Recognizing Excellence: Ambassador Andrei Muraru Receives the 2023 Romanians of DC Community Award

The Romanians of DC is proud to announce that the 2023 Romanians of Washington, DC Community Award was presented earlier this week, at the most recent edition of the Romanian Social, to His Excellency Ambassador Andrei Muraru. As noted on the diploma, Ambassador Muraru was recognized “for spearheading a series of unprecedented events commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Romania – U.S. Strategic Partnership, for his active community engagement, and for bringing the Romanian Weekend at The Wharf in the Nation’s Capital.” His outstanding leadership and remarkable contributions have not only elevated the profile of Romania in the United States but have also left an indelible mark on the Romanian community in the U.S. and also on the greater Washington, DC area.

Ambassador Andrei Muraru receiving the 2023 Romanians of DC Community Award from Bogdan Banu, the President of the organization, during a special edition of the Romanian Social.

Celebrating Ambassador Andrei Muraru’s Accomplishments: A Trailblazer in Diplomacy and Community Engagement

In the realm of diplomacy, Ambassador Muraru has played a pivotal role in orchestrating visits for an unprecedented number of Romanian officials, cultivating essential political engagements with their American counterparts. His methodical planning and execution have resulted in well-structured visits, contributing to clear agendas and fostering meaningful discussions. Notably, he has championed efforts to include Romania in the Visa Waiver Program, a significant milestone anticipated to take effect on January 1, 2025.

Much of Ambassador Muraru’s diplomatic efforts, alongside his colleagues at the Romanian Embassy, were concentrated over the past two years on commemorating the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership. These efforts culminated in July, when the embassy orchestrated a series of special events to mark the exact date of the Strategic Partnership’s signing on July 11. These events included an evening celebrating American personalities who initiated and supported the Strategic Partnership throughout its history; an evening dedicated to the pillars of the Partnership, covering economic, business, technology, and innovation; and an event in the U.S. Congress to celebrate the Strategic Partnership as an anchor of stability and prosperity in the Black Sea region. It’s noteworthy that, in addition to the funding allocated by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nearly half a million dollars in private sponsorships were secured specifically for these commemorative events.

Ambassador Andrei Muraru addressing those present at the Romanian Social after receiving the Community Award.

It’s also important to highlight some significant “firsts” that occurred specifically in 2023, such as the inaugural celebration of Mărțișor in the U.S. Congress and the first-ever event dedicated to both the Flag Day of Romania and the Flag Day of the United States. Additionally, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Commission for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania (The Wiesel Commission) was also one of the more noteworthy events taking place.

In an extraordinary demonstration of community engagement, Ambassador Muraru launched in 2021 his signature “50 States One Community” Tour. Through this program, the Ambassador set a goal to visit as many Romanian communities in the U.S. as possible, recognizing the importance of understanding their specificity, desires, and needs. Additionally, the tour aimed to explore opportunities for cooperation in various areas, including investment and cultural exchanges, through high-level meetings with state leaderships. In 2023 alone, he successfully visited communities in the U.S. states of Idaho, Nevada, Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These visits included meetings with Romanian communities, visits to places of worship, discussions with professors and Romanian students in universities, along with official meetings at the highest level with the authorities of these states including mayors, governors, and State and Federal elected officials.

A Diplomat with a Vision: Ambassador Muraru’s Leadership in 2023

Ambassador Muraru’s influence extends beyond politics into cultural diplomacy. Under his stewardship in 2023, the Romanian Embassy achieved remarkable milestones. The embassy’s public diplomacy events included: the Madrigal Choir’s U.S. tour with concerts in New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, in some of these cities’ most prestigious venues but also with a recital in the U.S. Congress; the fourth edition of the Romanian Film Festival in Washington which included directors and film critics to enrich the cultural landscape; the extraordinary concert “Amazing Grace: Celebrating Religious Freedom. A Romanian Tribute to America,” performed by the National Opera Orchestra of Bucharest and the “Procred” Choir; and “Spirit of Romania – Ovidiu Lipan Țăndărică Project,” an extraordinary concert at the Kennedy Center celebrating Romanian talent. It should be noted that Ambassador Muraru played a pivotal role in securing private funding totaling nearly one million dollars for organizing these cultural events and more broadly for promoting Romanian interests in the United States.

The “Romanian Weekend at The Wharf” stands as a testament to Ambassador Muraru’s commitment to cultural exchange. The three-day event, which marked in 2023 its second edition, brought together in July, Romanian, Romanian-American and American artists at The Wharf, the popular Washington esplanade by the Potomac. The event featured the National Folk Ensemble “Transylvania” from Maramureș; ethno-jazz concerts and Romanian folklore reinterpreted by Ana Everling & Taraf de Chicago; as well as demonstrations of traditional pottery and wood sculpture, has quickly become the biggest Romanian cultural and public diplomacy program in the United States.

One of the highlights of Ambassador Muraru’s tenure is the strategic collaboration with the Moldovan Ambassador whom he hosted at his Residency multiple times, introducing him to key administration officials.

As Ambassador Andrei Muraru recently stated: “The Embassy will continue this year to promote Romania in the United States through a rich agenda of public events aimed at supporting both the objectives of the Strategic Partnership and marking defining moments in our history, such as the 20th anniversary of Romania’s accession to NATO. We believe it is necessary to emphasize to our American partners the importance of the economic opportunities that Romania offers, as well as to capitalize on the cultural richness of our country. At the same time, considering the deterioration of the security environment at Romania’s border, we will focus on our country’s efforts to consolidate the Allied posture of deterrence and defense on the Eastern Flank and in the Black Sea region. We thank our partners, Romanian private companies, who, understanding the need for active public diplomacy, support us in our endeavors.

About Ambassador Andrei Muraru

Ambassador Andrei Muraru assumed the role of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the United States in July 2021. His extensive background includes pivotal roles at the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, serving as Executive President from 2012 to 2014. His multifaceted career spans positions within the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the National Archives of Romania, and as a Senior Advisor to President Klaus Iohannis.

Ambassador Muraru’s academic journey includes significant contributions to historiography, earning prestigious awards such as the Medal “King Michael for Loyalty” and the distinction of Officer in the Order of the Crown. He has been an Erasmus-Socrates student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and received doctoral fellowships at New Europe College and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

His commitment to promoting Romania’s rich cultural heritage and fostering international partnerships has garnered recognition, including the “Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” awarded by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

Understanding the Romanians of DC Community Award

The Romanians of DC Community Award, initiated in November 2019, aims to recognize individuals and organizations contributing significantly to the Romanian-American community in the greater Washington, DC area. Since 2021 the recipients of the Romanians of Washington, DC Community Awards are nominated through a public and open process by members of our community. Following the nomination process, which usually runs from September through November, the Members of the Board of Directors vote on the nominations received for a final selection of the recipients.

The 2023 Romanians of DC Community Award presented to H.E. Andrei Muraru “for spearheading a series of unprecedented events commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Romania – U.S. Strategic Partnership, for his active community engagement, and for bringing the Romanian Weekend at The Wharf in the Nation’s Capital.”

Ambassador Andrei Muraru’s receipt of this prestigious award exemplifies his exceptional leadership, unwavering dedication, and transformative impact on the Romanian community. As we celebrate his achievements, we also acknowledge the importance of such awards in fostering community participation and recognizing the often overlooked but vital contributions of outstanding individuals and organizations.