The end of the „We support the excellence!”- Campaign
Royal Tribute to the Romanians in Spain
Smiles and tears of joy at a meeting that seemed like torn from the reality of a better world
In the middle of January, the cold makes itself felt even in Spain, but the chill from outside and the one spread by the troubled situation of Europe at this time – an Europe of us all – faded at the contact with the welcoming atmosphere of joy and happiness provided by the organizers of what proved to become a delightful marathon of not less than 12 hours apparently drawn from a beautiful picture frame, distinguished, decent and authentic: The Awards of „We support the excellence! – Mihai Eminescu 2016 „– Campaign, initiative of the Romanian language publication from Spain „Occidentul Românesc”.
The event held on Saturday, 16-th of January 2016, one day after the 166-th birth anniversary of our great national poet Mihai Eminescu, was hosted in the beautiful Festivity Hall of the town hall of Benidorm, most sought-after seaside resort of Spain and superlative touristic resort in Europe. The two famous radio entertainers who arrived from Bucharest as invited guests of honor themselves, Puşa Roth and Costin Tuchilă introduced and welcomed the public and the eminent officials, representatives of high authorities from both nations Romania and Spain.
The guests and the award winners who responded to the invitation arrived from many countries: Romania, USA, Austria, Spain, England, Germany, Belgium, Greece, etc. During the entire event, pages of the monthly newspaper „Occidentul Românesc” were shown on the large projecting screen in front of the public, on top of the beautiful festive hall scene that had been decorated with the flags of Spain, Romania, Europe and the Valencian Community and elegant banners, which individualized the publication, sponsors and partners of this Gala.
On this occasion, „Occidentul Românesc” also celebrated over 5 years of uninterrupted appearance, with a print run of thousands of copies distributed throughout Spain. The table with trophies for the winners and, last but not least, the abundance of elegant participants wearing festive outfits concurred to create a most enjoyable atmosphere, creating a high-class ambiance that reinforced once again the generic motto of the meeting: „Excellency Gala”.
After a brief presentation of the campaign history and objectives, pointing out that it had been led to this exquisite end only and exclusive by use of private means and efforts of the editorial staff of the „Occidentul Românesc”, under the leadership of the tireless lady Editor in Chief Kasandra Kalmann Năsăudean, the presenters Puşa Roth and Costin Tuchilă, in a charming and outstanding professional manner evoked our great Eminescu, the poet and journalist widely recognized among Romanian journalist and writers as mentor and precursor, including for all those who are practicing this profession nowadays.
This exquisite introduction has been followed by speeches of the Spanish and Romanian officials, who found warm welcoming words and who expressed congratulations in calm and well-disposed sentences, not at all like the stiff and rigid language that used to characterize formal speeches in the past, very usual among our former political representatives. Their short and very pertinent discourses conferred freshness to the entire event and encouraged the organizers to continue on this path, initiating, planning and completing further editions by ensuring the organizers of their support.
The whole set of dialogues, presentations and speeches were translated simultaneously by Mrs. Dorina Apostol – President of the „Ulpia Traiana”, Romanian Association of Valencia Community. Under her guidance, a group of children who attend the optional course of Romanian language, culture and civilization in Benidorm, Altea and Alfaz del Pi (Province of Alicante) held a touching artistic program, focused mainly on Eminescu themes.
It went on with the awards ceremony for the first section of our ”Excellency Gala”: the handing out of the trophies to the winners of the short stories and poetry contest who was held between the 15-th of January and the 15-th of August 2015. During this period, an overwhelming number of no less than 637 passionate writers from Romania and abroad had sent their creations to the jury, so it becomame an extremely successful project. The speakers pointed out the importance of promoting the Romanian language among Romanians established abroad and welcomed the initiative of the newspaper ”Occidentul Românesc” to reserve space in its summary for hosting interesting and attractive language exercises for the children of the Community, pages coordinated by the Romanian language teacher Mrs. Letiția Coza.
This first block of activities was followed by a 30 minutes break, which gave us the opportunity to respond at the organizers´ invitation to taste the delicious Romanian traditional products provided by the famous meat processing plant „Carmangeria Românească”, established in Zaragoza and by the well known bakery, sweets & pastry shop „Amandina” from Madrid, owned by a distinguished Romanian Lady. Frutti Fresh juices, mineral water and coffee completed the welcomed intermezzo on behalf of the organizers.
The enchantment of having tasted products that reminded us of Romania almost made us overlook another fantastic surprise waiting for us at the doors while we reentered the room: another gift, also in the service of beauty! Mrs. Andra Constandache and Mr. Valentin Florin Barbu, members of the editorial team of „Occidentul Românesc” handed out to each participant a set of presents on behalf of another generous sponsor and partner of this event, famous Cosmetic Company Farmec, from Cluj Napoca, now owner of the worldwide well known brand GEROVITAL. Again, our hearts were filled with warmth while discovering the elegant silver logo that adorns the gift bags and, of course, receiving a precious cosmetic cream, based on the formula developed by legendary Dr.Ana Aslan, recognized as the first researcher worldwide who managed to combat aging, with scientifically proven effects.
