Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bringing American Music to Moldova: What Does it Take?

Leading a busy professional lifestyle, I rarely get a chance to attend cultural events. Last night was an exception. The National Philharmonic of Moldova presented a wonderful concert of American music performed by the Moldovan Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by a distinguished American conductor, Charles Ansbacher of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Beside enjoying a well-selected repertoire, which included such world-renowned pieces like Aaron Copland’s Outdoors Overture, Quiet City, Lincoln Portrait, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings , and Richard Rodgers' Oklahoma and Sound of Music, it was truly exciting to experience this successful American-Moldovan musical project.

Beside providing funding for this event, the US Government has physically participated in the concert: the US Ambassador in Moldova performed a highly significant and emotional part of Lincoln Portrait: he recited excerpts from the famous public speeches and addresses of Abraham Lincoln - the most beloved and devoted to democratic values American president. Have a look at that text because those excerpts are very relevant for any country that strives to become a true democracy. I will quote the most relevant part for Moldova:

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

Referring to a previous discussion (on this and other blogs) on what the Moldovan Government could do to enhance its positive image and perception in the world, I think this is a great example of how to organize and conduct a bi-lateral cultural event.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Industrial Parks: Public vs. Private Management

Industrial parks are back in fashion. A draft law on industrial parks was prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of Moldova. An industrial park is an economic development tool, similar to free economic zones, five of which are already functioning in Moldova. The main difference is that an industrial park is designed to encourage and facilitate manufacturing activities. So far, so good. However, the management of the industrial park – a key function determining whether the park will achieve its objectives – will be carried out by a public entity. The park, endowed with public property and facilities, is to be managed by a state administrator’s office appointed and financed by the central government. The private sector is to be involved exclusively as rent-paying, service-consumers and industrial manufacturing residents.

I wonder what considerations justify this level of public sector involvement in the management of future industrial parks in Moldova? Isn’t it an already well-known fact that private companies are more efficient managers than the public sector? In my view, existence of a state administrator reporting to the central government is an open invitation to corruption and traffic of influence. The role of the Moldovan state in the management of industrial parks should be limited to developing and enforcing clear-cut regulations on industrial park management and operation. The rest should be the job of the private companies, audit companies, media, and, if needed, courts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Moldova - Romania: Controversial Issue Open for Debate

Although I am very well aware that the previous poll is not the ideal way of depicting the public’s opinion on a certain issue, nevertheless the majority of those who voted think that Romania is not interfering into Moldovan internal affairs as the Moldovan government claims.

However, accurate information (which should be the basis for any rational decision and opinion) on this issue is scarce, which fully justifies the “don’t know” option of the poll. Only after doing some research on this issue and watching the last night edition of the PROTV Chisinau program In PROfunzime, did I conclude that, most likely Romania is just trying to help Moldovan citizens gain better access to EU, and is not threatening the country’s sovereignty.

As Vladimir Socor put it, “the dispute has escalated beyond issues of history and national identity, now seemingly revolving around Moldova’s continuation as a state.” The issue, a rather important one, is on the table, and open for debate in which I invite you all to participate.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Is Romania Interfering?

The latest official declaration of the Moldovan government regarding Romania's alleged interference with the country's internal affairs took many people by suprise, including myself. It can be accessed in Romanian here and in English here and here. This poll intends to determine how many people share this official opinion.

Later addition: For those interested in this issue, have a look at this article by Vladimir Socor of Jamestown Foundation, which sheds more light and provides a new perspective.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Moldovan Traditions Celebrated in the US

The Moldovan diaspora in the USA celebrated a traditional Moldovan holiday - Martisor. Martisor is the celebration of beginning of spring, life and love in Moldova. Moldovans give each other red-and-white martisors, and wear them close to their hearts throughout March.

This celebration was organized by the Moldovans' Community in DC, Moldovan Embassy in the US with the support of several companies and organizations established by and/or run by Moldovans such as the Moldova Foundation, Moldova House, BIP Moldova, etc. It included a fashion show by designer Valentina Vidrascu, photography contest, Moldovan traditional food contest and lots of music. Around 200 people, mostly Moldovans from Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, attended this event. With Evghenia Berzan's permission, here are some pictures from this event.

It would be nice to hear from people that contributed to the organization of and/or participated in this unique event of the Moldovan diaspora in the US.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Moldovan Organizations: Promoters of Change?

According to the previous poll results, mentality and indifference of Moldovans are the major barriers in the way of the country’s development. Both have to do with the people’s attitude. How can these counter-productive attitudes be changed?

In my view, this change should start and last in institutions and organizations of all types: private, governmental and non-governmental. The reason why organizations are created is to allow people to join their efforts in achievement of a particular mission and objectives. Organizations are more powerful, effective efficient than individuals. Organizations, just like families, but at a different level, represent the foundation of a society. Organizations can tell you a lot about the society that nurtures them.

Do Moldovan organizations provide an appropriate ground for advancing change and reform? According to my own observation, not yet. People still perceive organizations merely as a means for achieving their own personal agendas, which, at the very first impression, does not seem to be a problem. However, to create a sustainable and long-lasting organization, the founders and managers of organizations need to have a vision which can transcend personal gains and interests. Once created, the organization needs to be allowed to develop by achieving successful results, incorporating innovative ideas and bringing about change. Very few organizations in Moldova have a vision powerful enough to attract like-minded people. Actually, I find it difficult to name even a couple. First that come to my mind are private corporations like Voxtel, Moldcell, SunCommunications, but I am not sure about them since I lack an insider’s view. If you can think of such an organization in Moldova, I’d appreciate your input.