Miercuri, 27 iunie 2012

28 June 2012
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
To the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania
To the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga
To the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania

Dear Sirs:

It is with great distress that I have learned of the recently mandated—and, from all appearances, politically motivated–change in the mission of the ICR.

We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

We understand—and appreciate that with far less resources than other state cultural institutes, the ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council, the Czech Center, and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s work to correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers and spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radically change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

I join the numerous individuals and groups who have already indicated their wish to protest strongly against this action by the current Romanian government, and I support these individuals and groups in petitioning you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage as it has been in recent years.

Yours sincerely,
Jonathan Howell
VP Theatrical Distribution & Acquisitions
New Yorker Films

***

20 June 2012

To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
To the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania

To the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga
To the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania

We are hundreds of artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe, representing and in touch with hundreds of thousands of people of all cultures and classes. We wish to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

Since 2006, Immigrants Theatre Project has enjoyed a wonderful series of Artistic Exchanges with Romania, since I was a Fulbright Scholar at Babes Bolyai University in 2006. Since that time, my company has invited and worked with playwrights, directors, journalists and professors from Romania, and introduced Romania’s incredible cultural renaissance to the Ameriican theatre and mainstream public audience.

This would not have been possible without the close collaboration of Romanian artists here in the United States nor without the incredible support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. They have worked with us in bringing these Romanian artists to the émigré Romanian community here as well as exposing Americans to the innovative work being done in the Romanian theatre today.

We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!

We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radically change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Yours sincerely,

Marcy Arlin, Artistic Director
Immigrants’ Theatre Project

***
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
To the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania
To the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga
To the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am a university professor at the New York UniversityTisch School of the Arts, and I have had the extreme pleasure of working closely with the Romanian Cultural Institute in NYC for the last several years, and I am deeply disturbed to learn that the initiatives and directorship of the ICR in general may be jeopardized by current political changes in Bucharest.

My students, who come from all over the world, and I have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through NYC Romanian Cultural Institute; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far fewer resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici, and in NYC, implemented by Ms. Corina Suteu.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures—in my case, their work has resulted in lasting collaborations between young Romanian and U.S. artists and a deep appreciation for the Romanian imagination.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radically change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents, and only portends unnecessary and potentially devastating limitations on the crucial work the Institutes are doing.

I strongly urge your continued support of the Romanian Cultural Institutes as they are functioning now, without making changes, small or large, to their mission and initiatives.

Best regards,
Catherine Coray, Associate Arts Professor
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University

***
Letter from Birgitta Persson, Trans Europe Halles – A European Network of Independent Cultural Centers (www.teh.net)

***
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Romanian Government, General Secretariat
To the Romanian Senate

We are hundreds of artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe an around the world, representing and in touch with hundreds of thousands of people of all cultures and classes. We wish to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.
We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!
We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.
With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.
Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.
Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radially change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Sincerely,
Esther Charron

***
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta,
To Romanian Government, General Secretariat
To the Romanian Senate

We are hundreds of artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe, representing and in touch with hundreds of thousands of people of all cultures and classes. We wish to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!

We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radially change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Yours Sincerly,
Kulturrat Österreich

***
Amsterdam, 26 June 2012

To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Romanian Government, General Secretariat
To the Romanian Senate

Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) under threat

The European Cultural Foundation (ECF), a truly European and civic partner of the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) for many years, is deeply concerned by the emergency ordinance passed on 13 June by the Government of Romania modifying the 2003 law establishing the RCI. This legislation that implies a change in subordination and leadership of the RCI has caused strong reactions across the European continent and beyond. It disregards the important achievements of the RCI  all over the world, under the leadership of its President Horia-Roman Patapievici and his committed collaborators in the headquarters and the 18 RCI branches in 17 countries. Their commitment to intellectually and artistically stimulating productions and supporting of qualitative work from the realms of arts, culture, heritage and creative industries have enormously contributed to a better understanding of, access to and participation in contemporary Romanian culture and heritage. The work of the RCI across the world has greatly contributed to an open, liberal and European image of Romania that is more than ever needed in the current crisis that provokes narrow-minded, inward-looking, national identity reflexes rather than openness to the world and a readiness to engage with other countries and cultures.

