PARLIAMENT OF ROMANIA
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
COMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION,
SCIENCE, YOUTH AND SPORTS
Bucharest, December 12th 2018
Tuesday, December 11th, the Committee for Education, Science, Youth and Sports organized a debate with the theme of “Significant activities and initiatives of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization in the field of education, research and culture” which was attended by His Excellency, Professor Emil Constantinescu, President of the Institute’s Scientific Council, by Ms. Andreea Grecu Ciupală, General Director and by Mr. Dan Grigorescu, Scientific Director.
The meeting and associated debates, the exchange of opinions and information, the dense dialogue, were aimed at the research projects of the Institute, its partnerships and international relations, avenues to outline the recognition, appreciation and visibility of Romanian research.
During his intervention, Professor Emil Constantinescu highlighted the fact that the idea of establishing this Institute stemmed from his attendance of numerous international events that had the common theme of a culture of peace and cultural diplomacy.
“On the occasion of the “Levant, cradle of cultural diplomacy. Rediscovering the Mediterranean” – the largest interfaith and inter-academic International Conference held in Bucharest in May of 2013, attended by numerous heads of state, members of parliaments, distinguished churchly representatives, the “Levant Initiative for Global Peace” was signed, a declaration of the culture of peace through cultural diplomacy. The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics (IPCGE), well-known for its initiatives promoting the culture of peace over the past ten years, requested that this Initiative be presented at the United Nations headquarters in New York, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and in Geneva, before the United States Congress, the Israeli Knesset and the Parliaments of a number of countries. Later on, the initiative was adopted by 35 Members of the European Parliament. In September of 2013, the idea of creating a Centre of Excellence of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) in Bucharest was put forward, taking into consideration the prestige and scientific amplitude of Romanian higher education and the Romanian research environment. In October of 2013, the participants to the World University Consortium (WUC) expressed their support for this decision, appreciating that this Centre could well bring an important contribution to elaborating a new paradigm for the global society of the 21st century and the project of a World University, initiated 60 years ago by the founders of the WAAS”, outlined Professor Emil Constantinescu.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization was created as a Centre of Excellence on the model of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, being established by the Romanian Parliament through Law no. 117/2017. The Institute aims to become one of the leading global fora of excellence that determine the scientific direction and priorities in a number of fields of study and research, and one that can establish a network of contacts and collaborations between Romanian researchers and those in other Institutes for Advanced Study in the world, thus contributing to an ever greater visibility of Romanian scientific research worldwide. Conceived as a pluriform dialogue between historical research and the present, as a multilateral form of cultural diplomacy, the activity of the Institute can develop in conjunction with leading academic fora – the World Academy of Art and Science, the Romanian Academy and specialist research institutes, with the great universities from across the region of the Levant – but also with specialist think-tanks, reflection centres, diplomats and collaborators from different countries in the region, with UNESCO and the World Monument Fund, promoting cultural and interfaith dialogue, reunions on themes of regional interest, and measures for protecting the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Levant.
Scientific Director Dan Grigorescu highlighted that “in this year, on the anniversary of 140 years from the unification of Dobrogea and Romania, the Institute is undertaking its flagship project, Dobrogea – Witness to the Millennial Civilizations of the Levant, a project featuring an innovative concept with an inter-disciplinary approach, involving both professors and students from the University of Constanța, aiming to study the natural and cultural heritage of the region in a holistic approach, which will allow it to become known and capitalized upon, alongside furthering knowledge of the history and culture of its resident ethnicities”.
The discussions also tackled controversial problems, formulating specifications related to the reasoning behind the Institute’s creation, its financing model and the clearing of its budgetary expenses, its institutional organization, payment for work-related travel, and its collaborations with specialty NGOs.
In the context of the debates and the questions posed to the Institute’s representatives, Professor Emil Constantinescu also mentioned the organizational problems that the Institute faced over the past year, keeping in mind that Romanian legislation did not initially provide for the employment of researchers by such an institution, alongside issues of not being able to acquire movable and immovable assets, necessary for the proper functioning of the Institute.
Professor Carmen Gavrilă, member of the Chamber of Deputies, underlined “the necessity of creating the mechanisms and international contexts in order to promote Romanian research projects at a European and global level. Romanian research, our cultural values and traditions, our cultural heritage are business cards that recommend us in our interaction with other institutes, academies, universities and other prestigious fora. We appreciate the Institute’s activity and we anticipate it playing a major role in promoting Romanian culture and Romanian identity, scientific research, its university and academic environment, at the highest level of representation.”
Over the course of the meeting, several representatives took the floor, such as Deputy Robert Nicolae Turcescu, Secretary of the Committee, Vice-President Theodora Șotcan, and Deputy Viorel Stan, Secretary of the Commission. The debates also saw brief interventions from Deputies Nicolae Georgescu, Lavinia Corina Cosma, Crestinel Romanescu, Alexandru Rădulescu, Vasile Cîtea, Rodica Boboc and Dan Răzvan Rădulescu.
The Committee for Education, Science, Youth and Sports aims to address the multiple challenges that education and academic research are faced with in the 21st century, the opportunity of emerging technologies, the promotion of scientific excellence and continued achievements of the Romanian higher education system through tackling social evolution and development of society, science and culture, given that research and innovation must stimulate economic growth and creativity and provide welfare and new employment opportunities.
PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION, SCIENCE, YOUTH AND SPORTS
Professor Camelia GAVRILĂ