A Cultural and Diplomatic Journey of Exception in Madrid

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The book launch event of „The Battle for Romania’s Future: Thoughts of a Romanian at the Top of NATO”, authored by former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Mircea Geoana, marked a significant moment in contemporary Romanian cultural and diplomatic landscape. Held with grandeur and solemnity on the evening of February 28th, at the „María de Maeztu” Hall within the prestigious Ortega-Marañón Foundation in Madrid, the event captured the world’s attention to the author’s unique perspective on Romania’s role within NATO and possible directions for the country’s future.

As the founder and editorial director of Occidentul Romanesc, a publication dedicated to the Romanian community in the West, I had the privilege of being invited to this exceptional cultural event and conducting an exclusive interview with Mr. Mircea Geoana. This moment coincided with the 14th anniversary of our publication on March 1st, and our participation was an opportunity to emphasize the essential contribution of Romanian leaders to the development and promotion of cultural and diplomatic values in our community.

The event was organized by the Romania 2030 Project Association and Litera Publishing House, with moderation conducted professionally and elegantly by Ms. Cristiana Uzuna. This initiative provided Mr. Mircea Geoana with an ideal platform to share his thoughts and insights on Romania’s future in his capacity as a leader at the top of NATO. The book authored by Mr. Geoana represents a profound exploration of his experiences and visions accumulated throughout a remarkably rich career in diplomacy and politics.

From his influential position at the top of NATO, Mr. Mircea Geoana offers a unique perspective on how Romania can contribute to ensuring regional and global security and stability. Therefore, the book launch represented a particularly important moment in the Romanian cultural and diplomatic calendar, emphasizing the importance and relevance of our country’s role on the international stage.

What inspired you to write this book, and what is the main message you want to convey to readers?

Mircea Geoana: This book draws inspiration from the history of the Romanian people and seeks to foreshadow the future. We live in a very complicated period, we all feel it, but there are also opportunities, so my message to Romanians at home and abroad is to stick together, to have faith in our country, to try to surpass ourselves. The Battle for Romania’s Future is actually a battle with ourselves. That is the central message of the book.

How do you think your experience at the top of NATO has influenced your perspective on Romania’s future and its role in the international community? 

Mircea Geoana: The fact that a Romanian reaches such a high level of international recognition is a good thing for Romania, for the newer members in the West, and I believe it is also the beginning of a much more mature relationship between the old and new NATO members of the European Union. I believe it is time for our countries, whether it’s Poland, Romania, or anyone else, because even Spain joined the European Union later, but nevertheless, look how well it has overcome its newcomer complex and how smoothly it operates. My message is that a country like Romania, an important country, can do much more, much better, and that my personal example should be an inspiration to many others.

What are the main challenges and opportunities you see for Romania in the current geopolitical context? 

Mircea Geoana: The way the political system and state structure’s function need a transformation, especially because there are challenges coming from outside that are not directly related to war. There is a technological transformation, there is an information war, and there are many others at the moment. The massive emigration we have, the demographic decline of the country; so, I believe the main challenge is internal, and the question is whether we will be able to find internal resources to resist external pressure, to take advantage of this situation where the world is changing lately.

How do you think Romania should define its relations with other states and international organizations to promote its interests and values in today’s world?

Mircea Geoana: First, we need to set aside any sense of inferiority or newcomer complex. We are members of important organizations, let’s behave as such. This does not mean being arrogant or throwing our weight around. And I return to the example of Spain, which joined NATO and the EU relatively recently, and now represents a country of high calibre in these organizations, and I believe Romania should also reach this level.

In your book, you discuss a new social contract for Romania. What essential elements should this social contract encompass to instil more confidence and respect in citizens? 

Mircea Geoana: Everything starts from school and education. So, if we invest in the people of our country, in the children of the country, regardless of where they are born, then the country has a future. Education remains the main source of societal progress, the main problem of Romania, because all the problems we have currently stem from education.

What advice do you have for young Romanians aspiring to pursue a career in diplomacy or politics, considering your own experience in these fields? 

Mircea Geoana: They should have the courage to try because not necessarily all will find satisfaction and success, but I think the biggest mistake is not to try. Trying sometimes brings success, other times failure, especially in politics, because politics in Romania has a very poor reputation. And serious people who want to go into politics are afraid because their reputation will suffer. And here, I believe we all need to make an effort to highlight people who have real political value because not all are to be criticized. But I also say something else. It also depends on the leadership model. In parties, in the country, in institutions, because there are many young people who would like to do a good job but are not allowed or have to adapt to a system that they do not enjoy. I trust that people of good quality can make a difference in this country and that many of those who are currently in the diaspora will give Romania another chance. In essence, that’s what it’s about.

A material by Kasandra Kalmann Nasaudean

Images: Occidentul Romanesc