Emil Constantinescu

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Emil Constantinescu
Emil Constantinescu.jpg
3rd President of Romania
In office
29 November 1996 – 20 December 2000
Preceded by Ion Iliescu
Succeeded by Ion Iliescu
Personal details
Born (1939-11-19) 19 November 1939 (age 76)
Tighina, Kingdom of Romania (present day de jure Moldova, de facto Transnistrian Moldovan Republic)
Nationality Romanian
Political party National Liberal Party (2008-present)
Other political
Romanian Communist Party (1965-1989)
CDR (1990-1996)
AP (2001-2008)
Spouse(s) Nadia Ileana Constantinescu
Children Dragos
Norina Boru
Profession Professor of Geology
Religion Romanian Orthodox

Emil Constantinescu (Romanian pronunciation: [eˈmil konstantiˈnesku]; born 19 November 1939) is a Romanian professor and politician, who served as the third President of Romania, from 1996 to 2000.

Constantinescu first graduated from the Faculty of Law and then the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Bucharest,[1] and subsequently started a career as a geologist. Beginning in 1966, Constantinescu taught in the Geology Faculty of the University of Bucharest.

After the Romanian revolution in 1989, Constantinescu became a founding member and vice president of the Civic Alliance. He was the acting chairman of the Romanian Anti-Totalitarian Forum, the first associative structure of the opposition in Romania,[citation needed] which was transformed into a political and electoral alliance: the Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR).

In 1992 Constantinescu was elected president (rector) of the University of Bucharest, and became CDR's candidate for president of Romania. He lost the election to the incumbent, Ion Iliescu, after a second round. He remains, however, heavily involved in politics through working for many NGOs, both in Romania and internationally. Emil Constantinescu is the current president of the Association of Citizenship Education, of the Romanian Foundation for Democracy (Fundatia Romana pentru Democratie www.frd.org.ro) and also the founding president of the Institute for Regional Cooperation and Conflict Prevention (INCOR).[2]


Early life and career[edit]

Constantinescu was born in Tighina, where his parents were temporarily living. He received three degrees from the University of Bucharest: in law (1960), geology (1966) and a doctorate in geology and geography (1979). He practiced law in Pitești in 1961-1962, but switched his focus to geology after deciding that a legal career would involve too many compromises. However, along with many other intellectuals, he joined the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) in 1965, hoping to foster change from within. Named a professor of geology and geography in Bucharest the following year, he later became the department's PCR cell leader for organization and propaganda. He taught geology until 1990, when he was named pro-rector of the university. He rose to the position of rector in 1992, and held it until 1996.[3]

President of Romania[edit]

Presidential styles of
Emil Constantinescu
Coat of arms of Romania.svg
Reference style Președintele (President)
Spoken style Președintele (President)
Alternative style Domnia Sa/Excelența Sa (His Excellency)

After this first political experience the Democratic Convention elected him as its president (1992 – 1996). It followed a continuous struggle to strengthen the democratic opposition and its governance program. As a result, the Democratic convention won in 1996 the local and parliamentary elections and Emil Constantinescu was elected through direct vote President of Romania on a four-year term.

During 1996 – 2000, Romania committed itself in a large reform process in the economic, justice and administration sectors. The coalition government made up of the Democratic Convention, the Democratic Union of the Hungarians in Romania – UDMR and the Social Democratic Union – USD has accelerated the privatization and the restructuring of the state industry. During this time have passed the bills regarding the restitution of agricultural land and forest confiscated by the communist regime, the access to the files made by the political police of the former securitate service, the local budgets, the fight against corruption and money laundry. There were improved the laws of local administration, the Criminal Code, as well as the guarantees for respecting the human rights during case trails and lawsuits.

[4] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB863377565226827000

After the presidency[edit]

Emil Constantinescu and Bill Clinton in Bucharest during the US president's 1997 visit

The CDR government's and Constantinescu's presidency were marred by an economic recession. Nevertheless, his presidency is now credited with ending the Mineriads, a reform of the banking system, and with attracting the first major foreign investments in Romania. With dashed expectations of an immediate improvement in daily life, Romanians exhibited strong disillusionment with the major parties and politicians, with the Greater Romania Party gaining the second place in the 2000 elections.[5] A disenchanted Emil Constantinescu, who lost popularity and had failed to fulfill his reformist agenda announced on 17 July that he would not run for a second term. He temporarily withdrew from political life at the end of his term in November 2000. Constantinescu's direction in foreign affairs continued however after the comeback of Ion Iliescu in 2000. Eventually, Romania joined NATO in 2004.