The change of legislation will have profound implications on the perception of Romania as European and global partner, and will substantially diminish the potential that the arts, culture and the creative industry sector of Romania can bring to and share with the world.

We are in particular concerned with the clear shift in focus, moving away from support of an open and cosmopolitan Romanian culture to the ambition to preserve and perpetuate national identity and to foster national belonging. The success of the RCI is based to a large extend on its autonomy and apolitical nature whereas the current bill aims in contrary at control and politisation, not to say instrumentalisation of Romanian arts and culture.

The ECF wishes to join the thousands of supporters of the RCI – illustrated by the highly impressive number of petitions, protests, media actions – in their quest to revise the bill and allow the RCI to continue its important and efficient work in the world. Changing the mission and the tutelage of the RCI would not only impact Romanian artists, cultural operators, artistic producers and intellectuals but also fundamentally affect the image of Romania in Europe, and jeopardise the reputation that the RCI has build up in the last eight years under the leadership of  its President Horia-Roman Patapievici.

We urge you to reflect on the massive mobilisation against the change of law, and inherent dangers on national and international level it contains, and appeal to all those responsible to safeguard what has been achieved by the RCI thanks to its visionary leadership and autonomy.

Yours sincerely,
Katherine Watson
Director European Cultural Foundation

***
22 June 2012
Dear  Prime Minister Victor Ponta

Requesting your urgent Attention

We are hundreds of artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe, representing and in touch with hundreds of thousands of people of all cultures and classes.   We wish to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!

We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange.  Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression.    An “emergency” measure to radially change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Sincerely Yours

Frank Kanu
OPAD, SWEDEN

www.opad.eu

***
With great concern I have followed your government’s recent decision to change the status of Romanian Cultural Institutes in the world. I have been working very closely with the New York office of the Romanian Cultural Institute for many years, first in my capacity as deputy director of the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACFNY), and now as director of Deutsches Haus at NYU, an important German-speaking cultural center run by New York University. I also had the pleasure to closely collaborate with Ms. Corina Suteu and her team in the framework of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC) in New York.

I would like to point out to you that the RCI has over the years and under the admirable leadership of Ms. Suteu managed to become one of the most important international cultural players in this city. The Romanian Cultural Institute is today not only an important partner for many interesting and relevant art projects in the world’s cultural and artistic capital, it serves also as a role model for many other countries and institutions to follow.

With her own open-minded spirit and rigorous competence Ms. Suteu has not only opened up the minds of New Yorkers for the work of her institute, but for Romania and its cultural importance in general. If I were a Romanian citizen living in New York, I would be proud to see my country and its fascinating and thriving art scene represented in such a respected and inspiring way.

I therefore cannot really understand why the current Romanian government, rather than encouraging and further strengthening such a proud and distinguished institution, would on the contrary limit its capacities and dramatically change and alter its truly successful course.

I see myself as a true friend of your country, and it would sadden me deeply to see the presence of the RCI as we know it and love it today, forcefully and without need diminished or even destroyed.

Sincerely,
Martin Rauchbauer
Director
Deutsches Haus at NYU

***
26-06-2012
Identitatea românească trebuie păstrată şi cultivată în complexitatea ei – interviu cu Petre Guran, directorul Institutului Cultural Român de la Chişinău la Radio Europa Liberă
As the director of a major national film organization in the United States based in Chicago, I am writing to register my protest against the lpanned changes in the mission and administration of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

***
Facets Cinematheque Chicago
25/06/2012

As the director of a major national film organization in the United States based in Chicago, I am writing to register my protest against the planned changes in the mission and administration of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, with which I am most familiar, is an exemplary organization whose activities and impact covers the entire country. It is MORE effective than cultural institutions of other nations with, I am sure, much larger budget s—the French or British, for example. It has succeeded in positioning Romania as a culturally and democratically-dynamic country and a formidable force in Europe, as well as a nation with a rich – in the U.S. largely unknown – history.

The single mission of the Romanian Cultural Institute has been to champion Romanian art and artists, to engage them in dialogue, and to present a diversity of viewpoints and artistic expressions. The Romanian Cultural Institute has been extraordinary in networking and bringing together many different kinds of institutions, and at making Romania the center piece of every cultural and democratic dialogue.

