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Rector message - the beginning of the academic year 2022-2023

​Rector message - the beginning of the academic year 2022-2023​

Dear Mr. Minister of Education,
Dear Minister of Health, 
Dear colleagues, representatives of Iași universities, 
Dear Mr. Mayor, 
Dear Mr. Prefect, 
Dear Mr. President of the County Council, 
Distinguished members of the Academic Community, 
Dear students, 

It is once again my honor and joy to say "Welcome" to you at the beginning of a new academic year at "Grigore T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Iasi. 

The opening of the academic year is an event that may seem common, a moment that belongs only to the routine of university life, a formal marking of the realignment to the starting point. Nothing more untrue, I assure you. Because each opening, beyond the formal dimension of the festivity, has its own content and emotional charge, different from year to year. 

I'm addressing here, first of all, to you, our U.M.Ph. freshmen, the children of yesterday who left school life behind and bravely stepped into a new stage - student life. I assure you, my dears, that it is a stage of your life that will mark you deeply, both from the perspective of the career towards which you are taking the first step today, and from the perspective of your personal development, character, aspirations and human profile that will define you in the future as members of society. 

This is, in fact, our common goal, of those whom you invest today with the mission of training you for the future: education means not only your training as specialists in various medical areas, but also your training as citizens who will continue tomorrow Romania. Nowadays, education means much more than hyper-specialization in a narrow field. Education also means a general culture that allows you a broad and correct perspective on the world in which we live. It also means adopting moral standards to help you stay upright when life challenges you. Last but not least, education means acquiring and consolidating over time some guiding principles that will define you as people in your family and in society. 

You did not choose an easy job, and the faculty you will attend measures up to this. The proverb says that "man learns as long as he lives", but if for most people this desire is optional, for a doctor continuous learning is mandatory not only morally, but also institutionally, by law. That is why, together with my colleagues from the academic staff, we aim not only to teach you medicine, but also to teach you to learn on your own, to have a constant reflex of curiosity and a thirst for self-improvement. In past centuries, scientific leaps in medicine were measured in generations. Today it is measured in decades, and the pace is constantly accelerating. Our mission and responsibility as teachers is to educate you but also to educate ourselves; to transfer knowledge and at the same time to learn by ourselves, to keep up with current affairs and progress. We want to give society people well-trained professionally, but also curious people, people with a solid general culture, people capable of continuous personal development and eager to improve themselves. 

In other words, our goal is to train you both professionally and humanly, so that you can easily find your place in society here, in Romania, or outside the country's borders, if you wish. In this sense, you should know that the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Iaşi makes a continuous effort to internationally recognize the skills of its graduates. In 2020 we underwent an external assessment by the Independent Agency for Accreditation and Assessment (IAAR), and in November 2020 we followed the institutional assessment process in accordance with the requirements of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). In December 2020, the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi obtained WFME recognition for 5 years. At the beginning of this year we were evaluated by the Institutional Evaluation Program (IEP) team of the European Universities Association (EUA), with a focus on internationalization. I chose this rating for two reasons: firstly, a large and increasingly diverse community of international students choose UMPh Iași for training in medical professions and secondly, the European and global trend of transnational university collaboration in all aspects of academic life becomes the most important engine for the development of higher education. 

These are reasons by which I assure you, from the position of rector, of our continued concern to support you on the way to a successful career and a fulfilled life, by offering study conditions and facilities at the level of academic excellence that I desire in our University. 

I greet you, therefore, with kindness, all the 1300 freshmen from the programs of teaching in Romanian language and the 600 new students from the programs of teaching in English and French language - Welcome to "Grigore T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy from Iasi! We have a long journey ahead of us, together. It will not be easy, but it will be nice and interesting to discover together the complexity of the profession of doctor, dentist, pharmacist, nurse, physiotherapist or bioengineer. 

Dear colleagues from the academic community, 

"Grigore T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy will continue this year the series of investments through which we aim to provide the necessary support to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves: academic excellence. And, because we are at the beginning of a new academic year, it is the right time for a quick review of the medium and short-term investment plans that the University has, with an impact on both our academic community and the local community. 

Thus, we are close to finalizing the documentation for a major investment project, which consists in building a real estate complex with multiple functions: library, canteen, uncovered and underground parking spaces. The investment, with an estimated value of 10 million euros, will be located in 14 Sărărie Street (former Bagdasar canteen). 

The design and execution of a new gym is on the same level of finishing the documentation, in 220 Sărărie Street, worth 1.7 million euros. It is an objective that our students have been waiting for a long time, I am happy to inform them that we are close to making it a reality. 

In parallel with the two major infrastructure projects stated earlier, this year our University also allocated the necessary resources for the continuous process of rehabilitation and modernization of the already existing infrastructure. Thus, objectives such as the Children's Dental Clinic and the Adult Dental Clinic (Boltă), the C9, C10 and 1 Mai A Dormitories, the Anatomy Institute and the current Sports Hall (the former "1 December"). The value of these investment projects exceeds 40 million euros; they are in various stages of implementation, from the documentation preparation stage to the stage of actual contracting of the works. 

Also, the Main Building of the University is going through a process of implementing an ultra-modern signaling and fire protection system, an investment of over 1 million euros in our safety, for all of us. 

