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Eliot Sorel’s lecture on President Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States: An enduring vision in the 21st century

Professor Eliot Sorel


It’s a good time to remember and reflect some wise words of the twenty-eighth President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson: “It is the object of learning, not only to satisfy the curiosity and perfect the spirits of ordinary men, but also to advance civilization”; “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty”; “The most dangerous thing for a bad cause is to expose it to the opinion of the world. The most certain way that you can prove that a man is mistaken is by letting all his neighbours know what he thinks… He will be afraid of their judgment of his character. He will know that his cause is lost unless he can sustain it by the arguments of right and of justice. The same law that applies to individuals applies to nations”.

Woodrow Wilson, the first American President who had ever visited Europe – in late 1918 to attend the Paris Peace Conference – while in office, envisioned an international system reformed by peaceful institutions, a future in which the international community could preempt another conflict as devastating as World War I, urging the Covenant of League of Nations as an international organization to mediate among nations and provide collective security for its members. He constantly pledged for a new way of dealing with international relations, involving a diplomacy proceeding frankly and in the public view. Woodrow Wilson (“Father of the League of Nations”) won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1919 (received in 1920) as the leading architect behind the League of Nations ( ).

President Wilson’s vision of collective security and national self-determination endures in the 21st century. This idea was underlined on December 16th, 2013 – at the Wilson House in Washington, DC (the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, a bridge between the worlds of academia and public policy), the leading institution for in-depth research and dialogue to inform actionable ideas on global issues – by Professor Eliot Sorel, who presented the Wilsonian Lecture on President Woodrow Wilson’s strategic vision for post-World War I Europe (as well as its consequences for Romania and implications for XX and XXI centuries, national self-determination, collective global security and economic development). A robust, thought provoking and action inviting dialogue followed after the very well received lecture, the event being attended by members of the diplomatic corps, academics, and policymakers. According to Professor Sorel, the 21st century challenges and opportunities (highlighted within the above mentioned context) beckon the contemporary and the next generation of global leaders to rise to the occasion and fashion a new global vision of collective security, national/regional self-determination, mutually beneficial economic development and prosperity.

Professor Eliot Sorel highlighted also recently: the catalytic role played by President Woodrow Wilson in leading the Paris Peace Conference that started in January 1919 and in successfully concluding the Versailles Treaty of June 1919 and the Trianon Treaty in June 1920; the superb performance of the Romanian delegation led by Queen Marie, Prime Minister Ion I.C. Bratianu and Minister Nicolae Titulescu at the Paris Peace Conference (during the antecedent six months and after).

A year ago, on April 9, 2015, Professor Eliot Sorel moderated – at The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC –  the event: “Between Byzantium and Brussels: The Politics of Orthodox Churches in the European Union”. Professor Eliot Sorel (Honorary President of the SANABUNA International Congress: “Health, Nutrition, Fitness and Wellbeing”) is an internationally recognized global health leader, educator, health systems policy expert and practicing physician (also Founder of the World Youth Democracy Forum at the Elliott School of International Affairs of the George Washington University). Professor Eliot Sorel, well-known as a catalyzer in promoting Romania’s culture in the United States of America (the Romanian monasteries, food, crafts, music and dance), initiated and led the so-called „Opening the Gates to Romania” project at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, in 1999. On that occasion, a wooden Maramures church was also build piece by piece on the National Mall in the center of Washington as part of the year 1999’s Festival. The world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian (founded in 1846), is a true steward and ambassador of cultural connections, its generous work wisely promoting understanding of world cultures.

On April 8, 2016, Professor Eliot Sorel – Senior Scholar, Clinical Practice Innovations, George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine & School of Public Health, Founder Conflict Management Section of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) – congratulated the Romanian-American University on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary.