The Group for Social Dialogue

Ovidiu Caraiani, PhD lecturer, 50 years old Interview done by Vlad Manoliu

?The Group for Social Dialogue? was founded in January 1990, as a group of critical reflection, organized mainly around a strong nucleus gathering together several intellectuals from Păltiniş (and around the philosopher Constantin Noica) such as Gabriel Liiceanu, Andrei Pleşu, Andrei Cornea, Radu Bercea alongside with dissidents of the communist regime such as Gabriel Andreescu, Doinea Cornea, Radu Filipescu, Stelian Tănase, Dan Petrescu. The main aim of the group was trying to lay the foundations of a civil society in Romania, society which was quasi-inexistent till 1989, during the socialist regime. Its members were aiming at critically discussing and analysing the fundamental concepts of a democratic society: the rightful state, freedom for the press and for television, the problem of the social and national minorities. The group was thus trying to recreate an underground network of the civil society (which successfully functioned in countries such as Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic). The lack of civil society central nodes was a huge handicap. The Group for Social Dialogue considered the remedy of this handicap to be an essential, major responsibility.

Initially, the group was quite heterogeneous, intellectually speaking, having various drives. It changed on the long run. In the last years, new members joined the afore-mentioned ones. This is the case of Marius Oprea, Alexandru Lăzărescu, Alexandru Tocilescu or Andrei Oişteanu. The main form of manifestation of the group was constituted by various and n the majority of the cases quite heated debates and round tables on complex themes and I would like to randomly mention some: in 1994, G.D.S1 together with Anna Frank Foundation, organized ?It May Be Your Turn Before You Know It? or ?The Freedom of the Press and the Protection of the Private Life? or ?The Right of Possession over Land, a Fundamental Human Right?; a round table which gathered important personalities of the Romanian exile (Matei Călinescu, Virgil Nemoianu, Ion Vianu), entitled ?The Exile and the Kingdom?; an important debate on the education law and on the student manifestations. In 1995, another round table, ?The Problems of the Creation of a New Civil Society in Central European Countries? where they invited Jacek Vodz, the manager of the Political Sciences International School in Katowice.

1 G.S.D.- The Group for Social Dialogue (translator?s note)

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