Cristina Balan, the Republic of Moldova Ambassador to the United States, joked last week that the small Eastern European country was moving its embassy from Washington, D.C. to Greensboro.
After all, Moldova has established such a strong partnership with UNC Greensboro’s School of Nursing over the past 20 years that an embassy closer to campus would make sense.
“It’s not about emotions. It’s about efficiency, right? We need to get things done, and this is where things are getting done,” Balan said, drawing laughter from the crowd gathered March 27 at a reception held in her honor at the Union Square Campus. “So thank you very much for all the effort, all your love, and all the light that you’re spreading around you. It’s very much felt, and we just very much appreciate it.”
Balan visited UNCG’s campus and met with nursing school faculty members and other members of the North Carolina-Moldova Nursing Collaborative on the first day of her tour of North Carolina. They presented her with a strategic plan that has a goal of increasing the capability of the nursing profession to help improve the health of Moldovan citizens.
The strategic plan includes ways to align the Moldovan nursing profession with international standards as well as establish effective models for physicians and nurses to collaborate in the former Soviet republic.
“I’m absolutely sure that [the strategic plan] will work because it’s very well done, and of course we will contribute and we will do our best to promote this project back at home and to make sure that the anticipated results happen much earlier than even expected,” Balan said.
Robin Remsburg, dean of the nursing school, introduced Balan at the reception held in coordination with the Guilford Rotary Club. Remsburg highlighted the long-standing collaboration between Moldova, the nursing school, and the larger Greensboro community.
“All of us in this room, the universities, the health system, we all very much value what we’ve been able to do and are committed to moving forward,” Remsburg said.
The ambassador’s visit last week came a little more than a year after three high-level administrators from Moldova’s Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy toured UNCG’s nursing school.
The administrators observed Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) courses during their campus tour and worked with UNCG faculty members on ways to implement a new BSN program at their university in Moldova’s capital of Chisinau.
In addition, members of the collaborative have shared best practices in cancer treatment, care of older adults, palliative and end-of-life care, and public health issues with Moldova officials.
By Alex Abrams
Photography by Timothy Wilkins. Bottom photo, ,l-r, Vladislav Nastas, First Secretary for the Moldova embassy; Dr. Deborah Lekan, Assistant Professor of Nursing at UNCG; Veronia Dragnev-Sacara, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Moldova embassy; Cristina Balan, Republic of Moldova Ambassador to the United States; Dr. Nancy Hoffart, Forsyth Medical Center Distinguished Professor at UNCG; Robin Remsburg, dean of the School of Nursing at UNCG.