U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec led a two-day U.S. Embassy delegation to Iasi from April 24-25 to highlight the importance of regional engagement, cultural outreach, trade and commerce, and the U.S. Embassy’s strong commitment to robust collaboration with civil society. The trip aimed to promote bilateral cooperation, strengthen economic prosperity, and deepen people-to-people ties between the United States and Romania. During the trip, Ambassador Kavalec met with senior government officials, business leaders, representatives of non-governmental foundations, and other stakeholders. They discussed opportunities for increased engagements in the region, expanded investment, and strengthened cultural cooperation and exploration.
Ambassador Kavalec opened the U.S. Embassy photographic exhibition titled, We the People, in celebration of 25 years of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership at the Iasi Palace of Culture. The exhibition underlined the human elements that make all diplomatic initiatives possible and illuminated the real benefits of transatlantic cooperation through photographs of diplomatic, security, economic, and cultural events and engagements.
Ambassador Kavalec summarized the evening succinctly in stating, “The benefits of these decades of Alliance, friendship, and partnership are remarkable, tangible and they belong to every single one of us—Romanian, American, and our fellow Allies and friends around the world. The exhibition captures our stories, and it bears mute testimony to the blessings of friendship and Alliance and what two good peoples and great nations can accomplish together.” The Romanian Ambassador to the United States Dan-Andrei Muraru; State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture Diana-Stefana Baciuna; Mayor of Iasi Mihai Chirica; Iasi County Council President Costel Alexe; Director for Cultural Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrei Luca; and Director General, Agerpres Claudia Nicole also spoke at the reception.
Ambassador Kavalec delivered keynotes remarks on promoting economic prosperity and expanding trade and investment – which are central policy priorities – at two major new office openings, the Palas Campus, the largest office building in Romania, and the Romanian division of Amazon’s Development Center offices. Both events highlighted Iasi’s leading role as an economic hub attracting IT and other high-tech industries.
Speaking at the Palas Campus opening, Ambassador Kavalec noted our continuing to work “toward ever- increased and closer commerce and developmental partnerships,” concluding, “that is what friends do.” Prime Minister Nicolea Ciuca, IULIUS Group CEO Iulian Dascalu, General Manager Amazon Development Center Cristian Josan, and local government officials also delivered remarks. The Amazon Development Center opening inaugurated a new facility for the 2,000 Amazon employees across the company’s business units in Iasi. Amazon provides 4,000 jobs nationally in Romania. Addressing the crowd at the Center opening on the tangible benefits that our Strategic Partnership has brought both nations, the Ambassador stated, “The future looks amazingly bright ahead. Leading U.S. companies possess the requisite expertise and resources to help Romania further recognize its competitive advantages.”
The Ambassador also visited community development organizations supported by the Romanian American Foundation including: the Iasi Community Foundation, which funds community development projects, scholarships for youth leaders, and humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian refugees; and the “Roade si Merinde” Food Hub, which increases small farmers’ market access and seeks to stimulate economic development for rural areas. The Community Safety and Mediation Center also told the Ambassador about their women empowerment programs, such as a multilingual domestic violence helpline for Ukrainian refugees, and trainings for aspiring female politicians. In a separate meeting with President Dr. Dorin Dobrincu of the Movement for the Development of Moldavia, the topic was about supporting initiatives that empower local communities, reduce economic exclusion, and strengthen rule of law. During discussions with Iulius Group CEO Iulian Dascalu and World Bank representatives, the Ambassador saw how policy analysis has informed private sector-led urban rejuvenation projects to spur economic growth outside of the Bucharest capital area.
The Ambassador saw firsthand that Iasi is thriving because of its dynamic education sector, which continues to produce highly skilled pools of graduates. These graduates often find well-paying jobs in Iasi, many of which are supplied by innovative U.S. firms. During a plant tour, Michigan-based automotive parts manufacturer and the largest exporter from Iasi, BorgWarner credited its success in manufacturing high-precision pumps and injectors to their exceptional Romanian workforce.
Iasi’s talented student pool was on clear display when the Ambassador and Embassy delegation visited American Corner Iasi for an extended question-and-answer session with students and teachers from the American Studies Faculty at the Alexandru Ion Cuza University.
In Iasi and throughout Moldova, culture and history are ever present. The Ambassador and her staff had the privilege of experiencing diverse aspects of the region’s history—the uniquely beautiful and the horribly tragic —via the Three Holy Hierarchs Monastery and the Pogrom Museum.