A few days ago, the President of Romanians of DC, Mr. Bogdan Banu had the pleasure of meeting at the Moldovan Embassy the new Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Viorel Ursu and of welcoming him to the Nation’s Capital on behalf of the organization and of its members. Mr. Ursu, who was appointed by President Maia Sandu in May of this year as the new Ambassador of Moldova to the U.S. and Mexico, has arrived in Washington in mid-September.
Ambassador Ursu served until prior to his nomination as Division Director for the Europe and Eurasia Program at the Open Society Foundation in London. A graduate of the College of Europe’s Institute of Postgraduate European Studies in Bruges, Belgium and Warsaw, Poland with a Master in European Studies and a Specialization in EU Law, Mr. Ursu has extensive experience in large program strategy development and implementation and proven skills in public affairs, research, and communications. He has worked for more than ten years in the management of international funding programs and has significant expertise in European, Trans-Atlantic and Eurasian affairs, particular focused on democratic practices, diplomatic relations, human rights, media, and civil society development. He also has a deep knowledge of the European Union policymaking and funding mechanisms.
Ambassador Ursu took this opportunity to discuss some of the goals and objectives of his mission and the priorities of the current Moldovan Government in regard to the bilateral relation with the United States and in particular the ongoing efforts to deepen the U.S. – Moldova Strategic Dialogue given the tensed regional context created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The relationship with the Moldovan Diaspora was specifically mentioned as one of the priorities of his mandate. This has already been visible from his participation at the 8th Moldo-American Convention organized between September 30 and October 2 in Seattle, Washington, from his most recent meeting with members of the Moldovan community in the Washington, DC area (which also included Romanians of DC’s Secretary Aurica Balmuș), and from his present engagement with Romanians of DC.
The meeting was a first chance to inform Mr. Ambassador about the activities of Romanians of DC and its history working closely with and for the Moldovan and Romanian communities in the greater Washington, DC area. Mr. Banu presented some of the organization’s most important achievements since its funding almost five years ago and focused in particular on those programs that either targeted or benefited the Moldovan Diaspora. He highlighted in particular the community study published on this website which offer an in-depth analysis of the local community; noted the Community Directory, lunched by the organization in 2021 and currently numbering over 240 local companies, organizations, churches, restaurants, and other entities – many Moldovan owned or managed-; and presented the organization’s monthly newsletter of upcoming events. He also mentioned some of the hallmark events organized by Romanians of DC including the annual Mărțișor Party and the Celebration of the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse. The discussion also veered towards the organization’s upcoming projects and plans and the ways in which Romanians of DC may support and help the social and cultural activities the Embassy is looking to undertake. As stated at the meeting, Romanians of DC, which has on its mailing list between 400 and 500 Moldovan-Americans from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, remains committed to organizing, promoting and supporting events and other activities that help build a stronger community and showcase the values and traditions of Romania and of the Republic of Moldova to a wider American public.
Mr. Banu took this opportunity to present Ambassador Ursu with a framed photo of the more than 220 Moldovans and Romanians who gathered in 2018 in front of the White House to celebrate the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse. This represents to date the largest gathering of Romanians in front of the Executive mansion. A similar gift was presented to the Romanian Ambassador, H.E. Andrei Muraru, upon his arrival in Washington in 2021 as a way to illustrate the unity of our community, its presence and visibility and most important its potential in furthering the U.S. – Romanian and U.S. – Moldovan bilateral relations.
Before concluding this meeting, which was also attended by Mr. Roman Șeremet, Second Secretary, Mr. Banu issued an invitation to Ambassador Ursu to be a featured guest at one of the upcoming Romanian Social events which will be organized in early 2023. This will be yet another opportunity for the Ambassador to meet young professionals, students, and other members of the local Moldovan and Romanian community but also friends of the Republic of Moldova in an informal atmosphere.
We wish Ambassador Ursu a successful and productive time here in Washington, especially since his appointment comes at such a crucial time in the history of the Moldovan – American relations.