Access to information and/or the right to information is one of my most salient passions in relation to the larger concept of good governance. I started working, reading, learning, training and advocating on this topic more than 10 years ago, and I’m still lovin’ it 🙂 So much that I’m no longer sure what’s the difference between duty and passion, when it comes to #ati or #rti in my life… And, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Right to Know Day, on September 28, I volunteered some of my time to participate in OSJI’s European consultation on the draft global principles regarding national security and the right to information, that took place in Copenhagen, by way of cooperation with the Faculty of Law, CECS and CAST.
University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law; source: personal archive
I won’t bother you with technical details, what we discussed, what we ate and drank, or what kind of people participated—I just feel the need to share some of my feelings. I was happy to contribute on the substance of the global principles, to be able and bring a valuable contribution to the conversation, to feel that my opinions were appreciated. From this perspective, combined with my dilemma over duty vs. passion, I’m still not sure to what extent my contribution was the result of my being an expert or an activist on access to information?!? But I’m just telling you it felt so good!
I also felt good when a member of the UK House of Lords commended me on my command of English 🙂 Let me tell you, priceless, indeed! I can remember mumbling some English songs as early as kindergarten, I am aware of the first lessons in English from Angelica Tudorii, my 3rd grade tutor in Braşov, I don’t forget the “free language” classes with Ms Iliescu in highschool, or the American volunteer from Virginia, that pushed us into conversation at UPB… But I learned my English listening over and over to Depeche Mode (play, stop, rewind on my cassette player), at a time when lyrics were not available on the web.*
Alas, I also had a moment of combined sadness and anger, in relation to a former colleague who keeps a 7-8 year old grudge. I think it’s plausible that 2 individuals may keep a conflict alive for a lifetime, but I also think that doing something like that is insane. I believe it’s utterly impolite of a person to not acknowledge my greeting, in spite of whatever s/he thinks of me! [I also believe it’s inappropriate to show up for the concluding session of any conference without a thoroughly prepared speech 🙁 ] And I believe it’s demeaning for that person to project their frustrations on anybody—least on someone (like me) undeserving such an “honor”…
So, thank you, Copenhagen! I had a wonderful time, I learned new things, I felt so very much alive, high and low! And I’m taking all of these feelings with me, back home to Bucharest… And I’m preparing for Friday’s #10RTKD celebration, with a little (but very serious!) online project that you’ll find soon at nuvasuparati.info 😉 Crowdsourcing, brother! 😉 Actually, I challenged all participants at the conference to think of at least one principle of the 50+ we discussed, and turn it into a request for information they could file with their respective governments, and ask for the data in open format 🙂 I can’t wait for the results!!!
participants in the European consultation, Copenhagen; source: the organizers at OSJI