On Monday, the Romanian Cultural Institute received the leaders of the Romanian historical communities in the neighbouring countries.
According to statistics, some three million Romanian nationals live abroad. Most of them live in Western countries such as Italy and Spain and even the USA and Canada. They have left Romania in the last 20 years when, after the fall of the communist dictatorship, this country has opened its borders, which were closed until then, and they have been allowed access to the Western labour market.
Unlike Italians or Irish people, Romanians do not have a historical tradition of emigration and their diaspora, a recent one actually, has been closely linked to the motherland, where they have relatives, friends and properties. However, there are also millennium-old Romanian historical communities in the neighbouring countries. It is for them that the Romanian Cultural Institute on Monday evening organized the Excellence Awards Gala.
On that occasion, outstanding intellectuals, artists and young journalists actively fostering Romanian values in the Republic of Moldova with a predominantly Romanian-speaking population and Ukraine – Romanian territories annexed in the wake of an ultimatum in 1940 – as well as Romanians in Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania and Macedonia were awarded prizes.
A lot of participants in the Gala called on the Romanian authorities to support their communities confronted with a tough denationalization process. The Macedo-Romanians, speaking a dialect of the Romanian language, form the remotest of all communities represented at the Gala.
Ilia Gjoka, a representative of the Macedo-Romanians from Albania reiterated the importance of the support they get from Bucharest: “Actually, I perceive the message which this prize gets across as one of continued support from our motherland and I thank you for it once again.”
The leaders of the Romanian communities in neighbouring Serbia and Bulgaria, including hundreds of thousands of people, denounced again the danger posed by assimilation, in the absence of tuition and religious services in Romanian. 40 years ago, villages were 100% Romanian, said Victor Nisu, the oldest representative of a cultural association from Bulgaria, who deplored the shortage of schools.
Father Boian Alexandrovici, a consistent activist for the preservation of the Romanians’ cultural, linguistic and religious identity in the Timoc Valley, Eastern Serbia, said the Romanian community there was not recognized as an ethnic minority: “We do whatever we can and you, our brethren from Romania, from the motherland, must support us because unless we’re supported at these last moments of assimilation, we’ll lose our identity.”
In his message to the participants in the Gala, the president of the Romanian Cultural Institute, Radu Boroianu calls them “more than a group of people, more than a distinct community.” You are, he said, a part of Romania, a part of the Romanian people.