Welcome Letter of the ARA Interim President

THE UNIVERSITY
OF TEXAS
AT ARLINGTON

Dept. of Mathematics
Box 19408
411 S. Nedderman Dr.
Arlington, TX 76019-0408

T817.272.3261
F817.272.5802
http://www.uta.edut/math

February 6, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

This message is addressed, primarily, to the members and former members of ARA. It is also addressed to the intellectuals with creative activities (such as scientific-all branches, literary publications, but also to those working in humanities or social sciences.

It is necessary to look distinctly at the first period, from 1975 to approximately 2000, and to the second period, from 2000 to present. This distinction is necessary, because the first period was a positive one, during which the main directions of activity have been crystalized, while the second period is, and continues to be a period of marked decline, a renounce to the policies endorsed during the first period. This fact is particularly visible in regard to the publications, the only highly qualified mean to show the real presence of the ARA in the academic World.

The last ARA Bylaws posted on the prior ARA site, not adopted in September 2016 due to a failure in the voting process and intentional miscalculation of the vote by the former Executive Committee (ExC) shows almost the total annihilation of the main role of an Academy, which is to impart the results of the members and collaborators, to the academic communities around the World. This aim was attained only during the first period of formation and activity of ARA, while it is forgotten in the second period. It looks like the authors propose a commercial “Corporation”, which may be, according to rules in the California guide for the non-profit organizations. But they have nothing to do with the rules that must be at the foundation of an Academy. The term Corporation is not in use for Academy. The Guide is providing the rules for any nonprofit association registered in California and ours has been, from the year 1975, registered as an Academy. An Academy must be an institution producing new knowledge and wisdom, to be imparted in the academia, around the World. The method to be used is based on publications (nowadays including the “online publications”). Otherwise, the Academy is a non-existing body and mind. Conferences, congresses, public debates and likely other forms of communication have only a very limited influence. During the period 1979-2009, I have attended more than 20 ARA Congresses, in the US, Canada, Romania, Belgium and Germany. In all these congresses we had, besides the presentation made in various sections (sometimes of the order of hundreds), art exhibitions, music recitals special lectures, etc. As long as the old saying “Verba volant, scripta manent” will be in force, and it still is, we need to consider the books and periodicals as the main method to impart our knowledge. The war between the Galaxies of Guttenberg and the Internet is still in force. ARA books and periodicals must penetrate in as many university libraries as possible. The case with Libertas Mathematica is convincing. I have seen the journal, from some 30 years ago, on the shelves of Harvard University library and in many other places such as British Library in London, affiliated to the British Museum.

It is clear that only the publications make an Academy known in the international academic communities, including the universities, while their absence leads in short time to their entrance in obscurity and uselessness. The practice established in ARA during the first period of existence, have known three categories of publications: the first was the Book Series, inaugurated by the founder of ARA, Monsenior Barlea and continued with many other titles authored by N. Timiras (Second ARA President), Vlad Georgescu (historian, long time affiliated with Radio Free Europe), also published a book about Romania, impossible to appear in our country at that time (when our history was grossly distorted). In the Book Series, about 20 titles have been published during the first period (under ARA’s name). Most of these books have been acquired by libraries and individuals and helped ARA produce other titles. The Book Series has been successful and we are indebted to the Family MANEA-MANOLIU, who has deployed constant and highly qualified efforts, without any compensation from ARA. In the first period examined, no salaries have been paid, nor travel expenses, to the presidents of ARA. We all understood that this is an honorable duty.

Unfortunately, during the second period, under presidencies of Prof. Ion Paraschivoiu and Dr. Ruxandra Vidu, the practices established during the first 20 years of the Academy have been gravely degenerated and the results are rather modest, if not inappropriate for an institution which tries to convince people that it is an Academy. This statement is true, both qualitatively and quantitatively. First, from qualitatively point of view, if one looks at the volumes issued under the generic Proceedings, despite the fact that some of them are containing papers with reasonable good topics, such volumes contain contributions of scientific or academic level, sometimes of the order of tens disciplines. Such volumes are in the category of unclassifiable items and are rejected by the academic libraries. Their fate is to remain publications of internal use, fact which is in contradiction with the role of academic publications, I have in my office such volumes printed for the congresses of ARA in Targoviste (1997), Boston (2008) and the Congress 2003. All these volumes look good from outside and the way they appear show the capability to produce acceptable publications. But being substandard in regard to the general requirements of the academic publications they will not reach the serious academic libraries. They concentrate work and wisdom, but will not make it on the shelves. If we look at the quantitative aspect, we realize that the main preoccupation of the leaders of ARA during the second period has been directed towards other aspects of ARA’s life and activity, neglecting to make ARA known in the academic world. Producing just palliatives‌ instead of real values, cannot help at all to increase the visibility and prestige of ARA.

