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Right Direction | The US Census 2020 and the Romanian-American community: An interview with Aldous Mina

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ALDOUS Mina was born in 1979 and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (B.S., International Business) and American InterContinental University/AIU in Schaumburg/Chicago, Illinois (MBA, International Business). He received international business training in the United Kingdom (England/London, Scotland, Wales), Ireland (Dublin) and Israel (Jerusalem).

Tiberiu Dianu

Mr. Mina worked for the U.S. Peace Corps in Romania (economic development specialist, 2008), World Bank (financial analyst, 2011). He has served in the federal government in both Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington, DC (financial analyst and auditor, White House’s initiative on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) and private sector (contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Gruman, Maersk and Maximus, Premier Global Council Group).

He is the author of four books on global markets and faceconomics.

During the period of October 3 and 4, 2019, Aldous Mina attended the annual ALIANŢA/The Alliance Gala, in Washington, DC, at the Conrad Hotel and the Romanian Embassy, respectively. https://alianta.org/

On October 4, 2019, the Alianta organization announced the launching of a new initiative, The 2020 U.S. Census Campaign, in order to encourage Romanian-Americans to mark themselves down as of Romanian-origin during the census. Estimates of Romanian-Americans in the United States vary from 800,000 to 1.5 million.

With that occasion, Mr. Mina granted me an exclusive interview.

1. Mr. Al Mina, you are running for the U.S. Senate in Virginia in 2020 and you also worked in the Peace Corps in Romania.

Yes.

2. A social media campaign has been recently launched, in order to encourage Romanian-Americans to note their heritage in the 2020 U.S. Census forms. Can you elaborate a little on the technicalities that the voters should know, in order to successfully achieve this project, in your opinion?

Yes, thank you also for having me. I believe this transition into a more inclusive society and a powerful meaning message towards the Romanian public is timely on this engagement they are currently endorsing. In terms of the Visa Waiver Program, I believe many, you know, not only Romanians, but also Americans could definitely benefit from the inter-cultural aspect of this program, as well as the economic development opportunities that are going to be available for both markets. You know, for the longest time Romania has been kept away from engaging and actively, you know, promoting the Romanian market to the world. So this is the perfect timing for us, Americans as well as Romanians, because our family and friends are Romanians, you know. And they have contributed to America just like any other countries have contributed to America. So, we shouldn’t have to disqualify a group of wonderful people that is interested in contributing and engaging the U.S. market, you know, just like any other Western European countries would. So, I think, this is the perfect time to be a part of this endeavor with this initiative, you know, the Romanian population. And also diaspora, the Romanian diaspora that are here, they need to know about their heritage, their background, and some people group, and also be able to appreciate, you know, the beauty of that heritage. And so, I am all for it. As an individual running for the U.S. Senate, this is a great opportunity for us to partake in this history making event. And, as a former Peace Corps volunteer in Romania, I believe that, if there is some social and economic inclusion, happening throughout the world, especially in Romania and the U.S., that would create a perfect union for our initiative and the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

3. Thank you so much, Sir. We continue. How do you think leaders of the Romanian-American community can help change the U.S. visa rules and maximize the count of Romanian-Americans in the U.S. Census?

I think, in order for them to really participate, I believe that they should allow the Romanian community, in general, to be actively involved. It’s good for them to, you know, provide direction and some sort of structural mechanism, because I think that’s really needed in order for them to promote this kind of incentive. But I think it has to be on the grass-root level, where every single Romanian-American and Romanians are participating. Because, at the end of the day, this is a value to the Romanian society, to the American community. So, I think, it’s in the best interest of the Romanian community to participate, you know, not just in the political sense of it, but also in being able to identify the beauty and, you know, the vibrant future of Romania through this initiative. So, that’s where I stand on this whole issue.

4. Thank you so much, Sir. The last question: what challenges will you foresee during this process?

There could be a lot of issue that might manifest itself towards, you know, this kind of initiative. But I think the American population understands that many Romanians have contributed into the American society. You know, we have loved Romanians, we have, you know, friends that are from Romania that taught us their culture and shared their history with us. We wouldn’t have been able to learn any of that if they didn’t come here and tell us. So, I think that it’s time for Romania to be able to access the U.S. just like we have freedom to access Romania. And that’s what I believe. My girlfriend came over and she is like: “Well, we still have to get a visa to come to the U.S.!” It takes a long time for them to have to, you know, apply for visa and go through the process. I think if someone from Germany or France or England say they can come freely, why not Romanians? You know, they are a lot of very smart, talented Romanians that can help contribute in the process of connecting the two countries. So, they are going to be serving as a bridge. And I am all for it.

5. Very interesting, Sir. Thank you so much.

Thank you. [In Romanian] Mulţumesc frumos. Şi îmi pare bine. [Thanks a lot. And I am glad].

6. Excellent!

[In Romanian] Hai România! [You go, Romania!]

Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC and can be followed on Medium. https://medium.com/@tdianu

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