Friday, 11 December, 19.00-21.00
The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre, Manchester Square, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6EQ; Tel. 020 7486 0295, ext 108; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Entry is free but booking is essential.
Hosted by Nicolae Ratiu, Chairman of the Ratiu Foundation
“On 16 December 1989, I was watching television news coverage at home featuring protests in Timisoara, when the telephone rang. It was a call from John Simpson, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent of BBC Television, inviting me to come down to the news centre in Wood Lane to discuss the situation in Romania.
On 20 December, after Ceausescu’s televised address to his people which was monitored by the BBC, John put me on the spot by asking, ‘Well, Dennis, is this the end for Ceausescu or not?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ ‘Right, then I’m off to Romania but I want you to be my anchor here in my office while I am away’, was his response.
On 29 December I left for Bucharest to join John. This presentation is based on my experiences there.” – Dennis Deletant
Dennis Deletant is Professor of Romanian Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London, and at the University of Amsterdam (on secondment). As a graduate of SSEES he studied on a British Council postgraduate scholarship for nine months in 1969, and thereafter visited the country frequently until 1988 when he was declared persona non grata as a result of his adverse comments on the Ceausescu regime in the British publishing and broadcasting media. At the end of December 1989, he returned to Bucharest as consultant to the BBC during the Romanian revolution. Between 1990 and 1999, he served on the advisory board of the British government’s Know-How Fund, set up to fund a transfer of expertise to Central and Eastern Europe in political, social, economic and charitable domains, and was actively involved in the Romanian aspects of its work; for this service he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1995.