The organizers proceeded then after to the second part of the awards ceremony, the one dedicated to the Romanians who, through passion and dedication, have proven that one can achieve success and outstanding performances also far from his own country.
This was, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire event, due the density of personalities who went up on stage and thanks to their sincere and open testimony about how they managed to reach such stunning performances.
The presentations and laudations, read about each of them, were impressive and the beauty of their words of gratitude encouraged us all to continue to achieve best results in our professions. The talent of the award ceremony moderator, literary critic and veteran collaborator of the „Occidentului Românesc” newspaper, Senior Editor – Dan Caragea, from Portugal, enhanced even more the emotions and the festive atmosphere.
After another half an hour of coffee break, during which we feasted again on the delicious Romanian products (traditional meat products, cakes and cookies as if descended from childhood memories, things we miss continually in Spain), we then assisted to the honoring of those who, through their voluntarily efforts and without any financial reward, make the existence of the Romanian community life in Spain possible, by organizing cultural activities and promoting a positive image of our country. This includes also the journalists, and I am proud to be one of them.
Mrs. Kasandra Kalmann Năsăudean pointed out that it is not easy at all to carry such work of mirroring the positive aspects of our nation, considering that the media tends to chase the sensational, negative aspects, by high lightening some unwanted performances of those who search trouble with the law. Every nation has a percentage of less honoring members. This does not make us honor, but neither does it characterize or define us as Romanians.
Prizes were awarded for this section by Mrs. Cătălina Iliescu-Gheorghiu, professor at the University of Alicante, who, while holding her moving, touching speech, confessed to be very emotional. Towards the end of the event, Nicu Covaci, the leader of the legendary PHOENIX rock band – first and only Romanian music group that ever reached the western charts during the communist period, himself also granted with the Excellence Award for his musical achievements and settled in Spain – held a short recital accompanied by two co-musicians. The tracks (Strunga, In the shadow of the great bear, Whistle bourgeon…) were sung together with them by many of us. There were extremely vibrant moments, which reminded us of the most recent history, of the youth that many of us have spent in a locked country, in which the music of these brave boys was one of the few glimmers of hope that we had, those of us who… „were shooting at the moon”, and who now were delighted to hear once more those timeless songs.
The day ended with a festive dinner, rich and prolonged, offered by the „Occidentul Românesc” editorial team at the Hotel Servigroup Diplomatic restaurant in Benidorm, in an equally selected ambience in the hotel in which all winners and invited guests were located during the event, enjoying comfort, impeccable and high class services offered by a team of professionals led by Mr. Javier Cabrera – The director of Servigroup Diplomatic.
This extraordinary Gala is one of the rather scarce events that encourages us, Romanians who live in other countries, to try to shape the world around us in positive sense, by the simple and steady act of devoting ourselves to the work we are doing, with passion for maximum performance. In such an environment, excellence can be reached by each and all of us!
From behalf of the Spanish authorities, we have been have honored with the presence of: Mr. Antonio Pérez Pérez – The Mayor of Benidorm; Mr. Maria Jesús Pinto Caballero – Citizen Participation Councilor, Consumption/ Consumers, Labor, Local development, Public relations, Statistics; Mr. Lorenzo Martínez Sola – Citizen security, emergency situations and beach; Mrs. María Francisca Ripoll Ripoll, Mr. Arturo Cabrillo Salguero, Mr. Leopoldo Mr. David Bernabeu López, Mr. Juan García García, Mr. Maria Jesús Pinto Caballero, Mrs. María Teresa Águila Santos, Mr. Bernardo Mira Estirado.
In addition, we were also honored with the presence of: Mr. Andrés Verdú Reos – The Mayor of Villajoyosa, along with Mr. Pascal Amigó de Vleeschauwer – Heritage councilor, Technical Services and Mr. Jaime Ramis Galiana – Urbanism councilor, Citizen protection and Traffic.
Calpe Town Hall representatives also responded to the invitation with the same warmth and distinguished consideration for our event: Mrs. Carole Sanders – Citizen Participation Councilor, Consumption/ Consumers, Labor, Local development, Public relations, Statistics and Mrs. Neus Gomez– Head of/ Chief of the Press Cabinet.
From behalf of the Romanian authorities, we had at our side: Mrs. Sandra Pralong – State Advisor / Department of Relations with the Romanians from Abroad – Presidential Administration of Romania); Mr. Ilie Bănică – Minister/ Officer of state, Ambassador’s Prime collaborator/ Romanian Embassy in Spain; Mr. Dragoș Viorel Țigău – Plenipotentiary minister/ officer of state, Head of the Consular Office/ The Romanian Consulate in Castellón de la Plana.