Join us for a live discussion with ARCS, RUF and Alianța volunteers about the importance of giving back to our communities and developing our civic spirit for the benefit of present and future generations.

This is a great opportunity to find out about the Romanian American National Heritage Award (5th edition) that recognizes the volunteering work of the Romanian American Youth. Come hear about how this award has helped our past recipients distinguish themselves in their admission process to top colleges and institutions, such as Dartmouth College, Wesleyan Univ, Pitzer College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Whitman College, Purdue Univ, UW Honors, and many others. 

Special Guests: Otilia Baraboi, Ph.D. (ARCS Execcutive Diretor, University of Washington Affiliate Faculty); Andreea Rebăltescu ( RUF Communications Director/CEO & Founder of Cora Phenix Digital Entrepreneur & Artist); Mihai Lehene (RUF President, Founder); Boby Constin (RUF Volunteer); Andreea Haidău (RUF Volunteer). Read their bios below. 

Register HERE in advance. 

Find out more about the Romanian American National Heritage Award (5th edition) HERE.

Program co-organized by ARCS, Alianța and RUF-Romanian United Fund.  


Otilia Baraboi, Ph.D.

Before coming to Seattle in 2000 from Romania, Otilia worked as a literary journalist and published short-fiction, translations and articles. She holds university degrees in French and English literatures from Romania, Switzerland, and the US. She has a Ph.D. on the politics of translation from the University of Washington, where she taught French language and literature for 17 years, and where she is currently co-teaching a course on Romanian literature and film. In 2013, she co-founded ARCS and was President of the Board for five years before becoming ARCS’ first Executive Director. For Otilia, ARCS has been a wonderful opportunity to remain connected with the vibrant culture of her birthplace, while contributing to the artistic and cultural vitality of the Pacific Northwest. As part of her work, Otilia has been managing the Romanian Film Festival in Seattle and ARCS community-based school for Romanian heritage students, as well as more than 300 cultural and educational events over the past 9 years. Her priorities are to create sustainable, community-building programs and partnerships, as well as develop ARCS' brand identity in accordance with its mission and values. Most of all, Otilia hopes that her work will have a direct, long-lasting impact on the ways in which future generations will define, celebrate and pass on their heritage. Otilia is also the President of the Ethnic Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest and a board member of Romanian United Fund.

Andreea Rebaltescu

Andreea is the CEO & Founder of Cora Phenix Digital Entrepreneur & Artist. She graduated Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania, and studied drama at the University Babes Bolyai in the same city. She is also an entertainer and published author.

Mihai Lehene

Mihai Lehene is a Founding Member and the President of RUF. Passionate and caring, Mihai’s goal is to inspire all around him to be better and help each other, especially his fellow Romanian Americans.

Andreea Haidau

Andreea Haidau is a current high school senior from the Chicago area. She may have been born in the U.S., but that has not stopped her from forming a pretty indestructible bond with her Romanian heritage. Her upbringing and passion for the Romanian language, culture, and people (and, of course, food) has, at present, culminated into the beginnings of a new youth organization dedicated to bringing local Romanian-American kids closer together. She is very much enthused to continue enkindling relationships between Romanian people of every age, generation, and location.

Bobby Costin

Bobby Costin is currently a sophmore in the Bay Area. He was born in Romania, and lived there until he was 10 years old, after which he and his family moved to the United States. He is extremely passionate about teaching others important skills, such as programming, and is especially excited about this opportunity to teach Romanian-Americans with a similar cultural background to his. Overall, he loves his Romanian heritage and cannot wait for the chance of creating more possible future career options for individuals from his own country.