A bill to establish an Institute for Advanced Studies of Levantine Culture and Civilization, as a public national interest institution, was adopted on Monday by the Romanian Senate.
The bill was initiated by 15 MPs, but President of the Senate Calin Popescu Tariceanu said they got the idea from former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu.
The former president stated that, after finishing his tenure, he will return to academia and the civil society and dedicate all his efforts to boost Romania’s academic and cultural prestige, because “it’s is an essential element for the role Romania could have in Europe and the globalized world.”
Although the Government and the Romanian Academy expressed doubts, most senators from all political parties as well as the Education Committee supported the establishment of the institute.
“The institute focuses on the study of and research in Levantine culture and civilization (the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus), the cradle of Abrahamic religions, as well as of sciences, arts, culture and democracy; protecting geological, biological, geographical and archeological areas that are representative for academic cultural heritage through cooperation between universities and local communities by extending to the region the UNESCO global geopark recipe; promoting dialogue between peoples in the Levantine historical space to create a culture of peace through dialogue between academia, religious leaders and the youth,” the bill says.
The institute is to cooperate with the Romanian Academy, inter-governmental organizations, Governmental institutions, universities, creative unions as well as civil society organizations and associations that focus on culture and civilization in the Levant.
The institute will focus on conducting studies in the country and abroad, on communicating and cooperating with other organizations and individuals, on editing, printing and publishing books, studies, articles, documentary collections; it will also organize conferences, meetings, sign agreements and come up with studies, positions and advise international and regional organizations.
“The political and security climate in the Levant is extremely complex and volatile. The nature of the threats, the organization of society, political culture and the manner in which the states in the region relate to the international issues require a deeper analysis, given that, most of the time, all these variables are perceived differently and in a distorted way,” the initiators said in motivating their bill.
The Senate approved the bill 111 to 4; the bill needs to be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decision maker in this case.