The family Manoliu-Manea has been charged with the second category of ARA publications. This category started with ARA foundation, has issued mostly information regarding the activity of the members at the very beginning of the institution. It is the ARA Journal, from which, 16 volumes have been edited and printed. These volumes have known a successful reception by the interested institutions and persons and I remember, since in the second period, they have been neglected to disappearance, many libraries with subscription to Libertas Mathematica, asking me where the ARA Journal is. Since Ion Manea passed away in 1995, in 1996 I asked Mr. Cristian Petru Balan, a member of the Union of Romanian writers and of ARA to take in charge the publication of ARA Journal. The Vice President of ARA at that time, Dr. Ladis Kristof, has also helped the editing of two volumes, each double, for the years 1996-1999. The volumes have been printed in reasonable good conditions, but they were the last appeared satisfying the standard requests. Unfortunately, after these volumes, issued in acceptable conditions, the publishing of the ARA Journal has known a serious down trend. All disciplines have been mixed up, which led to the refusal by academic libraries. Moreover, this feature of the volumes made impossible the classification. This fact is marking another deficiency and shows that the volumes are not penetrating at a right place (to be used!). They should be considered for internal use only, which again is incompatible with academic publication.

The last category is containing, so far, only the journal: Libertas Mathematica. I took the task of creating a Mathematical Journal for ARA on occasion of my admission in the ARA during the ARA Congress 1979, organized at the University in Long Branch, NY. Prof. Timiras (the great grandson of Ion Creanga), then ARA President, asked the General Assembly (GA) support. They agreed with my proposal to start a new Mathematical Journal for ARA. The existing ARA Journal has been dedicated to other fields than Mathematics. Announcing the GA to approve, the President made the remark that no financial support will be provided. I accepted the condition and got help with the registration of the publication from Miron Butariu, at that time, the secretary treasurer. Dr. Statescu from Los Angeles was the Secretary of the Congress and included in the minute the unanimous result of the vote. The journal Libertas Mathematica is now at the 36-th volume, without any interruption in 36 years. Prof. Vasile Staicu from University of Aveiro, Portugal, is now the Editor in Chief after 31 years of publication of the journal in the US. The way we finance the Libertas Mathematica is based on using local resources and, in my case, voluntary help from my Ph.D. students. They helped me without special intervention, being convinced that they are learning something for their career. Two of them are my coauthors of a book published last year at Wiley, N.Y. If it has been a relatively difficult job to issue the Libertas Mathematica, then Dr. Ion Manea, the husband of Dr. Maria Manoliu-Manea, told me the following sentence: “With Libertas Mathematica, you have achieved your American Dream”. It has been said nicely by a Journalist with interest in Economics. For me, it has been one of the most rewarding experiment in my career, now extending on exactly seven decades.

Since the ARA has markedly declined during the second period of its existence, it is the time to ask ARA, ourselves, whether we can go forward with the situation. Personally, after 37 years of ARA membership, during which period I have served on the ExC from 1982 to 1995 and as President from 1995 until 1998 (the real cause for retiring being my diagnosis with cancer), besides taking alone the work of publishing Libertas Mathematica, until 2011 (when I was 83 years old), I’ve lost any hope that ARA is on the way of recovery. It is enough to read the Bylaws on the prior site of the Academy (which Academy?), to realize that we are in crisis. In fact this Bylaws, although posted, was not adopted, as the vote of the 2/3 ARA membership with voting rights required by the Bylaws amended in 2004, valid at the voting time and now, was not achieved.

What have done the last two presidents of ARA during their terms in office? I am sure that most of you know the situation. But I can mention here that they used the Executive Committee or may be even the GA to adopt decisions that constitute a real shame for ARA. I have in mind, first, the case of Prof. Baranescu, eliminated during the presidency of Prof. Ion Paraschivoiu. Professor Baranescu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, actually the only member of ARA, who is also a member of a national Academy of the US. Before, there has been in a similar situation George Emil Palade, who has been a member of the National Academy of Science of the US. Currently, nobody from ARA is a member of a National Academy of the US. She did not bring any harm to the ARA. On the contrary, she served on the BOD elected at the Congress in Sibiu (2009), and tried, but could not carry out the whole work to improve the status of the ARA in 2012. The reason was that, among the BOD of ARA at that time, Dr. Ion Cepoi and Acad. Balaban could not continue the work with me and Prof. Baranescu, for medical reasons. So, the ARA REVIVAL has to be achieved from now on. Otherwise we get in permanent oblivion. With the very few publications of academic substandard, appeared after 2000, we cannot hope to any progress. As mentioned above, the last two Presidents have made recourse to some administrative measures that did not aim at improving the ARA as an academic institution: Prof. Paraschivoiu eliminated from the Academy Dr. Marian Simion also, a person with the highest qualifications (Doctor in Divinity from GB), who served as Treasurer for a number of years. The main reason was that he refused giving him money from ARA funds, being simply aware of the fact that he has paid already too much and will not be able to cover the future expenses. It is true that Dr. Simion has financed with ARA money the publication of his Doctoral thesis, but this one has been initially approved to be included in the ARA Book Series and then removed. One of the best titles that could have adorned the very poor list, in this category. Dr. Vidu has, at her turn, tried to eliminate, without authority, per the section 5210 of the California Nonprofit Corporation California Law, from different executive positions and from ARA, Dr. Oana Leonte, an active member of the ARA BOD, who was standing-up for ARA REVIVAL as part of the elected ARA BOD mission and was speaking out on BOD behalf to ARA ExC and ARA Membership. Dr. Oana Leonte is a valuable ARA member and has good qualifications, including the Award of the Romanian Academy (for research), besides other awards for developing and implementing new technologies in industry in both, Romania and USA. Dr. Vidu has also tried to eliminate, without authority, Dr. Dinu Leonte, the ARA treasurer, for the same reason as in case of Dr. Marian Simion, only to became in December 2015 the only authorized signer and have access to the ARA Bank accounts, without the assistance of an independent treasurer, based on a false, cooked minute 20150504  Resolution (as not an unanimous “vote” or any vote was counted and Dr. Dinu Leonte was opposing this proposition, when he was told about, after he was more likely intentionally cut for approx 5-10 min, by Dr. R. Vidu from the Skype meeting, as shown in the full meeting minute). Moreover, Dr. Vidu has lost in court the case she opened on false accusations against Dr. Dinu Leonte, the ARA Treasurer. She might be also in a self-dealing conflict of interest, as she withdrew in 2016 from the ARA Bank accounts, without providing to the elected ARA Treasurer, Dr. D. Leonte, the appropriate invoices for e.g. $3,200.00 undocumented expenses, $100 for Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) and $40 for a restaurant in Sacramento. This will add to the repeated requests, refused by the Treasurer (2014-2015) as inappropriate reimbursement on receipts (e.g. flight tickets for two trips in Romania, meeting with 18 Romanians there at $90 per diem/person), not relevant for ARA activity, up to $3600/year, approx. 90% of ARA yearly income. Another example of preoccupation of ARA leaders, while the real problems of ARA are neglected for years in a row.

