.
Romanian Connections programme took place last November in Liverpool, under the patronage of Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008, when the ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre of Sibiu performed the “new –classic” Waiting for Godot and brand new The Ball . The Romanian Connections programme also included connected events, which gave an extra flavour of Romanian culture.
Culture Power Presentations
Culture Power’ is a programme initiated by the Ratiu Foundation, consisting of a number of seminars and constructive dialogue with an invited audience.
The Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture is an annual event which expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu, as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide, through his contributions as a campaigner for human rights and democracy, and as a politician in post-1989 Romania.
The 2008 Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center, in Washington DC, was the fourth event in a series begun at Georgetown University in 2005 and held at the Wilson Center since 2006. Past awardees include Sergio Aguayo (Mexico), Saad El-Din Ibrahim (Egypt), Anatoli Mikhailov (Belarus) and Eleonora Cercavschi (Moldova).
The purpose of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture is to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy. The lecture strives to enrich the intellectual environment in which ideas about democracy and democratic change circulate, both within and beyond Washington.