Challenges and Projects in America’s Ethnic Culture: An Interview with Dr. Otilia Baraboi

Dr. Otilia Baraboi

Otilia Vieru Baraboi was born in 1976 in the city of Iaşi, Romania. She is a graduate of the universities of Iaşi, Romania (Faculty of Letters, BA, 2000), Geneva, Switzerland (Faculty of Letters, MA, 2004) and University of Washington in Seattle (MA, 2003; PhD, 2010).

Otilia Baraboi’s areas of expertise are French literature in Romania, linguistic ideology, bilingualism and diaspora studies. She is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the American-Romanian Cultural Society (ARCS) (2013).

Otilia Baraboi has been living and working as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

I met Mrs. Otilia Baraboi on November 16, 2018 at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC, during a gala-symposium on issues of politics, security, management and culture, an event sponsored by the ALIANȚA (The Alliance – The Friends of the Romanian-American Alliance) Foundation. During the event, Mrs. Otilia Baraboi was kind enough to give me a brief interview.

1. Mrs. Otilia Baraboi, you are the President of the American-Romanian Cultural Association (ARCS). Briefly present to readers how this association was born and what its goals are.

Our association was established in 2013 with the aim of promoting the Romanian culture, not only for the Romanian community, but also for the Americans who are interested in Romania.

2. What challenges has the association been facing and how do you try to overcome them?

First, we are an association based on voluntary work. It is very difficult to motivate the team to come to events, to be present at all our events throughout the year, because we have events in several sectors, we organize events in music, education and film festivals, which you have probably heard about. On average, we need at least twenty volunteers. And these people are busy, they have families, they have their own jobs. It is very difficult to motivate them to come and volunteer for the ARCS during their spare time. But I think that, because our mission is coherence, it is a well-articulated mission and it resonates deeply with the community of Romanians and Americans, in fact, I think that this has brought us together and will take us far together in the future years, too.

3. The last question. The association has been very active in promoting Romanian films in the United States. What other future projects does the association have?

Our association wants to adapt the educational programs to the new technologies. For this reason, we will create educational programs that integrate visual arts and film, as was the first ARCS summer camp this year at the University of Washington, in collaboration with the Control N Association and having as instructors the film director Iulia Rugină and actress Ioana Flora. We also want to create a method for teaching Romanian language for children of Romanian origin, an interactive and integrative method to be placed on projects, on film projects, on audio projects to create an anchorage in the current interests of the generation of Romanian-Americans.

4. Thank you very much.

Thank you.

 

NOTE – A version of the article was published in MEDIUM.

 

TIBERIU DIANU has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC and can be followed on MEDIUM.

 

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