May 1, 2017

Exchange Alumni Promote Cultural Heritage

Moldovan cultural heritage is in many ways an amalgamation of the cultures of the various civilizations and societies that have had an influence in the region since the 3rd century. Romanian and Soviet cultures might dominate, but the contributions of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Slavs, the Magyars, the Ottoman Turks, the French, and other Western Europeans have also left their imprint on contemporary Moldovan culture. Shared knowledge of Moldova’s rich cultural history is essential for the preservation of its national identity and this is precisely what Fulbright grant recipient, researcher, and historian Rachel Retaliatta seeks to promote. In partnership with Global Undergraduate Exchange Program alumnus Victor Popovici and a team of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, Rachel conducted research into the archives of the Agency for the Inspection and Restoration of Monuments in Moldova and visited numerous historic cultural sites. Consequently, Rachel and Victor quickly realized there was an opportunity to raise awareness about Moldovan historical sites that have been neglected or unknown to the larger public, to give the public a voice in defining their own sites of cultural heritage, and to promote civic engagement and the sharing of personal connections to these places.

Rachel and Victor turned to social media and created the #LoculAcestaContează campaign to promote cultural preservation in Moldova. #LoculAcestaContează is part of the global This Place Matters campaign initiated in 2008 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the purpose of engaging the public in thinking about and sharing the historic places that are important to them. #ThisPlaceMatters is launched annually in May to coincide with National Preservation Month. #LoculAcestaContează is largely successful in part to Victor Popovici who works for the Agency for Monument Inspection and Restoration. In this capacity, he has been an instrumental partner and advocate for this campaign. #LoculAcestaContează is financed through the U.S. Embassy Chisinau Individual Grants Program and, with the help of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, Rachel and Victor were able to garner participation from many rural communities. Cultural preservation through greater awareness and civic action is essential to preserving Moldova’s rich history. Visit #LoculAcestaContează and its Facebook and Instagram page to share your photographic stories and help raise awareness of cultural sites important to you and your community.

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