Discussing with Vlad Mărgărint. Second part: about countries, communities and cultures

Discussing with Vlad Mărgărint. Second part: about countries, communities and cultures

Trimis de Livia B la Mie, 10/07/2015 - 10:08
Pentru a reveni la versiunea în limba română urmați linkul.
 
We continue our dialog with Vlad trying to desiccate, like in a proper analysis problem, the two parallel universes: Romania and Switzerland, looking for solutions that might arise even from our community, independently of the social and financial power. How does a Mathematics graduate of one of the world’s top-universities see his future? How could each of us develop a personal equation under these coordinates?
 
casa-romanilor.ch: Let’s begin with our small world: Romanians living abroad. How did you perceive the Romanian community in Switzerland?
Vlad Mărgărint: In one word? Diverse. The Swiss system is built in the way that it selects from the newcomers the top. Of course, I feel that these people have a Romanian root, but at the same time I am very conscious that living in this developed society changed them (or maybe even us).
The huge amount of work and tiredness made the Romanians here more individualistic. It is. of course, my personal opinion, which I prefer to share frankly, without hesitating. A lot of Romanians here are like buildings where the “ground floors”, which were built up in Romania, have a different “architecture” than the ones above. Nobody can know the interior, because a lot of them developed, metaphorically, “advanced thermal isolations”. Maybe less the ones who are here temporarily, like the students whose age has also a different development dynamics.
 
C.R: Romanians at the Swiss universities. What is your experience interacting with them?
V.M.: That’s a real band! You are a model for resistance in this school and society to me (and I hope you’ll keep the promise to answer these questions on your own some time).
 
C.R. (Livia): You’re saying these things just because I’m interviewing you. Let’s mention our colleagues as well!
V.M.: With the two Informatics’ Victors, George, Andrei, Mircea , Patric, Octavian and with Alex Păunoiu I connected the most. We all have plenty to learn from these people. Some of them took part at the Science Olympiads, but beyond their intellectual capabilities that they natively inherited, they have other rare and surprising traits. I am sure that the time will put them in the place where they are meant to be. From all the people here I think I’ve been complaining the most. I am really thankful that everyone around accepted my moments of weirdness!
My personal philosophy says that it is important what you are actually doing for your motherland, even if you live there or abroad.
C.R.: Can the Romanians living in Switzerland do anything for their mother-country?
V.M.: I think the Romanians living abroad did a lot and generally have the potential to do a lot for Romania. The phenomenon of the long queues with people waiting to vote is a very strong symbol in my opinion. I was there. My personal philosophy says that it is important what you are actually doing for your motherland, even if you live there or abroad.
 
C.R.: Even the students can play a role?
V.M.: Especially them. I have to confess, I feel that I owe my motherland for offering me education free of charge. And maybe even more. In exchange, at all the stages in my life I tried to overcome my attributions to have a contribution to Romania’s development, of course, at the level that my roles at those moments allowed me to: I was a student representative, a member of the national committee for the Olympiads, but also the person who brought the “exotic Romanian air among the Mathematics Master students”, as my friends call it.
 
C.R.: And even this way, can we offer the things Romania really needs?
V.M.: A few months ago I wrote to some people whom I consider essential in my past. Romania needs role-models, but needs something real as well. It has to have some solid structures implemented in its key-domains.
 
I believe in a culturally adapted evolution of things, an evolution that I hope my children will experience and feel at the level I’m projecting it right now.
 

 
C.R.: What is the element we have to start from if we want a change?
V.M.: That’s simple: the idea. I tried to implement, through the people who shaped me in Romania and whom I trust, ideas that I’ve seen here.  Of course, I want to adapt everything to what happens today in Romania. I believe in a culturally adapted evolution of things, an evolution that I hope my children will experience and feel at the level I’m projecting it right now.
 
C.R.: Speaking of “real help”. Do you have any kind of experience in this regard?
V.M.: For example, I helped the preparation study groups for the Olympiads, being myself, as a child, a member of such study groups. They helped me at my beginning, now I find it normal to bring something back. My life experience so far made me see things from a new perspective. I’m looking different now at the poor students who struggle to overcome the false status their financial level places them. I hope that one day I’ll be in a position where I could help them for real. And I hope these statements will make the people who owe more than me more aware of this phenomenon. I truly believe that this is the point where non politically-related changes start. I sincerely believe that the mission of the young generations today that are not involved anyhow in the past political regimes: to make the changes the way we feel like.
 
C.R.: Any advice for the Romanians living abroad?
V.M.:  I’d tell them to look carefully around and contact the people or the organizations that inspired or even helped them at a certain point. It might be the case that now those ones are in need as well. They might need real help.
 
C.R.: Let’s switch to a new chapter: “Projections”. Where do you see Romania in 10 years?
V.M.: I hope that  “sensational” will have another meaning than the one it has today: may it be a cultural discussion, an accomplishment in any field and not just a tragic event or a drama. I hope that in 10 years the highlights of the newspaper will contain true models, figures that nowadays don’t generate anything perceived as “sensational”, but just respect, which nowadays doesn’t sell much. I hope that in 10 years Romania will respect more the professionalism. I hope that the justice will continue its ascendant trajectory and I am confident that this will positively influence all the other professional sectors. Maybe I am too much of an optimist, but I know a tool which will make a difference in the future: education. For this I was ready to do anything in these last two years in Zürich. This is a fundamental tool in the Swiss society. I hope that the Romanian government will be aware that a true investment in education can generate a significant change in the future.
 
 
(To vizualize more images click on the image on the left side)
C.R.: What about you? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
V.M.: I really hope I will be having a beautiful family then. I hope I’ll be as curious as I am now. Moreover, if I’ll be good enough, I see myself staying in the academical environment. I hope that the passionate life, constantly outside the comfort zone, that I’ve been living so far and that I will continue living most probably, will give me the opportunity to help the others get over their hardest times. This will happen after I will have overcome those moments on my own first. I am not afraid (anymore)! 
 
C.R.: As a conclusion 
V.M.: Thank you for inviting me for this interview, it was a real opportunity to share with everyone the details of a story “the way it happened”.
I owe a lot to Switzerland and to ETH Zürich. They gave me a chance that didn’t mean debt, but an engagement to honest and hard work. I owe this chance to Professor Vuletescu from the University of Bucharest, who supported me to apply here in 2013. Of course, other people played an important role in my scientific development as well. The most important was my family.
I won’t hide from you the fact that there are huge cultural differences between us and the Swiss, differences which I’m still not comfortable enough with. I appreciate a lot their professionalism, order and efficiency, but I contest their rigid style and the social tension.
A lot of things stay behind me here, among them a piece of my soul. 
I will remember my whole life certain people that I met or found again here, who helped me to find a workplace when I had no money, who stayed with me up all night in August solving math problems at the blackboard, who helped me to successfully pass my exams. I owe them and promise I will do the same next time I’ll be in their shoes.
A lot of things stay behind me here, among them a piece of my soul.
We are not born with equal chances, but this doesn’t say anything about how much we can achieve in life. 
There would be plenty to say, but I will stop here. I didn’t intend to convince you that risking to leave in the unknown world without any financial resources is fine, but to motivate you to follow your dream. I am faithful to the thought I’ve begun this road with: We are not born with equal chances, but this doesn’t say anything about how much we can achieve in life.

 

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