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Along with the rector of the University of Bucharest, Professor Mircea Dumitru, Ph.D. and of the deputy of the diplomatic mission of the United States in Romania, Abigail Rupp, the first event begun at the University of Bucharest, celebrating the Centennial of the Great Union of 1918.

Therefore, after exactly one hundred years since the President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson, would state in the common session of the Congress the goals of the United States of America, to bring back peace at the end of the First World War, in the “Stoicescu” theatre of the University of Bucharest, the ”President Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech and the Rise of Nation-States in Central and Eastern Europe” took place.

The debate started along with the discourse of the deputy of the diplomatic mission of the United States in Romania, Abigail Rupp, who highlighted the importance of the partnership that Romania has with the United States of America. It is worth mentioning that “the partnership which started for security reasons” has gained up to this day a plethora of faces: a partnership in the investment area, as the USA is the sixth country in Romania when it comes to foreign investments, a partnership in fighting corruption and, most importantly, a partnership for cultural changes. Moreover, as Woodrow Wilson did a century ago, the deputy of the diplomatic mission of the United States in Romania highlighted the importance that sustainable partnerships and relationships based on trust between states have in their development, ending their speech by thanking the University of Bucharest for the invitation to partake into this debate.

For that matter, through the event series – round tables, conferences, contests, camps, summer schools – dedicated to the Centennial of the Great Union of 1918, the University of Bucharest wishes to bring together specialists in history, international relationships, political sciences, law and philosophy, renowned personalities of the public life and figures of the institutions of the state. Therefore, as Professor Mircea Dumitru, Ph.D., rector of the University of Bucharest rightfully stated, “we should look from the past towards the future, to commemorate the heroes that have made the existence of Romania as we now know it possible, but also to think of what we could do so that it keeps on existing.”

On the other hand, Trygve Throntveit, Ph.D. (University of Minnesotta) has chosen to sum up “The 14 Points of President Wilson” in only four, at the same time making for each of them a parallel to the society in 2018. Therefore, “the 14 points were no manifesto for national self-determination”, but rather a manifesto for “Wilson’s wish to create a tie between nations, for them to be able to collaborate, to be free and to take responsibility for their own decisions”. For that matter, the notion of “national self-determination” does not appear in any of the 14 points enunciated by Wilson. For this reason, according to Throntveit, Ph.D., Wilson never wished for “the installment of a << final order >> set by the United States of America in Europe”, but rather for “an agreement, an accommodation of each state to the other”.

The 14 points of President Wilson: a motivation for people in the whole world to go from “wishing” to “doing”

The debate continued with the statement of Alin Matei, Ph.D. (University of Bucharest) regarding “the 14 points of President Wilson”, which are “particularly important, while difficult to be approached”. Besides, as a continuation of the discourse of Trygve Throntveit, Alin Matei considers the notion of “national self-determination” to be rather “an umbrella term for the very important notions of << democracy and self-government >>”. For this reason, stated Alin Matei, Ph.D., “the 14 points” cover the policies of the United States of America interacting with the local policies or actors.

Therefore, after 100 years from the moment “the 14 points” were enunciated, the ideas of President Wilson are more contemporary than ever. As proof, there is the debate entitled ”President Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech and the Rise of Nation-States in Central and Eastern Europe”, which was contoured as a parallel between the ideas of President Wilson and the society of 2017. For that matter, as Professor Bogdan Aurescu (University of Bucharest) duly noted, the year 2017 has been one of the best, should we see it through the values on which it was built: transparency, democracy, collaboration between states and most importantly, the work of the authorities for the better lives of citizens. Moreover, stated Professor Aurescu, “the year 2017 has been a good year for the strengthening of relationships between Romania and the United States of America.”

“We can still regard the famous speech of President Wilson as a call to discussion, as a call to being open and to trust and, most importantly, as an important step forward for the international relationships”, highlighted Professor Adrian Paul Iliescu (University of Bucharest), who considered the renowned “Point 10” to be a call for the people of Europe to defend the rights that they deserved. On the other hand, Stephen Wertheim, Ph.D. (King’s College, Cambridge & Birkbeck, University of London) stated that “the 14 points” of Wilson inspired people around the world to go from “wishing” to “doing”, especially due to the trust that even the President of the United States of America had in his ideas.

The debate continued with a session of questions and answer during which Professor Bogdan Costin Murgescu (University of Bucharest) concluded, regarding “the 14 points”, that they perfectly reflect the attitude of the people back then and their desire to defend their rights. Moreover, the discussion remained open and surely it will continue along all the events held by the University of Bucharest for the Centennial of the Great Union of 1918.

You can also see the whole debate entitled ”President Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech and the Rise of Nation-States in Central and Eastern Europe” here.

Article written by Ioan Miclea, intern within the Communication, Public Relations and Marketing Department

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