Thursday, August 30, 2007

How Much Moldovans Love Their Country

Moldova’s Independence Day – 27th of August – serves an occasion for Moldovans to assess their level of patriotism and define their attitude towards their country of citizenship. A couple of local TV stations conducted random interviews with Moldovans, and the general conclusion was that too many people had a wrong idea or no idea at all about this important holiday. After sixteen years of independence that is self-determination, self-governance, sovereignty, irresponsible mistakes and lesson learned, political turnarounds, used and missed opportunities, all types of mostly uncompleted reforms, ambiguous international participation, a great deal of people don’t really care about being citizens of Moldova.

Politicians, journalists, historians, analysts – the so-called local intellectual elite – all offered various explanations to this puzzling attitude. Some think Moldovans haven’t completed their national identity quest, others factor in the massive disappointment of Moldovans with their state and political elite, struggling for survival in poverty and injustice, yet others think Moldova as a country – too small, too vulnerable, and isolated – can inspire nothing but skepticism and disrespect.

These and many other arguments are probably true. However, one fact is truer than others: Generally, Moldovans are not patriots. Few Moldovan have a genuine sense of public good, communal solidarity and a shared vision on the future of their country. Moldovans’ love for their country is limited to their families and closest friends, the house(s) and trees and vegetables in their gardens. When a Moldovan enters the public domain and starts making decisions that affect people outside close circles, this is when this shortage of patriotism is accutely felt.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Action by and for Youth with Disabilities

An unusual event was launched today in Chisinau: Amprente Art Exhibition , which provides young people with disabilities the opportunity to display and sell their works of art and handicraft. This event is part of a broader Disability with Ability Campaign supported with American and Norvegian funds.

Everyone who is interested in enjoying the creativity of Moldovan youth, and seeing the world from a different artistic perspective, you are welcome to visit this exhibition at the National Archeology and History Museum of Moldova on 20-26 August everyday except Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Greece: A Model Tourist Destination

Greece was the destination of my vacation this summer. Still overwhelmed with the poetic beauty of the Cycladic Islands, I'd like to share my favorite pictures that will talk for themselves.

Santorini island

Colorful boats

Oia at dusk

World-famous sunsets

Donkeys still around

For more pictures, please see this slideshow

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How Do Non-Profits Contribute to Moldova’s European Integration?

Although the biggest role in the implementation of EU-Moldova Action Plan is reserved for the Government, Parliament and Judiciary of Moldova, there is still a lot that non-profit organizations could do to help bring Moldovan society closer to European values, practices and standards. What could and should be done is up to the non-profits to figure out. For now, I will talk about an innovative initiative in this area – the Pro-Europa Centers in Balti and Cahul towns.

The Pro-Europa Center in Balti is run by Regional Center Contact, and the one in Cahul is run by Association Dialogue. The Pro-Europa Centers provide plentiful of EU-related information and training services to various social groups in their regions. Through activities such as workshops, study visits, public presentations and debates, guest speakers and public campaigns, Pro-Europa Centers encourage the non-profit sector, academic and professional communities, and the private sector to get informed and educated about EU affairs, thus enabling them to apply critical judgment regarding the governmental policies and reforms in this area. It is noteworthy that due to the efforts of Pro-Europa Centers, 2007 was the first year when Europe Day was ever celebrated in Moldova.

The Pro-Europa Centers will continue their activities in the following year. Currently, these Centers are being funded entirely by international donors. I hope this support will continue, and Moldovan Government will decide to contribute as well, given that European integration is officially a top priority on its agenda.