Any attempt to change the mission of the Romanian Cultural Institutes by bringing them under obvious political control in the guise of  an “emergency” measure is not only a frightening blow against artistic freedom, but will be counter-productive in its long-term position of Romania as a nation on the global stage.

Cordially,

Milos Stehlik
Director
Facets Multi-Media, Inc.
Chicago

***

25/06/2012
Mr. Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister
General Secretariat of the Government of Romania
Mr. Vasile Blaga, Speaker of the Senate of Romania

Dear Sirs,

I am addressing on behalf of the Ben-Gurion University of The Negev, Department of the Arts in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was founded in 1969, by Avram Goldstein-Goren, a native Romanian, with the aim to bring development to the Negev, a desert area comprising more than sixty percent of the country. Today, Ben-Gurion University is a major center for teaching and research, with close to 20,000 students. The University also includes major research institutes such as the
National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research with its Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies and the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism.

One of the most important international projects we developed recently was the art exhibition & conference “I Am a Romanian: the Bucharest – Tel Aviv Route”, in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, which revealed a series of cultural analyses and interpretations of the Romanian identity. The art exhibition focused on different point of views about Romanian identity, tradition &
memory, as they are expressed in the works of 20 contemporary artists from Romania and 20 Israeli artists of Romanian descent. The conference presented significant case studies in various cultural fields, such as: history, folklore, theology, literature, cinema and fine arts. The influences and the Romanian creative roots of some Israeli artists of Romanian origin, as well as important contributions of intellectual Jews to the Romanian cultural patrimony were also taken into discussion.

The project also included two important organizations of Romanian Jews in Israel: A.M.I.R. (United Organization of Romanian Jews in Israel) and H.O.R. (Hitachdut Olei Romania).

For 2013 – 2015, our university intends to expand its cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, for an Eastern European project on Romanian video art (to be presented in Beer Sheva and Philadelphia – USA), and a workshop about Sapanta and naïve art in Romania.

Yours Sincerely,
Prof. Haim Maor
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The Department of Arts

***
Dear Honorable Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania:
Dear Honorable Members of the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania:
Dear Honorable Vasile Blaga, Speaker of the Senate of the Government of Romania:
Dear Honorable members of the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania:

I am writing to praise the Romanian Cultural Institute as it is presently organized.

In New York it is a remarkable institution that has provided New Yorkers, including Romanians living in our metropolis, to experience the best of Romanian culture in all mediums. The art world in New York continues to be amazed how this group representing a country whose population is a fraction of Germany, Britain and France and whose resources are circumscribed can be as effective and efficient as the cultural services of these other nations.

I can assure all of you that it was the professionalism, the enthusiasm, the intelligence and the commitment to spread the idea of Romanian Culture in New York that made my work, and that of my colleagues in other curatorial departments, possible. Without the help of the Romanian Cultural Instittute I New York I would not have been able to organize our recent and highly successful (both in terms of favorable criticism and public attendance) retrospective of Lucian Pintille, nor secure a copy of Pinitile’s films for our permanent collection. The RCINY has been invaluable. Of great interest to  me was the number of Romanians in our audience who told me how exciting it was for them to see Romanian artists recognized in New York.

I work with many national cultural organizations (from Canada to Germany) and find the most efficient are semi-autonomous organizations funded in part but independent from each nation’s legislature. I encourage you to maintain the status of the Romanian Cultural Institute. The job it does is exemplary.

Sincerely,
Laurence Kardish
Senior Curator The Museum of Modern Art, New York

***
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania, the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga, and the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania:

I am an editor at a U.S. publishing house, Melville House Publishing, and I’d like to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and position of the Romanian Cultural Institutes. It is solely because of the excellent outreach that the Romanian Cultural Institute has done in New York that I’ve become aware of the breadth of Romanian literature, art, and film, and have been able to participate in bringing it to a wider audience.

