Dec 1, 2016

The founding principle of all the activities of Zdenek and Michaela Bakala is, truly, the courage, which must, according to their belief, always go hand in hand with responsibility.
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Turdor Mihai Milailescu

Turdor Mihai Milailescu

I arrived in Geneva in 2011 to pursue my Master and PhD studies at the Graduate Institute (IHEID). Throughout the last six years I’ve discovered my passion for political communication and learned to channel it into bringing a substantial academic and professional contribution. Thanks to the generous financial support of the Bakala Foundation, I can now take my journey to the next phase through a life-changing experience as a visiting scholar in the School of Media and Public Affairs, at the George Washington University.
 
On the one hand, the opportunity to be a visiting scholar at the George Washington University is the culmination of an in-depth research into political rhetoric, speechwriting and government communication patterns during my Master and PhD Studies. At the PhD level, my interests took shape in a thesis project that focuses on how the dynamics of the speechwriting process inside the White House shape the U.S. President’s public rhetoric. As a visiting fellow at GWU’s School of Media and Public Affairs, I will have the opportunity to receive feedback on my work from some of the world’s leading scholars and produce innovative research that reflects on the role of speechwriting in shaping policy-making and fostering public debate in democratic societies.
 
On the other hand, being based at GWU’s School of Media and Public Affairs will give me access to the most vibrant political communication environment in the world, complementing my previous experience working with policy-makers in Brussels, London and Geneva. My academic research into government communication patterns enabled me to realise that bridging the communication gaps between citizens and politicians in the digital age requires properly designed deliberation frameworks. That is why in 2013, I co-founded GovFaces, a digital start-up that develops community engagement platforms enabling policy-makers to engage with the public through question & answer sessions. I look forward to my year in Washington D.C. as an opportunity to broaden my vision on how I can use my knowledge and capabilities to make a positive impact by building on my current activity.
 
The rise of populism and intolerance across democratic communities reflects the failure of today’s political communication system. My dream is to do academic and professional work that channels political communication towards fostering social cohesion and empathy in our societies. I am extremely grateful to the Bakala foundation for helping me pursue that dream by supporting me financially to spend a year as a visiting scholar at the George Washington University.


© Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala