Earlier last week the President and Founder of Romanians of DC, Mr. Bogdan Banu had the pleasure of meeting the new Romanian Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Andrei Muraru. Mr. Muraru has presented his letters of accreditation to the U.S. Department of States on Friday, July 30, just 24 hours after his arrival in the Nation’s Capital in a gesture which reflects the importance the American administration places on its relationship with Romania. For Mr. Muraru this will be his second time in Washington, DC after serving in 2010 and 2011 as the Tziporah Wiesel Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum conducting research for his project on “Transnistria War Criminal Trials.”
The meeting, which took place at the Romanian Embassy, was an opportunity to congratulate the Ambassador on his appointment and to welcome him (back) to Washington, DC. It was also a chance to learn about the specific goals and objectives he has planned for himself and his team at the Embassy during his tenure, and to discuss some of the priorities that Romania seeks to address in the next few years as part of its strategic and privileged relationship with the United States. Mr. Muraru talked specifically about continuing the excellent cooperation in the defense and intelligence area, about strengthening and growing the economic cooperation and trade, with a special emphasis on some key sectors for Romania which include manufacturing, IT, and natural resources, about the need to reengage the Romanian-American community, and, as has now been the case for many years, about the inclusion of Romania in the Visa Waiver Program.
The meeting was also an occasion for Mr. Banu to present to the Ambassador an overview of the Romanian Community in the DMV area, and more broadly in the United States, to highlight some of the key accomplishments of Romanians of DC and to discuss upcoming projects, plans, and ideas. Some of the specific items which were discussed included the community study published by the organization in 2019, the Community Directory launched in 2021, and the Count me Romanian! Campaign organized in the period leading up to and during the U.S. Census. Mr. Banu also highlighted some of the social and cultural activities which Romanians of DC has organized over the years, and on behalf of the organization, extended an invitation to Ambassador Muraru to be our featured guest at one of the future Romanian Social events which we hope to organize later this Fall. We are happy to note that Mr. Ambassador readily and gladly accepted the invitation.
Mr. Banu also presented the Ambassador with a small gift, a framed photo of the Romanian Community from the DMV area celebrating in 2018 the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse in front of the White House. The more than 220 Romanians which were present at that time for this important event in the life of our community, represent the largest gathering of Romanians in front of the Executive Mansion. This symbolic gift best illustrates the unity of our community, its presence and visibility and most important its potential in furthering the U.S. – Romania bilateral relation by serving as a natural bridge and conduit for deeper and more substantive engagements (while strongly reaffirming their cultural identity). We also hope, as was stated by Mr. Banu, that the Ambassador will keep this gift/reminder in his office during his time in Washington.
The meeting, also attended by Mr. Cristian Gaginski, Deputy Chief of Mission, was, we anticipate, the first of many and part of an ongoing dialogue the Ambassador has promised to continue not just with Romanians of DC but also with the Romanian-American community at large.
The visit to the Romanian Embassy was also an opportunity to bit farewell to Mr. Gabriel Rotaru, the Head of the Consular Section, and to thank him for his great service during his time in the United States. In addition to his more recent role in the Consular Section, Mr. Rotaru has served for a number of years as the Embassy’s main point of contact with the community and has been a constant and welcomed presence to our events and activities. Romanians of DC presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation noting his “remarkable efforts to engage and support the Romanian-American community in the U.S.” and wished him the best of luck as he embarks on the next chapter of his diplomatic career.