March 31, 2019
Los Angeles California
I am honored to be the new ARA Interim President. I am following the two-year ARA Interim Presidency of Acad. Prof. Constantin Corduneanu who, unfortunately, passed away in December 2018. I intend to follow on his steps and try to implement many of the achievements he believed in and dreamed about: bring back members of high intellectual capacity who either left ARA or were removed from it; attract new members who distinguished themselves in their profession, and come up with publications of academic level which will be regarded as valuable by Universities and the Scholar Research community.
Like Prof. Corduneanu, I have been a member of ARA for dozens of years; I attended numerous ARA Congresses; I organized and chaired two of them (in 1992 in Northridge, greater Los Angeles, California, and in 2018, in Iasi, Romania). I strongly believe in fair and correct leadership and appreciate the hard volunteer work of the dedicated ARA members.
Our American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences (ARA), which has almost forty-five years of existence, has been created by a few enthusiastic intellectuals of Romanian roots, or scholars interested in the Romanian cultural assets. Their initial motivation was to promote on American soil our millennial treasures and to pass to future generations our American-Romanian legacy, preserving an unequivocal creed for truth, justice, ethical, and moral values. Then ARA expanded and had members from around the world. The initial values were dearly kept by the Founders of ARA and their followers for many years. Unfortunately, this positive trend did not continue in the last years.
ARA has two very distinct periods: one from 1975 to approximately 2000 (in which books, proceedings, and journals of high quality, which made it on the university and other well-known libraries’ shelves), and a second period, from 2000 to 2017 (characterized by a lack of valuable ARA publications). In the first period ARA followed the bylaws and had a true, democratic voting systems involving the entire membership. The leaders of ARA were volunteers, working for the enhancement of the organization, and not seeking any material benefit. The elected officers and active, devoted members to ARA were not appointed, pushed around, and dismissed at the whim of a president. In this period ARA was able to retain a significant number of high intellectual quality members, counted by hundreds (attracting by their example new high-quality members), and the annual Congresses were attended by a large number of attendees (300-400 or more).
Unfortunately, under the last two presidencies (1998-2016), all the good practices established during the first 20 years of the Academy have been gravely degenerated and the results are rather modest, and certainly not appropriate for an institution which tries to convince people that it is an Academy. The ARA leadership activity, promoted at the eve of the new millennium, was boldly marked by a decline of quality publications, and a profound lack of democracy. In this situation, many high quality intellectuals resigned, and are no longer willing to enter ARA (see full text).
Based on several instances of abuse of power and process which were observed, the ARA elected Board of Directors (BOD) has asserted its proper managerial and oversight role pursuant to California Corporations Code 5210, and appointed an Interim Leadership Executive Committee, until their successors will be duly elected and qualified by due membership elections. The previous leadership (the former ARA President, Ruxandra Vidu, and the ARA Executive Committee) were dismissed in September 2016. The elected ARA Board of Directors issued resolutions for an ARA REVIVAL endeavor to preserve the assets of ARA, and whose mission is to bring ARA back to its high-academic standards, to a decent and correct leadership, to its status as conceived by its founders. Like Prof. Corduneanu, I am referring to the ARA cause so clearly stipulated in the First Period set of Bylaws, including the one amended in 2004, the only one in force now, which are really emphasizing the role of the American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences as an ACADEMY.
Of course, ARA played a vital role for the Romanians living abroad before 1989 when those in Romania and Moldova could not travel outside the communist wall, and those living in exile could not visit their country of origin. This might be one explanation for the large number of participants at ARA Congresses in the first period. But the last conference in Iasi organized by the Interim Leadership proved that number of participants can be raised (there were 200 attendees). Travel is more difficult and more expensive at present, but digital communication makes it possible to participate at an ARA Congress from far away. My plan is to bring ARA to the democratic environment and high academic level the way its founders conceived it to be, but also bring it into the 21st century. Bringing participants on Skype to the ARA Congress, offering a platform of digital communication about research opportunities in between conferences, encouraging young researchers to present and participate at poster and paper competitions. Last year at ARA 42, Iasi, there were 6 long distance participants on Skype. There is a large number of Romanian young scholars living and working abroad who could be attracted as members, and whose contribution will form the basis for ARA to survive in the future.
The ARA Interim Leadership has proved by the two recently organized congresses (Sinaia, 2017, and Iasi 2018) that a high-level of sharing of knowledge can take place, in a dynamic, friendly, academic atmosphere. The 34.1 and 35.2 issues of ARA Journal (new series), edited by Dr. Oana Leonte are of high quality and several known personalities published in them. The self-financed Libertas Mathematica journal, voluntarily edited by Professor Corduneanu for 31 years at University of Texas at Arlington, under the ARA umbrella continued from 2012 to be published by Prof, Vasile Staicu at University of Aveiro (Portugal). (see http://system.lm-ns.org/index.php/lm/issue/archive and http://system.lm-ns.org/index.php/lm-ns/issue/archive)
All the current members, and those abusively excluded in the past, as well as the intellectuals that want to join and think they are interested in serving the cause and following the mission of ARA as pursued by the Interim Leadership ARA in the spirit of that of the ARA Founders are invited to join in this endeavor. Those who think they are doing the right thing giving up their voting rights and staying under a self-nominating governance of a self-perpetuating board of 5-7 people, which are retaining only for themselves the voting rights, under the Bylaws they are circulating, legally non-adopted, will continue in a different organization which, according to us, is totally compromised as an ACADEMY.
We invite all of you to stay within ARA and contribute to recover its academic status.
There is only one American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences organization, and this is the only one which officially and legally organized ARA Congresses the last two years (2017, Sinaia and 2018, Iasi).
I know many of you stayed aside because of the conflict created by the former leadership of ARA. However, think that to achieve a goal, one has to actively participate. Become members, pay your dues, and see you at ARA 43, where we will have elections for the new leadership to replace the interim Executive Committee.
I encourage all of you to renew your commitment and contribution to ARA by paying on-line or sending your annual membership fee to the elected ARA Treasurer, Dr. Dinu Leonte, and to send articles, session and round-table proposals to the ARA-43 Congress (soon to be announced) and papers to ARA Journal No. 36, both Sections, Arts & Humanities and Science & Engineering. This way you will be promoting the vision for a newly revived Academy, which will continue to belong to its members and to the academic world, as ARA did for more than 20 years from its inception.
ARA Interim President
Professor of Engineering
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8212
Phone: +1 (818) 512-3089