We therefore invest, constantly and importantly, in the well-being, safety and future of our University, as a necessary support for achieving the educational performance, the academic excellence that, together, we have assumed as a fundamental mission. 

A last component, but not the least important, that I want to talk to you about, is our University's policy of openness to the community, inspired by the modern university spirit of the great university centers of the European academic world.

We are still the most cosmopolitan University in Romania, with students representing no less than 60 nations. It is an invaluable cultural treasure, with immense potential, which we must learn to exploit better than before. It is in our power to bring multiculturalism to the business card of Iași, alongside the qualities that have already established us as a university and cultural center of Romania. Equally, our University can and has the duty to offer Iași its own history of over 140 years, the personalities of our past, many of them unjustly still unknown. 

However, we need the right tools to achieve these goals, and one of them is the recently established Cultural Center "I.I. Mironescu" - the only cultural center of a medical university in Europe! Inaugurated in the spring of this year, the Cultural Center "I.I. Mironescu" aims to be a cultural interface of our University, a permanent connection we want with the Iași, national and European cultural space. The first steps in this direction were the conclusion of partnerships with cultural institutions, with the aim of both generating cultural events and connecting to the network of cultural institutions and events. 

The partnership developed with the "George Enescu" National University of Arts in Iași has generated art exhibitions and, for the first time, I announce that this year we will inaugurate the "Ștefan Possa" Art Salon within the "Mironescu" Cultural Center. Ștefan Possa was a professor of medicine, but also of arts, author of medical studies, but also of a famous textbook on artistic anatomy. The partnership with the University of Arts – which will lead to music, theater and visual arts events – is a natural one, given that doctors and artists have always been closely connected, with many doctors being musicians, writers or art collectors. 

Also, UMPh Iași signed this autumn a partnership with the National Museum of Romanian Literature in Iași through which we will develop joint projects - it is known that the former professors of the Faculty of Medicine in Iași made a significant contribution to the culture of the city and the country. As such, during the International Festival of Literature and Translation (FILIT) in October, our University will host and co-organize three meetings with some of the most recognized writers worldwide, meetings that will involve students from the study programs taught in English and Romanian language. 

Our university is currently also a partner of the "Luceafărul" Theater which, in a few days, will offer students, within the International Theater Festival for Young Audiences, the performance "Close your eyes and you will see better", directed by the director Oana Popa, the great-grand daughter of Grigore T. Popa. 

It is also worth mentioning the fact that in the last year the University started an extensive action to recover the institutional memory. The collections of the Museum of the History of Medicine were enriched and the archive of documents and photographs increased, representing as much evidence of the abundance of personalities and remarkable events that built the solid foundation of the institution we are in today. UMPh Iași honors the memory of its predecessors, and you could see this truth in previous years through the inauguration of buildings and amphitheaters named after professors of high professional and intellectual quality such as Nicolae Leon, Alexandru Țupa, Alexandru Țzaicu, Elena Pușcariu or Cristian Dragomir. We will continue this approach. 

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of the biologist, publicist, teacher, dean and rector Nicolae Leon. His name is associated with important scientific research, internationally recognized, books, expeditions, the dormitory for medical students and the foundation of the first literary museum in Romania – Creangă`s Bojdeuca. We are honored to announce that we will soon have Nicolae Leon's great-grand daughter, the Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart, Sergiu Celibidache's favorite student, as our guest. 

Last but not least, this year our University marked with various events and materials the 130th anniversary of the birth of our spiritual patron, Grigore T. Popa. You can already see his colored portraits in many of the university spaces. Very soon, the publication of a unitary collection of complete works "Grigore T. Popa", the organization of photo-documentary exhibitions, as well as the creation of an audiobook with texts from Grigore T. Popa's writings will follow. And the list of activities planned or already underway at the Cultural Center "I.I. Mironescu" can continue. I urge you all to support the activity of this Center, it is the best tool through which we can promote the values, history and image of the "Grigore T. Popa" University of Medicine and Pharmacy beyond the borders of the medical world. 

Dear colleagues from the "Grigore T. Popa" academic community, 

Dear students of our University, 

In conclusion, I offer you a homework assignment, addressed to both my fellow teachers and students, especially those who are starting their university education today. Namely, to translate into your personal universe a famous quote: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world". The thought belongs to Nelson Mandela, a man for whom his whole life was a continuous struggle to change things and realities in society, which most considered unchangeable. I ask you to think and give your own interpretation to this axiomatic truth and I invite you to start the new academic year in the light of these words. 

I wish you, dear students, a fruitful academic year, in which you put school, your education before any other priorities. Medicine is indeed a field where vocation makes the difference between performance and excellence. But both performance and excellence in medicine necessarily need a solid foundation of knowledge. Be the "sparks" that every teacher looks for among his students, but don't forget that vocation, talent are wasted attributes in the absence of sustained study work, day by day, semester after semester. 

And I wish to my colleagues from the teaching staff success, patience and the joy of discovering and maintaining these sparks. It is, in fact, our purpose, our reason for being medical school professors. 

Only by collaborating, working together, respecting and supporting each other can we truly give meaning to the words "academic community". And only together, professors and students, functioning as a community, we can complete the mission we have undertaken: excellence in academic education. 

Thank you in advance for this effort. 

I wish you success in the new academic year!