The former President returned to the political scene in 2002 as head of the Acțiunea populară (People's Action) party, which eventually joined the merged into the National Liberal Party in 2008.[citation needed] Constantinescu has occasionally criticized the policies of the 2004-2009 president, Traian Băsescu, accusing him of authoritarian tendencies,[6] and supported Crin Antonescu in the first round of the 2009 presidential elections.[7]

He is a frequent speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum and in 2010 presented the Oslo Freedom Forum with a presidential medal.[1] He is also a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[8]


Speaking of the international activity, he was invited to participate in important think tanks and international associations: he is a founding member of the Balkan Political Club (2001–present) (http://www.balkanpoliticalclub.net/members.php?page=1); member in the Board of Directors of the East-West Institute in New York and currently director emeritus (http://www.ewi.info/emil-constantinescu), USA; member in the High Council of the World Francophone Organization (2003-2007); since 2006 is member in the International Board of the International Centre for Democratic Transition in Budapest (http://www.icdt.hu/about-us/boards-and-staff/international-board). Is member in the International Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation since 2007.

He was president of the international commission for supervising the parliamentary elections (2001) and presidential elections (2007) in Senegal and of the parliamentary elections in Tunisia (2011).

Since 2007 is co-chairman of the World Justice Project and since 2008 is one of the WJP Directors (http://worldjusticeproject.org/?q=board-of-directors).

In 2008 founded the New Democracies Forum, together with Lech Walesa, President of Poland 1990-1995; Zhelyu Zvelev, President of Bulgaria 1990-1997; Frederik Willem de Klerk, President of South Africa 1989-1994; Kim Young-Sam, President of the Republic of Korea 1993-1998; Francisco Guillermo Flores Perez, President of the republic El Salvador 1999-2004.

Together with Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005) and former Foreign Affairs Ministers from Central European ad the Baltic countries initiated Task Force for Belarus (http://www.icdt.hu/projects/projects-by-regions/central-and-eastern-europe/task-force-on-us-foreign-policy-towards-central-and-eastern-europe).

In 2008, with Jerzy Buzek, Prime Minister of Poland (1997-2001), Mart Laar, Prime Minister of Estonia (1992-1994, 1999-2002) and Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary (1998-2002) is involved in the foundation of ACT (Advisors on Cuban Transition)(http://www.miniszterelnok.hu/in_english_article/advisors_on_cuban_transition_roundtable_founded).

Since 2009 is permanent guest and speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum.(http://www.oslofreedomforum.com/speakers/emil_constantinescu.html).

Since 2009 is member in the International Board of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin and from 2011 is the president of the Academy of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin (http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/index.php?en_advisoryboard).

During 2010 – 2014 was member in the Habitat for Humanity International Board of Directors one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, funded by President Jimmy Carter. (http://www.habitat.org/how/ibod.aspx).

Since 2010 is Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and since 2011 is elected Trustee in the WAAS Board of Trustees.(WAAS, http://www.worldacademy.org/content/trustees)

In a member of the Global Round Table International Board, Brussels (2012), member in the Nizami Ganjavi International Center International Board (since 2013); member in the International Board of the Library of Alexandria (http://www.bibalex.org/boardoftrustees/default_en.aspx) (2014); member of the Heavenly Culture, World Peace Peace, Restoration of Light Advisory Council (http://www.hwpl.kr) (2014).

Since 2014 is member in the World University Consortium Board of Directors. (http://wunicon.org/about-us/board-of-directors.html).

