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Changes in the running of the Romanian Cultural Institute were found to be unacceptable by its leadership.
Writer Horia Roman Patapievici and the rest of the leadership of the Romanian Cultural Institute, ICR, resigned on Thursday in response to the government’s decision to shift control of the Institute from the country's presidency to the Senate.
“The main issue at stake in this change is the Senate’s intention to transform the Institute into an instrument for promoting Romanian national identity, instead of being a mediator between Romanian artists and the international community as it is now,” ICR director Horia Roman Patapievici explained.
Modeled after the British Council and France's Institut Francais, the state-funded body has 17 offices abroad including in New York, Berlin and Paris and exists to promote the country's culture at home and abroad.
In mid-June, the government issued an ordinance for putting the Institute under parliamentary control. Most Romanian artists saw the move as illegal, with the change being adopted without any consultation or debate and appearing politically motivated.
Thousands of people protested against the measure, urging Prime Minister Victor Ponta to withdraw the law and respect the mandate of the existing ICR leadership, which was set to end in January 2013.
The government said its move is a democratic choice aimed to make the ICR more transparent.
Since 2005, the Institute has financed the translation of more than 300 works by Romanian authors. This year alone around 2.6 million people attended ICR cultural events staged in major cities around the world, according to ICR data.
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