EdgeHillUniversityAn Eastern European academic at Edge Hill University has picked up the Romanian Ambassador’s award for her inspiring work on Romanians living abroad.

Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication, was presented with her accolade during the 6th edition of the Conference of Romanian Students, Professors and Researchers in London.

At the event, the Ambassador chose to award top Romanians in the UK this year for various community-related work and Dr Trandafoiu was recognised for her ‘outstanding intellectual contribution regarding the Romanian community in the UK’.

“I am delighted with the award that I received from HE Ambassador Ion Jinga,” said Dr Trandafoiu. “I consider nevertheless that this award is not a reflection of my work to represent the community; it belongs instead to all those hard working Romanians who are contributing to both their homeland and their adoptive countries in a multitude of ways. Their stories are my story, this award is theirs.”

An Eastern European herself, she is author of a new book, DIASPORA ONLINE: Identity Politics and Romanian Migrants, which looks at the way in which the Romanian communities in Western Europe and North America construct an online presence, negotiate migrant identities and use online social networks to initiate political action.

“The book that I published earlier this year gave voice to a little studied community. The stories I collected spoke of new transnational experiences, which bring a new awareness about what it means to be a Romanian and a migrant in Europe today, as well as mature political reflections on migration rights and collective identities.

“I had been an international student in Hungary, Italy, Scotland and England and had researched and taught for more than ten years in UK universities, but I had never regarded myself as a migrant,” she said. “Instead, I had defined myself as a European intellectual, a professional who could do her work from any location in the world. Writing the book, however, made me aware of my own identity dilemmas and my own sense of Romanian-ness and I now choose to adopt the migrant label. At a time when the Romanian community is facing a lot of negativity in the British press, I am also proud to call myself a Romanian.”

She added: “There are various recommendations in the book for policy-makers and Romanians to listen to but ultimately I’m trying to change the misconceptions that exist and provide more information about this relatively unknown community.”