The Rațiu Democracy Centre (Centrul Rațiu pentru Democrație - CRD) was established in 2004 in Turda, Romania, with the support of the Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, to maintain, analyse and explore our commitment to democratic values and to honour the significant legacy of Ion Rațiu (1917-2000), today a still widely respected politician who returned to Romania in 1990 after 50 years in exile to support the restoration of a free parliamentary democracy after 47 years of communism.

In the last 17 years, CRD has developed projects with a local, regional and international impact in fields like active citizenship, education, and human rights protection. Since 2019 it also supports The Rațiu Forum, a joined initiative between the London based Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation (RFCF) and the London School of Economics LSE IDEAS think tank. CRD is also a partner of the annual awards granted by RFCF – the Ion Rațiu Democracy Award, in partnership with Wilson Center, the Ion Rațiu Journalism Award and the Elisabeth Pilkington Rațiu Mental Health Award. 


The Rațiu Forum is a joint initiative of the Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, Rațiu Democracy Centre and LSE IDEAS. It is included in the Central and South-East Europe Programme of LSE IDEAS and it focuses on strengthening cooperation in the Balkan region, through events and collaborations, publications and projects that aim to generate a richer understanding of the region’s history, geopolitics and current affairs. Together with LSE IDEAS, the Rațiu Forum organises workshops – in-person and online – targeting history teachers and university students, journalism webinars and workshops for media professionals, as well as the Rațiu Dialogues on Democracy lecture series. In addition, in 2020 and 2021 it has co-hosted the 2020:Visions online discussions on current challenges to democracy faced by Central and Eastern Europe.

The Rațiu Democracy Centre has currently in focus programmes that cover the areas of legal education and youth participation.



The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, the Rațiu Democracy Centre and the Rațiu Forum are pleased to announce the 2022 Recipient of the Ion Rațiu Journalism Award: journalist Cristian Andrei, Senior Editor at Europa Liberă.


In 2019 he started a series of investigative articles regarding the funding mechanisms of Romanian media outlets, fuelled by the budget of the largest parties in Romania.

The series continued in 2020-2022 and it includes – among others – the following investigative articles

Bani de la partid pentru televiziuni și presă. PSD a cheltuit în șase luni de 33 de ori mai mult decât USR PLUS (Money from the party for TV stations and media: PSD spent in six months 33 times more than USR PLUS); 

Cadoul de 90 de milioane de lei făcut de Cîțu partidelor. Modelul german de finanțare și modelul PNL – PSD (The 90 million Lei gift from Cîțu to the parties. The German funding model and the PNL-PSD one); 

Investitorii ascunși din presă. PSD ține informațiile la secret, deși plătește milioane pe lună (The hidden media investors. PSD withholds information, despite paying millions every month).

Photo credit: Mathias P.R. Reding,

Support Ukrainian Refugees in Romania

The Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation has been supporting and helping coordinate the campaign initiated by a team of volunteers – Kateryna, Petru, Adam and Lesia – normally based in London, UK and currently located in Romania, Suceava.

“Our mission here in north Romania is two-fold. We are providing support to Ukrainian women, children and vulnerable people who have escaped across the border to the town of Suceava. We are also sending vital resources to hospitals in urgent need inside Ukraine. We are delivering batches of specific supplies required by medics to help save lives in some of the worse affected areas. While Ukrainian fighters are heroically holding Russian forces back, we are working hard alongside other volunteers to ensure Ukrainian hospitals are able to continue to operate on wounded soldiers and civilians. Our supply network is formed of trusted charities and volunteers both in Romania and Ukraine. Through their voluntary efforts, we are distributing medicines both to main hospitals and first-aiders on front lines. We appreciate that many people support large international charities that are actively fundraising in response to the shocking news coming out of Ukraine. Unfortunately, many such efforts are not yet effective inside Ukraine, with the exception of the Red Cross. Currently, more streamlined volunteers like ourselves are able to deliver supplies within days. The speed of our response is critical as the fighting continues and Ukrainian medical resources become depleted.”

Please join our efforts! More details are available here.

"Their battle is also our battle"

Nicolae Ratiu, Chairman of the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation

These last days of invasion and death grip our hearts and minds with horror and sadness. The heroic resistance of our Ukrainian neighbours who fight to preserve their freedom and right to pursue their independent and democratic lives, fill us with admiration. Their battle is also our battle. Putin wants democracy destroyed, not just in Ukraine but in all former communist bloc countries. The Ratiu family and our foundations have fought against dictatorship and autocracy for generations in the support of democracy as the most powerful and just alternative to such systems. That battle here at home is now even more critical. Whether Putin succeeds or not in Ukraine, our societies will now be under even greater threat from those who are seduced into working with him – a man who promotes an evil, unprincipled gangster society. We do not want such a society in România. Our founder and inspiration Ion Ratiu, in his role as Romania’s representative at the North Atlantic Council, with all his possible persuasive powers argued and lobbied for Romania’s membership of NATO, to protect our nation against just such a future danger, believing that Russian hegemony and expansionism was inevitable. As members Romania and our neighbouring NATO partners are today protected by the strongest defensive alliance in world. But, regardless of the outcome in Ukraine we all remain under threat and must continue the work of strengthening our democracies in all the areas where we still fall short – continuing corruption, inadequate rule of law, threats to independent journalism, insufficient health care and poverty. Putin exploits these weaknesses wherever he identifies them. We as a nation cannot allow that to happen or we could face a similar fate to Ukraine. We meantime hope and pray for the Ukrainian nation and encourage all to show generosity to their refugees.


The Rațiu Democracy Centre and the Rațiu Family Charitable announce the 2021 Recipient of the Elisabeth Pilkington Rațiu Mental Health Award: Mrs Lidia Stoica, president and founding member of the Association of Patients with Chronic Diseases “Restart to Life”. The Awardee established in 2017 the first continuous professional training programme in Romania for an overspecialization in the field of psycho-oncology. She also launched a free Psychological Support Group project for oncological patients in Romania.

The 2021 Ion Rațiu Democracy Award and Fellowship:
Roman Protasevich, Belarus

The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars announce that Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich will receive the 2021 Ion Rațiu Democracy Award and Fellowship. Roman Dmitriyevich Protasevich (26 years) is the former editor-in-chief of the Nexta Live channel, which is based on the Telegram messenger app and has over 1 million subscribers, being the primary source of news that covered the 2020-2021 Belarus rallies. On 23 May 2021, Protasevich was detained by Belarusian authorities after the international passenger flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted in Belarusian airspace by a Belarusian fighter jet and directed to land in Minsk.

The 2021 Ion Rațiu Journalism Award:
Victor Ilie, Recorder

The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, the Rațiu Democracy Centre and the Rațiu Forum are pleased to announce the 2021 Recipient of the Ion Rațiu Journalism Award: journalist Victor Ilie, who currently reports for Recorder.

In November 2020 Victor Ilie published the investigation that discovered and brought to the public’s attention the “King of the pandemic”, the main person responsible for purchasing vital medical equipment for the Romanian state and its citizens, a master of a “kingdom” dominated by corruption, defiance and incompetence. According to the members of the Jury Committee that evaluated this year’s proposals, the article written by Victor Ilie is an example of quality journalism produced by an independent press project, an investigation carried out at a time when the access to information was often limited for journalists.