Several years ago, the RCI circulated material about Romanian writers along with descriptions of their books and sample translations; I was at that time an assistant editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and I read a sample translation of Filip Florian’s novel LITTLE FINGERS. I had no connections with Romania, no knowledge of the language or the literature, but I was highly impressed by the sample and I brought it to the attention of the senior editor I worked with, Drenka Willen, a legendary editor whose authors include Jose Saramago, Gunter Grass, Amos Oz, Wislawa Szymborska, and Umberto Eco. With Ms. Willen’s enthusiastic approval, I acquired the novel and LITTLE FINGERS was published two years later. It was supported by a translation subsidy and the RCI brought Florian to New York to meet with reviewers and readers. Without the initial approach by the RCI, I would certainly not have encountered Florian’s work, and without the ensuing support, Houghton Mifflin would not have been able to publish it. However, because both were made possible by the RCI, LITTLE FINGERS and Florian’s next book, THE DAYS OF THE KING, were published to reviews in major U.S. publications, including the New York Times and Newsweek.

Since that first contact with the RCI, I’ve attended many events organized by the Institute, including the annual Romanian Film Festival and, this year, the Lucian Pintilie retrospective at MOMA. These events have been conducted with extraordinary intelligence, professionalism, and creativity. The RCI in New York has become a byword for successful programming; the cultural organizations of many larger countries do much less and much less successfully than the RCI has done in just a few years. It makes no sense to interrupt the great work that the RCI has gotten underway. I urge you to consider this decision carefully and, here in New York, I will voice my opposition to the way the current changes have been made, as I know many others who have been affected by the RCI’s work are doing.

Yours truly,
Sal Robinson
Melville House Publishing

***
Dear Sirs,

It is with great concern that we follow the current debate in Romania and the international debate that it has caused. Most renowned commentators from the cultural and political scenes, and many quality media, are concerned that the fabulous work of the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) all over the world, under the leadership of the exceptional Horia-Roman PATAPIEVICI – and his committed collaborators in the headquarters and in the cities and countries where the RCI is active and successful in creating a modern, favourable cultural portrait of an open, liberal, European and cosmopolitan Romania, through cooperation with artists and intellectuals, cultural leaders and citizens – could be jeopardized severely.

MORE EUROPE – external cultural relations is a civic initiative of foundations and cultural institutes aiming at broadly debating the power of culture in European external relations, collecting and spreading evidence of best practices, and building advocacy vis-à-vis governments and EU institutions, in particular the European External Action Service.

In this respect, there is a broad acknowledgement of the importance of bottom-up work, of cultural independence and autonomy – towards a new understanding of cultural relations, instead of diplomacy only. This is why the Steering Committee of MORE EUROPE has gladly supported the membership of the RCI to MORE EUROPE, and appreciates the event that is being planned in Bucharest, preceded by many other large events in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Copenhagen etc.
Horia-Roman PATAPIEVICI earned a lot of respect as president of EUNIC, the network of national cultural institutes that is one of the key
drivers of change in this field.

MORE EUROPE follows and discusses with concern the testimonies of close observers who criticize the emergency decision taken by the Romanian government to change the status of the Romanian Cultural Institute and its subordination in order to allow for the change of its leadership. Until now the RCI has enjoyed independence under the symbolic subordination to the President of Romania. Close observers also criticize a revival of narrowly defined national interests and “representative culture” – redirecting its activity to the Romanian diaspora etc. – and emphasise the danger of a highly politicized functioning.

There is also a very unusual display of solidarity towards the Institute and against this decision, as well as a public uproar in favour of the Romanian Cultural Institute as one of the public institutions citizens and intellectuals are proud of, since it is perceived as  effective, competent and professional. Many artists, civil society organizations and regular people have protested against this decision through online petitions, in articles and public protests, and this uproar has started to permeate also in the international press, in particular through leading Romanian filmmakers. MORE EUROPE has received statements by  Cristi PUIU, Cristian MUNGIU, Corneliu PORUMBOIU and many more.

What must be of great concern for decision-makers is also the negative effects that this debate has on hundreds of international artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe, representing hundreds of thousands of people. They beg the decision-makers to “recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the RCIs have been doing, and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now!” They and their audiences “have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; they have learned about the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists…” – all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes – despite of far less resources than other State cultural institutes. “This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman PATAPIEVICI.”
The cultural sector states that “like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the RCIs correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.”

