- currently writing a book about university as a rite of passage to adulthood and the possibility of these “vehicles” to be owned and self-organized by learners themselves; As part of this effort, I am developing a pattern language for self-organized learning environments; (in progress since 2018)
- traveled around the world for two years to visit innovative universities and radical alternatives to universities; I visited more than 100 projects in 19 countries (2015 – 2017);
- co-founded Entrepreneurship Academy – a formal university focused on entrepreneurship (2014-2015);
- co-founded The Alternative University – a small (150 students) freedom-centered university in Bucharest, Romania (2008-2015) (2019 – >);
- student activist, leading a movement advocating for “student-centered” universities (2003-2008);
The Alternative University
The Alternative University is the home of my work since 2008. Its first “incarnation” was a learning environment based in Bucharest which existed for 10 years. It was described as “a university RUN by students and ex students. Where there are no qualifications. People direct their own learning. Everyone’s a student and everyone’s a teacher. A place built from the love of learning. A place exuding hope that we — the people — can take control of our destiny.” (by our friend Perry Timms – full blog post here)
We closed the first phase of the Alternative University in 2019 and we are now incubating its second incarnation. It will probably have a small rural campus and it will focus on creating open-source tools for self-organized learning environments and action-research in self-organized universities. Its wider scope will be to weave the ideas and tools of emergent, self-determined and self-organized learning with other aspects of free, fair and alive cultures (regenerative agriculture, food sovereignty zero-waste living, free and open-source software, cosmo-local production based on open design, alternative currencies, decentralized computing and energy production) in order to accelerate the learning and unlearning needed for the transition to such regenerative human cultures.
The Alternative University is part of the Ecoversities Alliance, that I consider the international home for my work.
Let’s work together
I sometimes work with other organizations (both businesses and not-for-profits) as a speaker/trainer/facilitator or consultant/designer. The topics I most often speak and consult on are: transforming education, self-directed learning (I call this “Art of Learning”), self-organized learning / learning organizations / nurturing cultures of learning (I call this “Art of Tribes”), emergent learning, learning journeys, unlearning, alternative higher education, etc. I can present in Romanian, English or Spanish; (coming soon: Russian and Portuguese) .
- Invited as a speaker by organizations such as: TEDx Bucharest, YPO (Romania), Romanian Business Leaders, UiPath (Global), The Weaving Lab (Global); The Alliance for Self-Directed Education (US); L&D Shakers (Global), Offbeat – L&D Community, Universidad del Medio Ambiente (Mexico), Groupo Bridge (Brazil)
- Invited as a speaker (in person) to various places around the world like: London – UK, São Paulo – Brazil, Valle de Bravo & Mexico City – Mexico, St. Gallen – Switzerland, Lisbon – Portugal;
- “Best Education & Research Project” @ Civil Society Gala for the project “Bologna Week in Universities”
- Special Award for contributing to education in Romania @ Education Awards Gala for the work with The Alternative University
- Forbes – special award for contributing to education in Romania at Forbes 30 under 30 Gala (I am part of the first generation of Forbes 30 under 30 in Romania);
- Selected by U.S. Department of State for International Visitor Leadership Program (the U.S. Department of State’s “premier professional exchange program” for “current and emerging foreign leaders”); I was also selected and offered scholarships by: Aspen Institute – Young Leaders Program, Impact Hub Vienna – Investment Ready Program, Maastricht School of Management – Executive MBA Program;