The millions of Romanians living outside the country’s borders need to know Romania has not forgotten about them. We need to find ways to keep these people connected to our present-day reality and involved in the development of Romanian society, Minister for Romanians Worldwide Natalia Intotero has said. The Romanian minister says the programmes carried out by her ministry need to be tailored to the needs of each community. The Romanian official believes keeping and asserting the Romanian identity through language, culture and traditions are top priorities for her ministry. Natalia Intotero:
“We need to persuade 10 million Romanians living abroad that Romania has not forgotten them and thus they should not forget Romania either. We need to offer them the opportunity to understand and foster the elements underlying our cultural and spiritual identity and to observe Romanian traditions, so as to become genuine ambassadors of the Romanian people in the countries they live in. Supporting and promoting Romanians worldwide requires the solidarity of all Romanians here, at home. Each of us has a role to play”.
Minister Intotero went on to say Romania has been bleeding highly qualified professionals for years, also referring to the decisions taken at the level of ministries and the projects aimed at helping Romanians. One such measure is the salary increase for people working in the healthcare and education systems, which took effect on March 1. The measure is aimed at stopping the exodus of Romanian medical staff towards the West and encourages highly skilled teachers to remain in the Romanian education system.
Another project carried out under the Diaspora Start-up funding programme allows Romanians living abroad who want to return home to apply for up to €38,000 worth of funding, by enrolling in a business contest scheduled for later this year. In a press conference focusing on the needs of the Diaspora, Minister Natalia Intotero outlined projects addressing Romanians outside Romania’s borders in 2018, when Romania celebrates 100 years since the Great Union of its historical provinces. The Minister for Romanians Worldwide also spoke of publishing an Encyclopedia of Romanians around the world, setting up a House of Romanians Worldwide in Bucharest, with a view to identifying, preserving and examining the miscellaneous documents and materials coming from areas outside the country’s borders inhabited by Romanians. Minister Intotero also wants to promote Romanian literature in 100 libraries in the Diaspora and to continue the town twinning program with the Republic of Moldova.
At the conference “Romanians Abroad, Realties and Aspirations”, academician Eugen Simion said that the union of Romanians from all over the world could also be achieved through culture:
“The Diaspora is a very important element. And I wouldn’t like it to be just an element of political manipulation. The Diaspora is a cultural factor, its culture should be assumed and judged with objectivity. We have achieved the union through culture. Writer Eugene Ionescu was right when saying that people are separated by many things but there is one thing that unites them, namely culture. Therefore we should pay the due attention to Romanian culture.”
The Minister for Romanians Worldwide said that, starting this year, courses would be held at the Bucharest University for the Romanians in the Diaspora, more precisely MA studies, and worthy students and researchers would be granted “Nicolae Iorga” scholarships. There are 15 such scholarships waiting to be granted. A contest of essay writing in the Romanian language will be organized for the Romanian children and teenagers abroad. It is entitled “100 essays for 100 years” and the winners will receive their prizes on August 31, 2018, when we mark the Romanian Language Day. The traditional costume day will be celebrated on May 16, on which occasion folk costumes will be distributed to the Romanian communities in the Diaspora where Romanian traditional ensembles are active and acknowledged.
Also there is a project under which almost 3 thousand Romanian pupils and students in the Diaspora will be able to go on the “ArcCentenar” holiday camps. Another project to be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports is called “Champions of Romanian sports” and it addresses Romanians in the Diaspora and the Romanian historical communities. The project involves the participation of famous Romanian champions. Another project, “100 for the Centenary”, focuses on the selection of 10 personalities from 10 Romanian communities in the Diaspora who should receive awards and be promoted in a calendar of personalities. In order to increase the visibility of awareness-raising campaigns, a brochure was drafted, in both hardcopy and digital formats, including useful information from all institutions with competences in communication with the Romanians abroad. The brochure addresses Romanian citizens who want to go abroad, those who are already abroad as well as those who want to return to Romania. It presents the opportunities, reinsertion and professional reintegration programs provided by the Romanian Government.
(Translated by V. Palcu & L. Simion)