Georgia Southern foreign languages faculty member presented with medal from home country

The medal was bestowed to Amarie for her translation work and promotion of Moldovan cultural values abroad for the Republic of Moldovan. "The medal was actually created this year for the anniversary of Alexei Mateevici's birth," Amarie said. "This medal is for literary and religious studies because Mateevici was a poet and a priest."

Shiann Sivell

French professor Olga Amarie, Ph.D., recently received the Alexei Mateevici Commemorative Medal.

The medal was bestowed upon Amarie for her translation work and promotion of Moldovan cultural values abroad.

“The medal was actually created this year for the anniversary of Alexei Mateevici’s birth,” Amarie said. “This medal is for literary and religious studies because Mateevici was a poet and a priest.”

Alexei Mateevici (1888-1917) was a poet, Greek language teacher and priest from eastern Bessarabia who served in WWI. Bessarabia was once part of the Russian Empire but is now part of the Republic of Moldova.

One of Amarie’s transcribed works, “The Word: The ABC of the Young Creator,” features poems by Mateevici, one of which caused some controversy in Moldova.

“It was censored by the communists,” Amarie said. “One of the stanzas [was] removed because it said ‘our language is sacred.’ [The communists] didn’t want to deal with any religious associations.”

After WWII, Moldova switched alphabets from Latin characters to Russian-imposed Cyrillic characters. When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1982, Moldova switched back to Latin characters.

“Language is [still] a very sensitive topic for Moldovans,” Amarie said. “People were divided. They didn’t know which language to speak. Half of the country would say that they speak Moldovan, where the other half would say they speak Romanian.”

Amarie said she did not know that she was going to receive the medal and that she felt honored.

“It gives me energy every time I think about my country, my home,” Amarie said. “If I recite one of [Mateevici’s] poems, it gives me wings to work and do something.”

Recently, Amarie translated “Soulful Travels through Childhood,” an autobiography by Ioan Găină, with assistance from Margaret Geddy, a graduate English major at GS.

“As she was translating [the book], she would send me the English version,” Geddy said. “I would go through it sentence by sentence and smooth out any of the confusions that happen when you translate from a different language.”

Amarie and Geddy said they are currently looking for a publisher in the United States to publish the autobiography.

Shiann Sivell, The George-Anne Enterprise Reporter, [email protected]