On 9 March 2014, the Ambassador of Romania to London visited the University of York at the invitation of the York Romanian Society (YRS) and met, on this occasion, the members of the society and several executive representatives of the university – Dr Jane Grenville, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor and Ms Hilary Layton, Director of Internationalisation.
The event marked three years since the establishment of the YRS and represented the Ambassador’s second visit to the University of York, the first one taking place on the 28th of April, 2012, when HE Dr Ion Jinga participated in the “Students or Immigrants?” conference, the first national event organized by the York Romanian Society.
In addressing the audience, the Ambassador of Romania noted that, during the past two years, the YRS has been one of the most active and professional Romanian students’ organizations in the United Kingdom and represented a model for other such associations. In this context, the society’s representative performance during the recent edition of the Conference of Romanian Students, Professors and Researchers in the United Kingdom was evoked. The Ambassador highlighted his appreciation to the University of York’s emphasis on the development of student activities on-campus as an element which encouraged the evolution of the Romanian Society to the level it reached at present. Furthermore, Dr. JInga acknowledged the support of the University of York given to the Romanian students which were affected by the suspension of tuition fee loans.
The Ambassador of Romania pointed-out that Romanian students at York, along with the entire Romanian student community in the United Kingdom, represent one of Romania’s greatest assets, not least given their exemplary academic performance – a constantly appreciated feature by all British universities. As such, each Romanian student represents an Ambassador of Romania on a daily basis, having personal behaviour, academic performance and social inclusion as key instruments in the promotion of the image of their country. His Excellency also mentioned that the entire Romanian community in UK has the potential to make its opinions heard within the context of the upcoming European elections. As an overall young, active and educated community, Romanians in the United Kingdom have the chance to have their opinions accounted for by voting either for Romanian candidates, at polling stations set up by the Romanian authorities, or by registering locally and voting for the British candidates to the European Parliament. Through exercising their voting rights, the Romanian community can be accounted for as a valid and relevant actor within the British political environment.
Dr Jane Grenville emphasized York’s collegial system as a fundamental pillar of the university’s overall approach to the educational experience, having the integration between the leisure and academic features of student life as a defining element. Dr Grenville appreciated the performance of the YRS as exemplary among York’s student associations and indispensable for the process of creating long term relationships among students of different nationalities living and studying at the University of York. The Deputy-Vice-Chancellor also brought to the audience’s attention the potential for collaboration between the British and Romanian academic environments within the ‘Horizon 2020’ European project, potential which the YRS and similar organizations can bring a fundamental contribution to, given their membership and objectives.
Ioan Polenciuc, PhD candidate in Physics at the University of York and the Chair of the York Romanian Society thanked the Romanian Ambassador for his presence on such a special occasion for the Romanian students at York and emphasised the appreciation of the Romanian Society for the support given by the Ambassador to the Romanian community in the United Kingdom. Reiterating some of the YRS’s accomplishments in its three years of existence, he emphasized the fact that the Embassy of Romania remains the York Romanian Society’s most important partner. The three Ambassador’s Diplomas held by YRS officers and the Romanian Ambassador’s acceptance of the title of Honorary President of the York Romanian Society in April 2012 stand, in the view of the YRS members, as both evidence of the support given by the Embassy to Romanian student organizations in Britain and of the willingness and ability of the YRS to play a role within the Romanian students’ associative environment in the UK in a mature and professional manner as part of the process of promotion of the image and interests of Romania in the United Kingdom.