Strong reasons for MORE EUROPE to address you, appealing to all those responsible to safeguard what has been achieved by the RCI thanks to its autonomy and cultural independence. This should by no means be endangered through what is perceived as forced emergency-processes that may ‘instrumentalise’ the cultural sphere.

The Romanian Cultural Institute has become in recent years a major partner and player in the European cultural scene. This success was part of the success of the Romanian foreign policy in Europe and should not be jeopardized by shortsighted domestic policies.

Yours fatihfully,
Sana Ouchtati
Project Director More Europe

on behalf of the MORE EUROPE – external cultural relations Steering Committee

***
To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, The General Secretariat of the Government of Romania, The Speaker of the Senate of Romania , Mr. Vasile Blaga and to the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania,

The Romanian Cultural Institute has been an indispensable vehicle of cultural and national influence not only in Romania, but here in Chicago, Illinois and the greater United States.  Their mission to disseminate Romanian culture globally has been rigorously upheld and proven effective.  Thanks to their efforts, Trap Door Theatre, Chicago’s leader in international theatre, was able to manifest five Romanian focused productions in not only our Midwestern reach, but internationally including, the Fun-Underground Festival in Arad, The International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, Teatru 74 in Tirgu-Mures, the National Theatre of Bucharest and at the Bagatela Theatre in Krakow, Poland.  Nationally, we have taken Romanian works to New York, and Lexington Virginia to educate and inspire residents with Romania’s artistic integrity.  The support of the Romanian Cultural Institute introduced Romania’s distinctive cultural voice to audiences around the world, bringing together multiple nations through the arts and painting a profound Romanian artistic and national identity along the way.

Trap Door strives to be Chicago’s haven for obscure and rarely produced works: this includes local and international under-produced plays and playwrights.   We challenge mainstream entertainment with non-linear narration, controversial or under-served perspectives, and attempt to have thoughtful impact on our audiences.  Trap Door’s artistic director, Beata Pilch, and company affiliates noted a lack of representation of international works, both contemporary and classic, in the United States.  Often, the texts we produce are unavailable in the U.S; our presence in the international community has allowed Trap Door to access these obscure scripts, playwrights, and artists.  These brilliant works contain voices from abroad that provide a more diverse worldwide cultural perspective to people living in America.  We strive to give the people of Chicago an opportunity to see these extremely rare works manifested bold and un-censored on stage.  Trap Door continuously endeavors to be a home for the “other” as seen in terms of content, staging, personnel, and audiences eager to explore, literally, another world of performance that lies outside of colloquial programming.  This ambitious mission only works with shared vision that comes with partnerships with cultural institutions, specifically the Romanian Cultural Institute.  Recently we manifested the U.S. and English premier of Matei Visniec’s The Word Progress on my Mother’s Lips Doesn’t Ring True with Romanian director Istvan K. Szabo at the helm.  His visionary production won awards from the Joseph Jefferson Committee and the Chicago Reader and was highly recommended by local press and audiences.  This work, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute, has had a profound impact on audiences in the United States.  Please honor the fine work this organization has made possible through their vibrant leadership and focused efforts.   Their work is necessary for your cause, and the absence of such an organization will dissipate your nations amazing cultural voice to a whisper on a worldwide scale.

Sincerely,
Trap Door Theatre’s Artistic and Administrative Staff: Beata Pilch, Holly Cerney, Nicole Wiesner, and the entire Trap Door Theatre Company.

***
June 24, 2012

To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
To the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania
To the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga
To the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania

Dear Gentlemen,

As a representative of an American arts organization, I am writing to express my concern over the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.
I beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now.
We at the Palm Springs Film Festival and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian filmmakers… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.
With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.
Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Yours sincerely,
Alissa Simon, Senior Programmer
Palm Springs International Film Festival

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June 22, 2012

To: the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the General Secretariat of the Government of Romania, the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, and the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania.

From: Edward Foster, president, Talisman House, Publishers, LLC

The Romanian Cultural Institute, as presently constituted, has been enormously effective in promoting Romania and Romanian culture around the world. Romanian films, art, and literature have benefited hugely from the Institute’s work. Talisman House, Publishers, of which I am the president, has been the recipient of much needed and appreciated advice and support toward the publication not only of two anthologies of Romanian poetry but also a translation of Panait Istrati’s great novel, Kyra Kyralina, the first translation to be completed and published in English in more than three-quarters of a century.

