Romanian-US Fulbright Commission was decorated by President Klaus Iohannis on Monday in a ceremony that took place at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, in the presence of Foreign and Education Ministers, Lazar Comanescu and Adrian Curaj, respectively, and US Ambassador Hans Klemm.
“Culture and education are essential for shaping up the society which we want to live in. The Commission’s activity, through the excellency and professionalism devoted to managing and coordinating the bilateral cultural-education programs, represents a long-term investment in these areas, which completes and consolidates our Strategic Partnership with the United States of America,” President Klaus Iohannis said.
According to the head of state, over 3,000 students, professors, members of the academic community of Romania and the US benefited from education programs and international exchanges through the Fulbright Program.
“The experiences of those who enjoyed the Fulbright Program support are testimony to this program’s success. Their performance after returning to the country, in the activity areas which they trained in, strengthens this fact. The presence of US students and professors in Romania plays an essential role in the good practice exchange and in the development of some common projects in education and research, science and technics, art, social sciences or architecture,” Iohannis added.
He said that the Fulbright exchanges played an important role in assisting the economic and democratic reforms in Romania and in consolidating the relations between the Romanian and US people on multiple levels.
“I am voicing my confidence that the cooperation relations between Romania and the US will continue to be increasingly closer and stronger,” the head of state said.
The US Ambassador said that the education and cultural exchanges are powerful diplomatic instruments, showing that the Fulbright scholarship program is the most significant. He brought to mind that this program also benefited historian Keith Hitchins, who published several books on Romania’s history, and Academician Ionel Haiduc, who studied molecular chemistry in the US.
Hans Klemm added that in 2014 the Parliament of Bucharest voted on Romania’s equally contributing with the US to the Fulbright Program, maintaining that, in this context, he expected the number of scholarships to go up by almost 50 percent.
The US Ambassador thanked Romania’s Government for its generous contribution, mentioning that the additional number of scholarships will allow more students and researchers in both countries to contribute to the development of their areas of study. He added that a program that proved to be solid and extremely valuable, worthy of the Order of Cultural Merit, the Fulbright scholarships will strengthen and deepen in the future the connections between the Romanian and US researchers and students. He also voiced his confidence that the Fulbright Program will continue to bring a valuable contribution to the strategic partnership and the friendship existing between the US and the Romanian people.
The head of state awarded the Romanian-US Fulbright Commission the Order of Cultural Merit in rank of Officer for scientific research on the occasion of celebrating 55 years of activity of the Fulbright Program in Romania “in sign of high appreciation for the excellency proven in managing and coordinating the cultural-educational programs funded on a governmental level by Romania and the US, contributing this way to the academic training of several generations of researchers and students, as well as to strengthening the relations on multiple levels between the US and the Romanian people.”