Ovidiu Badina, founder and first president of RC34, died on April 26, 1999. With his death, youth studies lost a distinguished scholar, and many members of the Research Committee 34 lost a personal friend. Badina, one of the leading figures in Romanian sociology, was born in Breaza-Buzau in 1932 and had a typical academic career in the Soviet Block states. He studied first in his home country, and then at the Lomonosov University in Moscow. He became a ‘scientific worker’ in the Institute of Philosophy at the Romanian Academy of Sciences in 1963 and later a university lecturer. What was special about Badina was that he had an exceptional organisational talent, which he put to very good use in establishing and developing several creditable institutions both in Romania and abroad. He was the initiator, founder and leader of the Youth Studies and Research Centre in Bucharest, Romania, from 1968 till 1974, of the ISA’s committee ‘Sociology of Youth’ from 1975 till 1986 and, more recently, from 1991 till 1993, of the National Sociological Institute in Moldova.

The collapse of the totalitarian system in the region widened the opportunities for doing social research in various organisational forms and Badina made good use of them by creating the Dimitrie Gusti Foundation in Bucharest in 1990, the Public Opinion Research Service in Bucharest in 1991 and the Opinion and Market Research Service in Chisinau in 1993. With his erudition, industriousness and sense of humour, he managed to overcome the restrictions and sometimes the direct blows imposed by the political authorities both before and after the start of the transformation in 1989.

Ovidiu Badina was not only a man of excellent organisational skills. He was a good pedagogue in a sense of this word that is often forgotten today. He highly valued the talents of his young colleagues, he truly loved and supported them. His benevolent attitude encouraged a whole generation of Romanian youth sociologists: Petre Datculescu, Catalin Mamali, Doina Borojina, Viorica Tigel… We can only envy his ability to discover the resourceful people and work with them whether they were beginners or established scholars such as Fred Mahler. Ovidiu Badina developed the good traditions of Romanian sociology and did a lot to make known the heritage of Dimitrie Gusti. He based his research mostly on quantitative data in an attempt to overpower the ideological repression of the system under which he had to work. His critical stance toward totalitarianism in all its forms often brought him trouble, including the ban to travel abroad and participate in international exchange.

However, he could rely on the support of his colleagues at home and abroad and it is in this period that the care of RC34 for its members was demonstrated effectively. When Badina could not publish his major book ‘Youth in the Contemporary World’ in Romania, this ‘youth bible’, as it was known among the East European youth sociologists, came out in Bulgaria with the personal engagement of Petar-Emil Mitev, the then RC34 president. The political repression within Chausescu’s Romania did not destroy the institutional creations of Ovidiu Badina, nor did it limit his wide views about youth as a world problem. If we have to name only two spheres of Badina’s heritage which RC34 cherishes at present, in my view, they will be the following: 1. An approach to youth problems as set within the global context of the epoch, based on the recognition of the interplay of local, regional, and global processes in the formation of every young generation. 2. An effort to develop youth studies as an interdisciplinary field, to ensure the cooperation between pedagogy, psychology, law, sociology and other social sciences, as well as between research, policy and practice.

Siyka Kovatcheva
December 1999