Feb 24, 2009

Ambassador’s visit builds relationship

by Natalie Lozano

The Moldovan Ambassador to the United States Nicolae Chirtoaca ventured onto Liberty’s campus Feb. 17 to address government students and continue an international relationship that may lead to future student trips.

Chirtoaca lectured two government classes on topics that are familiar to him, including the difficulties of achieving peace in Eurasia and the process of democratizing a nation. He used his home country as an example, because of its location between the Ukraine and Romania and its recent move toward democracy.

The Ambassador’s expertise in these areas comes from his service in the Soviet Union’s army, his efforts in Moldova’s successful pursuit of its independence from Russia and his involvement in the implementation of democracy as the National Security Advisor to the President, according to the Helms School of Government (HSOG).

Chirtoaca was appointed Moldovan Ambassador to the United States in 2006.

“It was great to hear his view of the conflicts going on in Europe,” junior Nick Liberto said. “It is always good to learn international relations from someone who does it every day.”

With 28 political parties, democracy in Moldova plays out differently than in the U.S., although there are still only three or four primary parties, according to Chirtoaca. Still, the plethora of choices has an impact.

“We need stability, we need reforms,” he said. “This goes beyond political juncture ... it’s multi-partisan.”

Moldova has not yet been directly affected by the global economic crisis, although some of its citizens who are working abroad in Europe and sending money home have lost jobs, according to Chiratoaca.

The Ambassador’s trip also included a tour of the Law School and the HSOG, with the visit concluding with a luncheon honoring Chirtoaca with students, select faculty and staff.

The connection between the world’s most exciting university and the eastern European country about the size of Maryland began when Dr. Stephen Bowers was introduced to Chiratoaca nine years ago. Bowers was preparing to open a research office in Moldova. At the same time, Chirtoaca was working at an educational institute, according to Bowers.

The two men had not seen each other for eight years until October 2008, when Bowers took a small group of government students to visit the Moldovan embassy in Washington, D.C.

The purpose of the trip was to “meet and greet (and) just to discuss Moldova,” Liberto said.

“(His presentation) was just wonderful,” Bowers said. “So they were interested in having him come down here.”

A trip to Moldova is tentatively planned for this summer and will be available to students of any major, according to Bowers.

Bowers took students and faculty from his previous universities and says the trip covers a wide spectrum of Moldovan culture.

“We look at business, we look at politics, we look at history (and) we look at the food,” Bowers said. “The objective … was always to get to know people.”

For more information about the trip, email Bowers at srbowers2@liberty.edu.


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