Through its ‘Hațeg Country’ International UNESCO Geopark project, the University of Bucharest has won the Sustainable Development Award for Equitability at the 2020 Sustainable Development Gala organised by the Government of Romania through its Department for Sustainable Development. The Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, Emeritus Professor Dan Grigorescu, was the initiator and co-founder of the project that underpinned the creation of the ‘Hațeg Country’ Dinosaur Geopark alongside his colleagues at the University of Bucharest, Professor Dan Manoleli and Associate Professor Alexandru Andrășanu.
“The model developed by the ‘Hațeg Country’ International UNESCO Geopark has been taken up by other regions as well, and the very promising results obtained by the two aspiring geoparks, as well as the professionalism of their organizational teams, attest to the creation of a bespoke Romanian model and school within the Geopark Programme at the University of Bucharest”, claimed Alexandru Andrășanu, Director of the ‘Hațeg Country’ International UNESCO Geopark and a member of the International UNESCO Geopark Council, referring to the aspirations of the Buzău Land and Upper Oltenia areas to official geopark status.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization takes pride in the fact that its Scientific Director, Emeritus Professor Dan Grigorescu, was the initiator and co-founder of the project that eventually led to the creation of the ‘Hațeg Country’ Dinosaur Geoparg. This innovative administrative structure which supports regional development from the ground up is underpinned by thorough scientific research carried out in the region over a period of 30 years, which saw the formation of multiple generations of specialists under Professor Grigorescu’s guidance.
At present, Professor Dan Grigorescu is conducting research into the region of Central Dobrogea together with other academics and researchers from the ‘Ovidius’ University of Constanța as part of the Institute’s project “Dobrogea – Witness to the Millennial Civilizations of the Levant”, with a view to the creation of a new UNESCO geopark in the region.
The statement published by the University of Bucharest also explains at length that the ‘Hațeg Country’ International UNESCO Geopark spans the entirety of the Hațeg Country region and is recognized as an official UNESCO Heritage Site, an integral part of its International Geoscience and Geopark Programme which brings together 161 territories from 44 countries included in UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network, vetted following a rigorous selection and validation process. The ‘Hațeg Country’ Goepark’s UNESCO Heritage status is administered by the University of Bucharest. The geopark is a territory boasting significant natural and cultural values, a programme for sustainable development that proposes a fascinating journey back in time, through the 4.6 billion year history of the Earth. At the same time, the Geopark garners significant geological, ecological, archaeological, historical and cultural interest. The dinosaur fossils discovered in Hațeg Country are unique in the world, their scientific attractiveness and importance greatly enhanced by the discovery of egg nests and baby dinosaurs, fossils of early coeval mammals, as well as giant flying reptiles (Hatzegopteryx) from the pterosaur genus.