Honours and awards[edit]

Romanian awards
Foreign awards
  •  Finland : Collar of the Order of the White Rose (1998)
  •  Turkey : Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (1999) [10]
  •  Norway : Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (1999)
  •  Austria : Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1999)
  •  Denmark : Order of the Elephant (23 May 2000)
  •  Croatia : Grand Order of King Tomislav ("For outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship and the development of mutual cooperation between the Republic of Romania and the Republic of Croatia." - 16 June 2000)
  •  Slovakia : Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (2000)[11]
  • Prize of Romanian Academy (1980)
  • European Statesman of the Year Prize (1998), East West Institute, New York
  • 'Aristide Calvani' Prize for Peace, Democracy and Development of the Christian Democratic International, Paris (1998)
  • Coudenhove – Kalergi European Prize, Vienna, 1998
  • Award of the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI) (1999)
  • Palmas Academicas, awarded by the Brazilian Faculty of Letters, Rio de Janeiro (2000)
  • NIRAM ART Prize - Trophy "Ambroise Vollard" for the European Generation Foundation work that is aimed at professional and moral formation of a Romanian elite (2011), Madrid
  • Gusi Peace Prize, Manila, the Philippines (2013)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, and the trophy “Peace through Culture and Education” (2013)
  • Prize “Black Sea Caspian Sea for strengthening tolerance and cultural diplomacy in BSCSIF member counties”, Istanbul, Turkey, (2014) Denmark : Order of the Dannebrog

'National Orders and Medals' A. National Orders:

  • Legion of Honour, Great Cross, French Republic
  • Saint Michael and Saint George Order, Great Cross, United Kingdom
  • Order of the Elephant, Denmark
  • Saint Olaf Order, Great Cross, Norway
  • Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria
  • White Rose of Finland, Collar, Republic of Finland
  • Order Infante Dom Henrique, Collar, Portuguese Republic
  • Cross of the South, Collar, Federal Republic of Brazil
  • Saviour Order, Great Cross, Hellenic Republic
  • State Decoration, Republic of Turkey
  • Stara Planina Order, with Ribbon, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Aztec Eagle Order, Collar, United States of Mexico
  • Double White Cross Order, Republic of Slovakia
  • King Tomislav Order, Collar and Great Star, Republic of Croatia
  • Skanderberg Order, Republic of Albania
  • Sun of Peru, Great Cross with Brilliants, Republic of Peru
  • Independence Order, Collar, Qatar
  • Yaroslav the Wise Order, 1st Class, Collar, Ukraine
  • Order of the Republic of Moldavia


  • Medals conferred by the National Institute of Sciences and Arts in France (1995), Paris–Sorbonne University and the University in Amsterdam
  • Medal of Athens, 1997
  • 1998 International Democracy Medal, conferred by the Center for Democracy, Washington
  • Arthur Bertrand Medal, conferred by the Academy of Sciences, Institut de France, 1999
  • George Kastrioti Skanderberg Medal, Republic of Albania, 1999
  • Bethlehem 2000 Medal, conferred by Palestinian National Authority
  • Golden and honorific medals from Comenius University in Bratislava; Caroline University in Prague and from the University in Sao Paolo (2000)
  • Jozsef Attila Medal, conferred by the Szeged University, Hungary
  • Medal of European Parliament
  • Official Annual Medal of His Holiness Pope John Paul II


  1. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". World Justice Project. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". East West Institute. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ Robert Forrest, "Constantinescu, Emil (1939-)", in Bernard A. Cook (ed.), Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p.221. Taylor & Francis, 2001, ISBN 978-081534-057-7
  4. ^ http://www.constantinescu.ro
  5. ^ (Romanian)La zece ani
  6. ^ (Romanian) Emil Constantinescu: Discursurile lui Băsescu sunt asemănătoare celor ale foştilor lideri totalitarişti
  7. ^ (Romanian) Emil, apel către intelectuali: Asumaţi-vă eşecul moral şi lepădaţi-vă de răul absolut care este Băsescu!
  8. ^ "International Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Iliescu si Constantinescu au primit Emblema de Onoare a Armatei" (in Romanian). Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Dostluk İlişkilerine Katkının Altın Sembolü: Devlet ve Cumhuriyet Nişanları (Turkish) - The Gold Symbol Contribution of Friendly Relations : State and Republic Orders". Haberler.com. February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Slovak republic website, State honours : 1st Class in 2000 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)


  • Ion Alexandrescu, Stan Stoica, România după 1989. Mică enciclopedie, Editura Meronia, București, 2005
  • Tom Gallagher, Furtul unei națiuni. România de la communism încoace, Editura Humanitas, București, 2004
  • Dan Pavel, Iulia Huia, <<Nu putem reuși decît împreună.>> O istorie analitică a Convenției Democratice, 1989-2000, Editura Polirom, Iași, 2003