Viorel Ursu

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Viorel Ursu
Regional Manager, Eurasia Program

Photo credit:
Trevor Ray Hart for the Open Society Foundations
Viorel Ursu

What do you do at the Open Society Foundations?

I’ve been part of the Open Society network for 15 years. I started as an advisor to the director and the board of the Soros Foundation–Moldova, and later assumed the duties of a program manager. After a few years I applied for a position at the Open Society office in Brussels, where I moved as a policy fellow. A few years later I was promoted to senior policy analyst for Eastern Europe. In 2014, I joined the Eurasia Program as director for advocacy and grant making based at the Open Society Foundation–London. 

Why did you want to work at the Open Society Foundations?

At the time of applying, I had job offers from a private company and a public office. Working for a philanthropic organization was the most appealing and rewarding. The Soros Foundation was the largest charity organization in my country, which made a tremendous contribution in reforming its education system, caring for vulnerable people, and defending victims of injustices. It felt right to be part of that effort.

What’s the best thing about working at Open Society?

The satisfaction that comes from providing means and tools to people with great ideas for advancing justice. The job allows me to meet and help people that are making changes in their societies. It’s the feeling of being part of a struggle, a struggle for a more just and inclusive society.

How does your job challenge you?

It’s a constant learning experience. Probably the greatest challenge is processing massive flows of information and making the best judgment. Learning allows me to grow—that’s my greatest motivation in this job. 

How do you get to work?

I walk—fast. An hour every day. Across the bridge, following the flows of the Thames River.

What’s the best spot near your office to get dinner or drinks?

Across the river, at the St. George Wharf terraces. Enjoy cocktails at sunset above the Battersea power station, then order Moroccan tagine at the Souk restaurant.