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  • TeoStan


Updated: Mar 8, 2022

The third edition of Immigration Research Forum’s annual event “Celebrating outstanding Romanian American women in the arts and sciences,” was designed as a marathon fundraising drive on behalf of Ukrainian refugees and displaced civilians arriving in Romania.

The third edition of Immigration Research Forum’s annual event “Celebrating outstanding Romanian American women in the arts and sciences,” was designed as a marathon fundraising drive on behalf of Ukrainian refugees and displaced civilians arriving in Romania.

This year, invited guests reflected on the role of ancestral springtime traditions in reshaping our sense of solidarity and belonging. Through this Romanian American diaspora effort, we stand with the people of Ukraine, with the mothers and innocent children that pour into Romania and into neighboring European countries.

The annual event was designed as a celebratory occasion, highlighting a living pantheon of trailblazing women, role models and mentors. As in previous occasions, IRF calls on many of our outstanding diaspora ladies to be the custodians shaping and decanting the rich repository of Romanian traditions, our lore of social cohesion, the values we pass on to the next generation. For our cultural versifiers to survive, they must be made relevant to the next generation and so this year we give voice to the second generation of Romanian Americans. In this spirit this year’s formal program included the presentation of a project led by two IRF interns: Sofia and Julia Velculescu. The two adolescents playfully interviewed Romanian American young adults about what their Romanian identity really means and in what ways springtime traditions are relevant in their lives.

Our planned generic theme of cultural resilience was made more prescient by events unfolding in Ukraine. Precisely because of that, we seek to look at our springtime traditions and mold them into rituals of empathy and solidarity. That is why the event was turned into a fundraising drive for Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter in Romania.

The Immigration Research Forum is one of the few founding member organizations of the Federation of Romanian American Organizations ( The founding member organizations decided to pull together efforts and fund-raise jointly as a united diaspora. We selected one of the member organizations, the Romanian United Fund as a platform most technically capable to secure the transfer of all donations without any overhead charge. The joint initiative enjoys the support of the Romanian Embassy to the United States in conducting this nationwide fundraising drive. We are very proud of coming together and acting with such expediency. Within a week since the commencement of war in Ukraine, we jointly succeeded to raise over $100,000 and with your continued support our goal is to reach $200,000. Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Ukrainian Peace Fund. The funds are to be distributed to several NGOs in Romania active in the humanitarian relief response. Among them, we are seeking to assist the Romanian Red Cross and Save the Children Romania.

During our marathon drive we were able to have as featured guest Camelia Iordache, the former president of Save the Children Suceava currently a volunteer helping coordinate response efforts on the ground at the Siret border. She joined us live sharing with us her testimony of the situation there. Her presentation, while in Romanian includes a slideshow of the latest photographs at the border. She is a professional photographer as well as relentless social activist dedicated to protecting vulnerable children.

We hope that our fundraising efforts here in the US will lead not just to helping shelter refugees in Romania but also civilians in neighboring Cernauti. A first humanitarian convoy from Romania safely reached Cernauti last week and we hope that such convoys will be granted safe passage in the coming weeks. It is our strong hope that Ukrainian mothers and newborns receive international protection as they seek to flea war zones and that the International Red Cross Federation will coordinate between the Romanian and Ukrainian Red Cross to ensure their safe passage in the coming days and weeks.

During the marathon event we also highlighted the impressive work of the only Romanian American diaspora organization that really has “boots on the ground,” volunteers both on the Romanian border and in the neighboring Republic of Moldova. Mrs. Stefania Magidson, the founder of the Blue Heron Foundation is also an IRF advisory board member. Her organization is our best hope in having an immediate direct impact and we encourage everyone to consider making a charitable contribution for

The fundraising marathon’s featured guests were:

Poet Ioana Ieronim, Artist Photographer Camelia Iordache, History Professor Maria Bucur-Deckard, Judge Camelia Bogdan, Poet Carmen Firan, Writer Carmen Bugan, Associate Professor Mihaela Moscaliuc, Poet Claudia Serea, Novelist Domnica Rădulescu, Poet Roxana L. Cazan, Poet Alina Ștefănescu, Author Alta Ifland, Poet and psychologist Anca Mizumschi Simion, Poet Clara Burghelea, Play writer Catalina Florina Florescu, Historian Raluca Octav, USPTO Patent Examiner Ana Muresan, Professor Emeritus Ileana Costea, Professor Julieta C. Paulesc and IRF interns Julia and Sofia Velculescu.

