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December 1, 2020

A tribute to the one who left us

Alexandru Cornea has left us. We say good bye to him today and we recall the years we have spent together, bearing in mind his kind figure and his discreet smile, which was hiding both sense and feelings. Everything in a perfect balance, along with what was dominating his personality: modesty.

Sandu Cornea was a model of generosity, rigorousness and devotion. And it is worth to say that he never said “no” when he knew that he was chosen for a mission because this mission was difficult.

Every time, those with whom the teamed up, because Sandu Cornea was not a solitary man, knew that the moments which are really difficult are to be overcome with clam, and lasting success belongs to those who are perseverant and well prepared.

Sandu Cornea taught those who where different to become like him, and those who were sharing his values were on his side from the very beginning.

That Friday, when he left us, one of those who worked with him said that Sandu Cornea was well-liked, nice, and respected. Not many people can be like that. But this is how he was.

He was respected because this is for those for whom rules and professionalism are the ways to achieve outstanding results, devotion is axiomatic and courage a feature of his strong personality.

Well-liked because he was friendly, warm, generous and kind. Nice because, although always in control and calm, his jokes were good and timely.

Almost everyday since he left us, people who worked with him remembered and told stories where he was the main hero – yes, this is the appropriate word. Many of these stories are recalling bold or human and careful gestures for those with whom he was spending a lot of time.

Someone remembered how Sandu Cornea was waving – in an energetic, powerful and smiling manner – towards the helicopters taking off somewhere in the Caucasus heading home. He remained there, as the head of the OSCE mission. That very torrid day, carrying a very heavy briefcase almost all day long, he was easily opening the door of the armored jeep, presenting to the colleagues who came there the situation. He was confident, very happy that the visit in the refugee camp went well (he volunteered for translation a few times, for those who were not very close to the refugees), then he verified the supplies for the refugees and for his team, saying that everything will be fine, no need to be worried about him, there are people who are going though more difficult things, everybody is safe.

He was saying the same things every time when it was difficult, and the thing is, after talking to him, everything appeared not necessarily otherwise, but surely it was clearer. We all knew what we have to keep as a priority. He did not like compliments, he was embarrassed when he was praised, he said that other things need to be done, passing to the new subject, for which he always had his own opinion and a proposal on how to tackle it.

His point of view was not to be missed, it was a point of reference. In fact, in this profession, this is an indicator to be considered for an achievement. „What did Sandu Cornea say?” was a question many people heard.

Thanks to him, many of us learned to share the values that were guiding him. It is very difficult to say what we really feel without using clichés, but we are trying to avoid ordinary words. All his work was exceptional, and he went through the suffering with discretion and dignity.

We are saying good bye to him too soon, we are honoring him now and we will often remember him. There is no other way.

Alexandru Cornea’s achievements are known to those who are supposed to know them. He did his duty, always efficiently and discreetly. Discretion was not only a feature of his personality, but the characteristic of the profession for which he sacrificed everything.

May he rest in peace!

The colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Romania
Alexandru Cornea,
a career diplomat, passed away on Friday, 4 September
in New York.

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