The ARA BOD engaged ad-hoc in the ARA REVIVAL mission, to try returning ARA at the status it was conceived by the founders. That was the real kind of institution, which can be called an Academy and not what results from a not legally adopted Bylaws in circulation. Why after 40 years of existence would ARA transgress from a voting rights society, specific to the academic ones, to a self-perpetuating board based organization, giving a total power control to a group of 5-7 persons, the only ones with voting rights, self-nominating their self, without election as Board of Directors (see here), usurping the rights of the elected Board of Directors, in an attempt to hijack ARA from its members, eliminating the General Assembly power and legalizing such the already practiced abuse of power, up to e.g. permitting only to directors and their families to benefit by the educational or charitable program from ARA funds under Conflict of Interest Section and other?

If the ARA wants to continue with the Bylaws just proposed, not legally adopted, there is no hope to make any progress on the road traced by its founders. If the project that has been posted is actually adopted, this fact will constitute a gesture of disrespect towards the founders and will certainly generate a loss of members. The first group of retired persons from ARA, due to last two presidents’ governance, includes Prof. Peter Gross, a former ARA Secretary General during the terms of Prof Maria Manoliu Manea and Constantin Corduneanu (16 years). He is now the Chairman of the Department of Communications at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and very active; Nick Pavel, professor emeritus at the Ohio University in Athens, who is on the editorial board of 7-8 International Mathematical Journals; Prof. Dr. Florin Ionescu, from Konstanz, Germany, the Editor-inChief of the ARA Journal (2000-2002), followed by Prof. Monica Grecu, ARA Congress Chairmen at Reno University; Prof. Dr. Ioan David, former Gen. Secretary (2009-2013); Prof. Dr. Ion Talpasanu, the Chairman of the ARA-32nd Congress in Boston, USA; Dr. Adrian Stoica, NASA Scientist at JPL Labs, the Chairman of ARA-38 Congress in Pasadena, USA, and several many others colleagues, who stopped paying their membership or others who are announcing their resignation.

The elected ARA BOD (tenure 2013-2017) is proposing to the current members and to those excluded abusively in the past, as well as to the intellectuals that want to join and think they are interested in serving the 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, to be part for the ARA REVIVAL success.

Those who think they are doing the right thing staying under the self-nominated governance of Ruxandra Vidu under the Bylaws they are circulating, legally non-adopted, will continue in an 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.

Regarding the recent change in leadership in the executive committee, the elected Board of Directors decided new leadership was required, due to several instances of abuse of power and process, as well as to preserve the assets of ARAs (see here).  If any of you want to better understand the details of this change, you may contact me directly.

The current ARA leadership under my interim presidency will be in place until a new ARA leadership will be elected at the General Assembly this summer at ARA-41 held at Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania, July 26-29, 2017.

There is only one American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences organization, and this is the only Congress officially and legally organized this year under its name.

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 sending articles, session and round-table proposals to the ARA-41 Congress in Targoviste. This way you will be promoting the vision for a newly revived Academy, which will continue to belong to the academic world, as ARA did for more than 20 years from its inception.

 

Sincerely,

Constantin Corduneanu
Emeritus Professor of Mathematics
Titular Member of Romanian Academy
ARA Interim President
E-mail:
Phone: 817-468-2270