Home away from Home for Ex-Pat Romanian Students

Written by Zakiya Patel

Theodor Cosmin Onisii with other 2016 Honourees (second left)

Theodor Cosmin Onisii with other 2016 Honourees (second left)

An honouree of the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award, the Embassy of Romania was recognised for their support for the League for Romanian Students Abroad (LSRS) and the diaspora Moldovan community. Accepting the award on behalf of the embassy, Chargé d’Affaires Theodor Cosmin Onisii viewed the award as a great honour, one that will motivate him and other members of the Romanian community to continue their work with a renewed belief that it will lead to positive outcomes. As a long supporter of LSRS, Mr Onisii stressed the importance of diplomats engaging with public and citizenship diplomacy to successfully shape foreign policy. Through his introductory initiatives, he believes the mission has successfully contributed to Romania’s incredible progress in the last two decades.

Mr Onisii applauded the manner in which his country was able to reform its political and economic system after the collapse of the community regime and consolidated its place in Europe. The new generation of Romanians have taken full advantage of the new opportunities offered to them and its students can now be found in all corners of the world.

Established by students in Romania, a UK branch of LSRS was created in 2008 to work alongside the embassy and universities. The association has helped support over 9,000 nationals, creating an invaluable source of support and a sense of home for the Romanian student community. Mr Onisii describes the students as one of any country’s best assets, highlighting the importance of engaging with them and offering them whatever support they may require before returning home after graduation. As he says, “students are always fascinating to work with. Their enthusiasm, their curiosity, their continuous thirst for investigating, discovering and learning and not least for contributing is not only genuine, but also contagious.”

LSRS describes itself as “an open platform for dialogue and action for Romanian students and graduates as a means to contribute to Romania’s development” and in 2015, the organisation had several major events supported by the embassy, helping them to achieve its goals. Amongst these was an annual conference which helped Romanian students integrate into the UK and create a mentor-membership scheme that build connections between Romanians and professionals from finance or medicine.

As well as supporting its students, ‘solidarity’ is the main feature that binds together the joint initiative of LSRS, the Association of Moldovans in the UK and Hope and Homes for Children as it serves both the objective of helping those in need, as well as reinforcing the historical fraternity between the citizens of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The embassy has supported this aim and facilitated the engagement of football games with the Moldovan community and raised money for Moldovan children experiencing difficulties at home. In helping to combine these communities, the embassy of Romania has not only encouraged collaboration between the communities, but bridged the gap between a range of citizens and politicians.

Grassroot Diplomat looks forward to working with members of the Romanian embassy in further instigating community engagement initiatives that breaks barriers and misconceptions for the Romanian people.

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