Romanian Cultural Institute

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Romanian Cultural Institute
Founded1992; 27 years ago (1992)
FounderGovernment of Romania
TypeCultural institution
Area served
ProductRomania cultural education
SubsidiariesCenter for Transylvanian Studies

The Romanian Cultural Institute (Romanian: Institutul Cultural Român, abbreviation: ICR) is a state-funded institution that promotes Romanian culture and civilization in Romania and abroad. The ICR was formerly set up through reorganization of the Romanian Cultural Foundation and Romanian Cultural Publishing Foundation.

A priority for ICR is to look in on Romanian speaking communities in neighboring countries. From 1992, ICR is organising summer courses for improving language skills of personnel that teach Romanian in their respective countries.

A subsidiary of ICR in Cluj-Napoca, The Center for Transylvanian Studies, concentrates its activity on studying Transylvanian issues.

International centers[edit]

The Romanian Cultural Institute has branches in 18 major cities outside Romania:

Governance and political control[edit]

Until mid-2012 the ICR was under the authority of the Romanian president who served as honorary president of ICR. In May 2012 Victor Ponta, a member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and a political opponent of Romanian President and ICR honorary president Traian Băsescu, became Prime Minister and immediately moved to suspend and remove Băsescu from office through an impeachment process.[2][3][4] In June 2012 the newly elected government under Prime Minister Ponta moved to transfer control of ICR and its resources from the Office of the President to the Romanian Senate and announced that the ICR's budget would be cut by 3.1 million euros, more than a third of its 2012 budget.[5][6] On August 1, 2012, ICR President Horia-Roman Patapievici, the two ICR vice presidents and the ICR managing team resigned to protest the transfer of power, the announced budget cuts, and what they considered the politicization of Romanian culture.[7]

Politicized incidents[edit]

Over the years, the Institute has been involved in a number of incidents that have been seen by some individuals in Romania and within the Romanian diaspora as controversial.

One such incident arose in July 2008 at the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York City after one of the local office's exhibits was criticized by a writer for a Romanian-language publication of diaspora Romanians, New York Magazin. Entitled Freedom for Lazy People, the exhibit showcased works by three well-known Romanian street artists.[8] At issue were a few small figures scattered among the exhibit's various displays. Among a large number of street-art objects on one display table was a palm-sized toy pony with a small swastika stamped on its rear.[9] While this small figurine was the only object in the entire collection that had any such reference, and the exhibitors explained that the meaning of the figures was ironical, the writer for the Romanian-language publication labelled the entire ICR-sponsored exhibit as populated by "sinister figures", obscene and anti-semitic;[10] the New York Police Department, which had been called to investigate the so-called "anti-semitism", dismissed the issue as a "false alarm" and having no merit.[11] However, the issue was then taken up by online tabloids and politicians in Romania critical of the ICR leadership;[12] the president of the Romanian Senate, Nicolae Văcăroiu, a member of the opposition PSD party who had lost his previous position to Traian Băsescu, the honorary president of the ICR, asked the Culture Commission of the Senate to investigate this issue.[13]

Supporters of the exhibition contended that the "controversy" was essentially a non-issue contrived and exploited by critics of the Institute who were attempting to discredit the Institute's leadership and the Romanian president, they pointed out that such artistic expressions were common in the United States and the international community and that the artists' explanations of the meanings of the exhibits were largely ignored by the Romanian politicians, who they claimed were merely exploiting an opportunity to criticize the Institute and its leadership.[14]

About the same time, the Romanian–German writer Herta Müller published in Frankfurter Rundschau an open letter in which she criticized the initiative of the ICR's Berlin office to organize a summer school in collaboration with two people who were formerly Securitate informers: Sorin Antohi and Andrei Corbea-Hoişie.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brindusa Armanca — SSRC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  2. ^ (in Romanian) "Traian Băsescu a fost suspendat. Antonescu le cere românilor şi instituţiilor să-şi desfăşoare activitatea normal" ("Traian Băsescu Suspended. Antonescu Asks Romanians and Institutions to Undertake Normal Activity"), Adevărul, 6 July 2012; accessed 5 August 2012
  3. ^ (in Romanian) "Ponta: Referendum conform CCR. Jumătate din populaţie trebuie să meargă la vot pentru ca referendumul să fie valid" ("Ponta: Referendum According to Constitutional Court. Half the People Must Vote for Referendum to be Valid"), Evenimentul Zilei, 12 July 2012; accessed 5 August 2012
  4. ^ (in Romanian) Mariana Bechir, "Primele declaraţii ale lui Victor Ponta după invalidarea referendumului" ("Victor Ponta's First Declarations after Referendum Is Invalidated"), Adevărul, 21 August 2012; accessed 27 August 2012
  5. ^ "Horia-Roman Patapievici resigned as president of RCI". Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Lever, Liam (2012-08-07). "Romania's cultural community demands freedom for country's Cultural Institute". Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  8. ^ a b "Scandal românesc cu Securişti, svastică şi sex, la Berlin şi New York", Evenimentul Zilei, July 22, 208
  9. ^ "Atac naţionalist la ICR", Evenimentul Zilei, August 7, 2008
  10. ^ Ana Zidărescu. "Scandal românesc cu Securişti, svastică şi sex, la Berlin şi New York >". Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  11. ^ Doinel Tronaru (2008-08-07). "Atac naţionalist la ICR >". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  12. ^ Doinel Tronaru (2008-08-06). "Văcăroiu cere anchetă în cazul expoziţiei ICR >". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  13. ^ "Văcăroiu cere anchetă în cazul expoziţiei ICR", Evenimentul Zilei, August 6, 2008
  14. ^ "Patapievici: "Poneiul cu zvastică este un obiect artistic"", Evenimentul Zilei, August 7, 2008

External links[edit]