Romania is located in southeastern Europe on the Black Sea. It shares a border with five countries, including Ukraine to the north, and Serbia to the southwest. Romania was occupied by Soviet troops in 1944 and became a satellite of the USSR in 1948. After being under communist rule for over 40 years, the people of Romania rose up to overthrow the then ruler, Nicolae Ceaușescu, after he ordered security forces to open fire on antigovernment demonstrators. Following free elections and a shift to a market economy, Romania joined NATO in 2004, and the European Union in 2007.
Since joining NATO, Romania has grown as a trusted regional ally and partner for the United States. The cornerstone of this relationship has been Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO mission in which the US and its European allies work to enhance the bonds of friendship and promote peace in Europe. However, with an increase in multinational military training events taking place in Romania this year, there is an opportunity for grievances to arise and for Russia and other malign regional actors to paint the influx of international forces in a negative light.
One US Army team working in the region identified community engagement alongside their Romanian partners as the best way to prevent negative messaging and future grievances. By understanding and meeting the most pressing needs of the towns most impacted by the arrival of thousands of international forces and their heavy equipment, the team hopes to develop goodwill and relieve some of the stress that will inevitably accompany these troops.
The team learned that the secondary school in Voila, a small town near the railhead where much of the equipment would arrive in country, didn’t have updated textbooks for their students. The US Army team reached out to Spirit of America to help provide a solution – computers and projectors to display electronic books. By providing a new audio-visual package for each of the eight classrooms, Spirit of America will be able to meet a critical need, improve the futures of these children, and put a human face on the soldiers and tanks that will be participating in the joint training event this month.
Your support will allow Spirit of America and the US soldiers serving in Romania to show their Romanian counterparts and the local population that the relationship between our two countries extends beyond military to military training events.