The Romanian Cultural Institute has clearly played a powerful role in bringing Romania and Romanian culture to the world’s attention. Rumors have reached us that consideration has been given to reshaping the Institute and its work. I hope that these rumors are false. The work that the Institute has accomplished is critical in maintaining Romania’s place as a cultural leader in the world today.

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June 22, 2012

To the Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga, and the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania:

I am writing as a programmer for Film Forum, a cinema in New York specializing in presenting films from around the world. We have shown many critically acclaimed, prize-winning new Romanian films over the last several years, and the fact that we learned about, were able to promote, and find audiences in New York for these wonderful movies is due in large part to the invaluable work of the Romanian Cultural Institute and their efficient, dedicated team. For many years, we’ve been impressed by the commitment the RCI has shown to the promotion of Romanian artists and culture. There are few countries on earth that have the benefit not only of productive cultural emissaries such as the RCI, but the rigorous, brilliant art to back it up and make their work vital. Were it not for the RCI initiative to enlighten us to the diversity and beauty of Romanian culture, we – at least in the U.S. – might still see Romania as a land of castle-dwelling vampires and gymnasts.

I just returned from the Transilvania Film Festival in Cluj, a brilliantly programmed festival that showcases exciting new films from emerging and established Romanian filmmakers, and I’ve also attended the Romanian Film Festival in New York. These are two very important and popular festivals that serve a crucial purpose – to share the riches of Romanian culture with the world and to introduce international audiences to the artists.

I am respectfully urging you to reconsider the current proposal to redirect the mission of the Romanian Cultural Institute. The work of the RCI – and Romanian artists – deserves to be above the political fray of the moment.

Sincerely,

Mike Maggiore
Film Forum
New York

***

20 June 2012

To the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Government and Senate

We are hundreds of artistic and cultural organizations, associations and networks in Europe, representing and in touch with hundreds of thousands of people of all cultures and classes.   We wish to protest strongly against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes.

We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!

We and our audiences have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange.  Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression.    An “emergency” measure to radically change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Mary Ann DeVlieg
Secretary General, IETM International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts

Mercedes Giovinazzo
President Culture Action Europe

Luca Bergamo
Secretary-General Culture Action Europe

NEMO – The Network of European Museum Organisations

IG Kultur Österreich Association for Cultural Initiatives and Cultural Centers in Austria

Ute Classen UTECLASSENKULTURMANAGEMENT

Joao Correa Delegue General WCA-Europe
World Cinema Alliance -Europe

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Julia Loktev, filmmaker, New York

I am a New York based filmmaker who recently attended the Transylvania International Film Festival to present my film. I am also a film fan who has often attended the Romanian Film Festival in New York and the other excellent artistic programs supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute.

I would like to add my voice to the protest against the current Romanian government’s proposal to change the mission and tutelage of the Romanian Cultural Institutes. The Romanian Cultural Institute is a truly fantastic institution. Living in New York, I am incredibly impressed by the incredible programming of the RCI. I am originally from Russia, and I’ve found myself thinking how impressive it is that Romania has such a fantastic Cultural Institute, on par with the Goethe Institute, while a country like Russia has nothing of the sort and can’t compare. It’s really an incredible accomplishment, and has done so much to bring Romanian cultural to the world.

We beg you to recognize the excellent, accountable, efficient and effective work that the ICRs have been doing and to leave their mission, independence and tutelage the way it is now – we see nothing wrong, but only right; it does not need to be ‘fixed’!

We have learned about the beauty of Romanian culture through these Institutes; we have learned of the richness of contemporary thought in Romania and we have had the good fortune to ‘discover’ and work with the finest of both young and accomplished Romanian artists… all thanks to the independent Romanian Cultural Institutes.

With far less resources than other state cultural institutes, ICR has accomplished a truly admirable task of putting Romanian art and artists onto a very competitive international cultural map in a relatively short period. This is in a very large part due to the innovative approaches of addressing international cultural markets exercised during the presidency of Horia-Roman Patapievici.

