Case Study - Romania

Character Education

Following World War II, the Soviet occupation of Romania led in 1947 to the formation of a Communist regime that dominated the people for almost half a century. Nicolae Ceausescu achieved infamy with his draconian rule until his overthrow in 1989. His legacy includes a host of neglected and emotionally abused children who never experienced normal parental love and care.

Romania joined the European Union on 01 January 2007. A new generation of leaders in Romania is moving the country forward in economic and democratic reforms. They are working diligently to address widespread poverty. Their receptiveness to change includes recognizing the importance of character in a responsible society.

At the invitation of top school administrators and the mayor of Arad in August 2003, CSI was invited to participate in this renewal in cooperation with Pointman Leadership Institute (PLI), whose founder and president is Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (ret.) Bob Vernon. In September, Chief Vernon, Dr. Bob Phillips and Dr. Garmo presented a seminar on character-based leadership and education, to 100 school headmasters from the county of Arad. Reaction was enthusiastic. In October, Dr. and Mrs. Garmo led a team that trained 27 select teachers to integrate a character building curriculum into their classroom lesson plans. On the final day of that seminar they wrote on a card: "We thank you for the rainbow that you brought in our hearts."

Since then, a CSI affiliate—Character Solutions Romania (CSR)—has been formed to develop this training countrywide. Dr. Garmo and PLI’s Chief Vernon and Dr. Phillips, along with Romanian members of the CSR Board of Directors, presented a seminar in character-based leadership and education to 35 of 40 Directors of Continuing Education from across the country. Working together with CSR colleagues, Dr. & Mrs. Garmo have returned to Romania many times to meet with the original teachers and train many more educators, including Hungarian teachers from the Transylvanian region surrounding Miercurea-Ciuc.

The program is only beginning; yet, early reports from teachers are highly positive. One mother asked a teacher, "What are you doing in school with my son?" After explaining the pilot program to her, the mother replied that her son has completely stopped using foul language. This child had spent three years in 1st grade and one night at the police station because of his violent behavior.