‘Small countries in the grip of the war of civilisations. What can the atlanticist Romania do against Islamic fundamentalism’ by Sever Voinescu

10th October 2007

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Wednesday 10 October 2007 19.00 – 21.00, The Romanian Cultural Centre, 8th floor, 54-62 Regent Street, London W1B 5RE; Tel. 020 7439 4052, ext 102; e-mail: mail@ratiufamilyfoundation.com; Entry is free but booking is essential. “Almost no one doubts that we live in a time of confrontation. Today, neither imperial interests nor ideologies are clashing, but civilisations. All the talk about such huge fights are either philosophical or refer exclusively to the major players in the international arena. One could easily get the impression that the ‘war of civilisations’ is in fact a war between the US and Al Qaeda, with some global or regional actors - such as the UK, Russia, Iran or Israel - playing secondary roles of variable importance. But beyond the circle of countries that make the newspapers’ front page every morning, there are more than 100 other countries. Speaking about the war of civilisations, nobody thinks of them, as if they do not belong to any civilisation. As a matter of fact, they are deeply involved in this global confrontation, sometimes even against their will. Recently admitted into the EU, Romania is the keeper of the Eastern border of the Euro-Atlantic community. Romania, with her Christian civilisation, seems unthreatened by radical Islamism for the time being. Fighting international terrorism and promoting democracy worldwide are nevertheless major foreign and security policy objectives. We will examine what kind of threat Islamism poses to Romania, if any, and, moreover, what Romania can do in the war against Islamic fundamentalism, as the most notoriously pro-American country in Europe.” (Sever Voinescu) Sever Voinescu is the Coordinator of the Foreign Policy and International Relations program with the Institute for Public Policy in Bucharest. He is also a columnist for the ‘Cotidianul’ newspaper and for the ‘Dilema veche’ magazine. He published more than 400 articles on domestic and international affairs, both in Romania and abroad. He has been a guest speaker to numerous conferences, in Europe and the US. Sever Voinescu held important positions in the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Secretary General of the MFA (1998-2000) and Consul General of Romania to Chicago (2000-2003). A lawyer by education, Sever Voinescu is member of the Bucharest Bar and, for a short while, used to be junior lecturer in law at the Romanian Academy of Economic Science. In 2000, the President of Romania honoured Mr. Voinescu with the ‘Romanian Star’ - the highest Romanian official decoration - for his contribution to Romania’s foreign policy. Organised by The Ratiu Foundation UK www.ratiufamilyfoundation.com; www.romanianculturalcentre.org.uk