Like the Goethe and French Institutes, the British Council and many more, the Romanian Cultural Institutes form a precious neutral space for international cultural exchange, supporting the emergence and development of international cultural collaboration and exchange. Like the other cultural institutes, the ICR’s correct stereotypes, support talent, internationalize careers, spread the understanding of the best of their cultures.

Romania is a signatory to many international treaties and declarations, some legally binding and some not, which oblige states to pro-actively support freedom of artistic and cultural expression. An “emergency” measure to radically change the ICR mission and submit it to obvious politicized control is against the spirit and the letter of these documents.

Thank you
Julia Loktev
filmmaker, New York
***

To:
Mr. Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister
General Secretariat of the Government of Romania
Mr. Vasile Blaga, Speaker of the Senate of Romania,

Dear Sirs,

I am writing you this letter as the CEO of the Holon Mediatheque, Israel.

This unique center was Established in 2004, and is an all-encompassing cultural hub that aims to serve as a unique platform to create high-standard, inspirational content, for Holon residents as well as visitors from Israel and abroad. Holon Mediatheque acts as a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary center and is home to Holon’s public library, the Mediatheque Theater, Holon Cinematheque, the Israeli Cartoon Museum, Design Museum Holon and the Israeli Center for Digital Art.

The Mediatheque in general and the Design Museum Holon in particular have being working together with the Romanian Cultural Institute for the last two year on a project that will spread and promote the richness of Romania design both past and present.

As a relatively young country Israel is still working on formulating its cultural identity while riling on the historical roots it has in the countries from which its citizens immigrated from.

The Romanian history and culture are forever entwined in the Israeli Design industry DNA. The important work of research and uncovering the roots and connections between Romania and Israel could never have
done without the dedicated, professional and committed work of the Romanian Cultural institute in Tel Aviv.

As a country of immigrants the history and culture we appreciate and cherish the opportunity to have a direct contact with the Romanian people via the wonderful work of the Romanian Institute.

We trust that the importance of the work done by the Romanian Cultural institute will continue with current and future projects.

Sincerely,
Alon Sapan
CEO

***
To:
The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta,
The General Secretariat of the Government of Romania,
The Speaker of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Vasile Blaga,
and the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of Romania:

Having attended the Transilvania International Film Festival twice, as well as the Romanian Film Festival in New York for several years, I was disturbed to learn of the plans to strip the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) of its autonomy.
Having gotten to know the ICR’s Corina Suteu and Oana Radu, as well as TIFF’s Mihai Chirilov, both on a professional and personal level these last few years, I have been confident in the intelligence and thoughtfulness they’ve brought to their respective roles as ambassadors of Romanian culture to the United States and elsewhere. I’m frankly shocked that efforts would be made to constrain their ability to do their work, limiting them to support and promote only state-approved artists.

Artists can only thrive when afforded the opportunity to express themselves without imposed limitations. A culture can only survive, and be viewed as credible outside its boundaries, when it permits space for all voices, especially those potentially critical of the status quo, to be heard. To block or severely impede this diversity of voices by taking away the ICR’s curatorial oversight not only creates a homogenized version of Romanian culture, but also an inauthentic one. Especially in the realm of film, where Romania has proven itself in recent years to produce a cinema that is amongst the most exciting and vibrant around the world, it is disconcerting to imagine barriers being put in place to prevent the international exposure of work that may not be to the liking of the Romanian Senate for one reason or another.

The capacity for state-mandated censorship is far too easy in the absence of an autonomous ICR. I stand in solidarity with those who would strongly urge the Romanian government to abandon the plan to subordinate the ICR to any direct governmental oversight on either a programmatic or management level, and to instead maintain the independence that has allowed it to share Romanian culture so effectively to date.

Best regards,
Basil Tsiokos
Documentary Film & Festival Consultant
Regular Contributor, Indiewire
Programming Associate, Documentary Features, Sundance Film Festival

***

Reacții în limba engleză pe site-ul ICR New York.

***

În documentele atașate – scrisoarea doamnei Fritzie Brown, director executiv al CEC ArtsLink din New York și scrisoarea trimisă de Sana Ouchtati, Project Director More Europe on behalf of the MORE EUROPE – external cultural relations Steering Committee, scrisori adresate domnului Victor Ponta, prim-ministru al României.

credit photo: Dan Perjovschi