Romanians of DC recently organized a thought-provoking debate titled “Romania – U. S. Strategic Partnership: Perspectives, Ambitions, Horizon 2030” which featured esteemed guest speaker Mircea Geoană, Deputy Secretary General of NATO. The event, conducted in a hybrid format and organized in partnership with the Romania 2030 Project, the New Economy Trust and FORA – Federation of Romanian-American Organizations, took place on Thursday, May 11, at the conference room located at 101 Constitution Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.
We were honored to have Mr. Geoană, a prominent international personality with a successful political and diplomatic career, as our distinguished guest for this engaging discussion. He has made significant contributions to international relations and has played a vital role in Romania’s foreign affairs. At just 37 years old, he became the youngest ambassador in the Romanian diplomatic corps when appointed as the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Romania to the USA in February 1996. He also served as Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2004 and acted as the president of the OSCE in 2001.
Mr. Geoană engaged in a lively and long discussion about the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States of America. During his tenure as Ambassador of Romania to the United States, Mr. Geoană played a pivotal role in establishing the Strategic Partnership and worked hard to ensure that it would foster close ties between the two nations, laying the foundation for a strong and enduring partnership. Now at its 25th anniversary, the partnership has significantly contributed to Romania’s democratic evolution and the consolidation of its profile in various domains, including security and defense, trade and investments, education and culture, and the fight against corruption.
During the event, moderated by Romanians of DC President, Mr. Bogdan Banu, Mr. Geoană shared valuable insights into the current state of the Romania-US partnership and its future prospects. The discussion covered topics such as deepening cooperation in established fields and exploring new dimensions of collaboration, such as the economy, research, innovation, digitization, and technology.
One of the focal points of the debate was the regional security context, particularly in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Mr. Geoană emphasized the crucial role of Romania and its strategic position, which has historically played a significant part in global geopolitics. He highlighted the importance of supporting the Republic of Moldova and the administration led by Maia Sandu as they seek to join the European Union stating that Russia is trying to stop this process through a hybrid war it is waging against the pro-European orientation of the country. He mentioned that there is a now a unique chance and opportunity for the Republic of Moldova to change its destiny and join Europe, and the European Union invited it to become a member.
Mr. Geoană also emphasized the significance of diaspora in enhancing Romania’s role and promoting its history, values, and culture worldwide. He expressed optimism about the potential for Romania to play a key role in Europe, particularly if countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and the Western Balkans join forces with the continent’s democratic West. He noted that such a development would ensure that Romania will no longer be on the periphery of Europe, but will be in its center, and he mentioned that the center of gravity of Europe is moving to the east, because Russia has disconnected itself from civilized Europe.
Sintia Radu, Strategic Communications Officer for World Bank’s Vice President of Human Development and one of the participants at this event, noted that she was “stoked to have met the NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană. Loved how connected he is with the young generation and how broad his version of security is. Yes, NATO is highly important for my home country, now a NATO border at war, and has been the catalyst for more international good that came right after, namely joining the European block. But NATO, as Geoană says, has been a tester of high tech and innovation. So if you want to look at how the ChatGPTs of the world will be used and regulated, you might need look no further than NATO. Security is not just military.”
The debate attracted members of the Romanian-American community, including those residing in Washington, DC, and across the United States. It provided a platform for engaging conversations and the opportunity to pose questions to Mircea Geoană. The event was broadcast live via Zoom, ensuring broader access for virtual participants.
The event received significant media coverage, with notable outlets such as Radio Romania Actualități, Deschide Newspaper in Moldova, Adevărul in Romania, and The Epoch Time in Washington highlighting the significance of the debate. The media coverage showcased the engaging discussions and insights shared by Mr. Geoană on the strategic partnership, regional security challenges, and the role of Romania in global geopolitics. The articles and podcast provided an in-depth analysis of the event, its impact, and the importance of fostering strong partnerships between Romania and the United States.
In the end this turned out to be a much longer event than anticipated, Mr. Geoană answering questions from both the audience and those who watched the event in virtual format for more than an hour and a half. Following the conclusion of the debate, participants were invited to a reception which allowed for additional engagements and networking in a relaxed atmosphere.