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University of Bucharest Rector: We are going through political and cultural crisis

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mircea dumitru

Rector of the University of Bucharest Mircea Dumitru said on Tuesday evening that "Romania is not at its best", and that "we are going through a political and cultural crisis." 

"I believe that when we talk about important historical facts like this extraordinary event - 100 years since the accomplishment of the Greater Union - this is because we are interested into how it fits into the order of the present, into the order of the event's significance. Or, today - although I don't think this panel should turn to that kind of rhetoric that is being played on television channels - we still find that Romania is not at its best, to put it euphemistically," Dumitru said at the premises of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR). 

Professor Mircea Dumitru attended on Tuesday evening the debate "Moral Values in the Year of the Centennial," organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute in partnership with the University of Bucharest, via the Center for Applied Ethics Research. 

In Professor Dumitru's opinion, "there is a stark contrast between our representations of the country's potentiality to do with its resources - educated, intelligent, motivated youth - and what it truly does and produces." 

"Perhaps some will counter that these are only subjective, fleeting impressions. ... There has been however, at least recently, a certain convergence of increasingly wider segments of the country's population towards the idea that we are going through a profound crisis, which I think is not just political. It is undoubtedly a political crisis of the institutions of democracy, but I think it is also a cultural crisis," Mircea Dumitru said. 

He remarked that "today, and particularly in Romania, we live in a cultural style that has as an obsessive, dominant rhetoric the idea that everyone is entitled to express an opinion, speak his mind and not to be censored." 

"It is very good that it is so. (...) Some of us have also lived in a time when we were not allowed to express our opinions freely. But sometimes these opinions are blasted out without the rigorous arguments they should have behind, that is, not even with the intention of targeting justification, let aside truth. (...) And then, the question follows: doesn't this indistinct chorus of opinions completely silence those who, beside opinions, also possess knowledge, knowledge that could be highly useful for public life, for social life? (...) Ideally, and taking it to the limit, this multitude of opinions could be either a harmonious, polyphonic chorus, but it can also turn into a disharmonic cacophony," said the Rector of the University of Bucharest. 

Emphasizing that he "very much likes diversity", Professor Dumitru pointed out that "sometimes, expressing opinions without them having a certain coordination, without a minimal discernment and a certain stylistic hygiene can be just as damaging as the tyrannical model where alone one system of opinions is valid." 

Also addressing the attendance at ICR were Emilian Mihailov - Executive Director of the Center for Applied Ethics Research, Valentin Muresan, Viorel Vizureanu, Cristian Iftode, from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bucharest. 

The debate was an opportunity to consider the progress and moral values that marked Romania's historical course in the past 100 years, with the participants evoking the connection between the Greater Union Centennial and the aspects of moral values, reflecting the double dimension of the Greater Union ideal, which was not just political, but moral as well. The debate was at the same time a challenge to reflect on the Romanian present, 100 years on from the Greater Union, with the participants in the event attempting to answer the questions: "How much have we learned together in the last hundred years, where do we stand now, and especially what are the moral prospects of Romanian society?"

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