Welcoming remarks: Teodor Stan, President and Founder of Immigration Research Forum

Ioana Ieronim - Award winning author, Washington, DC resident poet recently awarded the Mihai Eminescu poetry prize by the Romanian Academy Recent books: The Triumph of the Water Witch and LAVINIA & HER DAUGHTERS: A Carpathian Elegy

Camelia Iordache - Artist Photographer, current volunteer at Siret border and former president of the Romanian Save the Children - Suceava branch.

Maria Bucur-Deckard, Ph.D. - John W. Hill Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington, author of “The Nation’s Gratitude: World War I and Citizenship Rights in Interwar Romania,” Routledge Histories of Central and Eastern Europe, 2022; contributor in Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought, 2021

Judge Camelia Bogdan, Ph.D - National Endowment for Democracy fellow, 2019 Ion Ratiu Democracy Award recipient hosted by the Wilson Center, currently LL.M. fellow in Business and Finance Law at the George Washington Law School, Washington DC. Support for Camelia Bogdan | Education Crowdfunding with GoGetFunding +

Carmen Firan - Romanian-born New York-based poet, novelist, playwright, translator, and screenwriter. Most recently she published as coauthor of Quarantine Songs (2021) together with Adrian Sangeorzan and translators Adam J. Sorkin and Alexandra Carides:

Dr. Carmen Bugan - A Romanian-born prize-winning writer based in Long Island, NY, she was educated at the University of Michigan and Balliol College, Oxford University, UK, with a PhD in English Literature. Her most recent published books are Time Being, poems, March 2022 and Poetry and the Language of Oppression: Essays on Politics and Poetics (OUP, 2021)

Mihaela Moscaliuc, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of English at Monmouth University (New Jersey) and a poetry & translation mentor in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Drew University (New Jersey). Her most recent published book Cemetery Ink: Poems (Pitt Poetry Series) was published in 2021

Claudia Serea - Poet, editor, and translator published in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Puritan, Oxford Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Writing on the Walls at Night” was published by Unsolicited Press in February 2022. She is a founding editor of NationalTranslation Month, and serves on the editorial board of The Red Wheelbarrow Poets, and co-hosts The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Readings

Domnica Rădulescu - The current chair of the Romanian American Literary Circle (RALC), a Novelist, Playwright, Theater Critic and Director, Distinguished Service Professor of Comparative Literature, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA. Radulescu is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, of which Train to Trieste was translated into 13 languages, two volumes of original plays, and numerous scholarly and nonfiction books. Her latest book is a memoir titled Dream in a Suitcase. The Story of an Immigrant Life.

Roxana L. Cazan - Oklahoma resident poet and translator, is co-editor with Domnica Rădulescu of Voices on the Move: Writing by and about Refugees (2020) and most recently published Tethered to the Unexpected: Poetry About Illness (2022)

Alina Ștefănescu - The immediate-past chair of the Romanian American Literary Circle (RALC), she is a Romanian born poet residing in Birmingham, Alabama. Her most recent publications include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020) and Dor, which won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize (September, 2021).

Alta Ifland – A Romanian born California based author, she published collections of prose poems and stories. Her most recently published work is the novel, The Wife Who Wasn’t (New Europe Books) and her translation (with Eireene Nealand) of Le Camion by Marguerite Duras (The Darkroom, Contra Mundum Press), 2021.

Anca Mizumschi Simion - A Phoenix, Arizona resident and widely published Romanian author, she is by training a psychologist and social activist having published articles and essays on several Romanian media outlets. Her main areas of interest cover the concepts of dignity as social construct, collective imaginary, expressive art therapy, and therapeutic writing.

Clara Burghelea - Romanian-born poet and review editor at Ezra, An Online Journal Of Translation. She is the recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award and the Scott James and Jerry Cain Creative Writing and Social Media Fellowship. Her most recent book “Praise the Unburied” was published in 2021

Dr. Catalina Florina Florescu - A Romanian born New York-based play writer, she holds a PhD in Comparative Theater and Medical Humanities from Purdue University. She teaches theater, literature, cinema, and writing at Pace University and is a New Play Development Curator at Jersey City Theater Center.

Raluca Octav - Historian and Director of the Cultural Center established by Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans In Minnesota (HORA)

Ana Muresan, PhD - Primary Patent Examiner (Chemistry) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She is the president of the USPTO American Romanian Intellectual Property Association (ARIPA).

Ileana Costea - Professor Emeritus, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Interim President of the Romanian American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Julieta C. Paulesc, PhD - Senior Lecturer of Romanian Studies, Romanian Language Courses Coordinator and Associate Director of the Central European Cultural Collaborative of the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. She is a founding member of Arizona ARCC.

IRF Interns:Julia and Sofia Velculescu will present on their project highlighting the voices of second-generation Romanian American adolescents and young adults.

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