ADRIAN CIOROIANU is, since 2015, Romania’s Ambassador to UNESCO*, in Paris. His is one of Romania’s most esteemed historians, a writer and history professor at the University of Bucharest. He was recently in Bucharest for a few days this June, for the launch of the latest book in a series called Kings and Queens of Romania, “Carol II”, which he co-authored with Eduard Matei.
Dana Tudose-Tianu met and talked to Mr. Cioroianu for our OZB readers.
DTT: You launched a new book, Carol II, at the International Book Fair, Bookfest, in Bucharest, on June 1st. It belongs to the historical, biographical series, Kings and Queens of Romania, published by Curtea Veche. Could you tell our readers how the idea for the series emerged?
AC: The idea came to me after I received a proposal from Curtea Veche Publishing that wanted to publish a book on Romania’s kings. The concept wasn’t crystal clear, in the beginning, on whether it should include all the queens and kings of Romania. At the time, I was the Dean of the History Faculty (at the University of Bucharest) and I was teaching students who were doing their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Some of them were very good and I could sense their passion and dedication for history. So, in that context, I thought it would be a good idea to write several books instead of one, and dedicate each volume to a king or queen, involving my best students as co-authors. I chose four kings and four queens and began with the book on Queen Mary of Romania, which was published in 2014. The next one to be published, in 2015, was King Carol I, and, since then, four more books came out: Queen Elena, King Michael, King Carol II (which was just launched on June 1st). We also published a book on Princess Margareta in the series.
The next books will be Queen Elizabeth I (King Carol I’s wife), Queen Anne, King Michael’s wife and King Ferdinand.
DTT: Just by looking at the books, one gets the sense that young people are the target readers of this series, correct?
AC: To tell you the truth, our intention was to write these books for readers of all ages, or how we like to say, for those between 7 and 97. There’s something new to learn from every book in the series. But their format and the drawings in each of the books makes them especially attractive to younger readers – children, teenagers, students.
In a way, this type of literature is an introduction to history. Those who read the books find out new things which they didn’t find in history books or saw on TV. It’s books like these that open up their appetite for history, because it stirs their curiosity.
DTT: Your activity shows just how close the mission of bringing young people closer to the history of Romania is to your heart. How do you stay in touch with them now that you don’t teach at the History Faculty?
AC: I am, in fact, doing many things to keep in touch and to keep teaching, even though now I don’t do it at the University. At one point I will come back to my students. One of the things I do is to hold meetings and participate to conferences where I talk to students and high schoolers. I did this is France, Belgium, Poland and Spain. Wherever I am invited to speak, I ask to have meetings with young people, be they in high school or college. I met young Romanians from the diaspora at various conferences in Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Barcelona, Warsaw. The only thing missing from my life right now is the frequent interaction with my students, which is a great source of energy for me.
Also, I know from the feedback I get, that my TV & YouTube series, “5 Minutes of History” is pretty popular in Romania and many young people watch it.
DTT: The big events on the Romanian cultural and historical scene seem incomplete without your presence. Will you be going to the Rasnov History and Film Festival in July?
AC: Yes, of course. I have been going for a few years already. I launched books, introduced various films, took part in debates, met foreign Ambassadors and had conversations on many history and culture-related themes.
*UNESCO: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN), based in Paris.