Ion Caramitru, (79) the Balkan theater legend, Romania’s first Minister of culture after the fall of Ceaușescu, died in Bucharest last night after a short illness. His rich theatrical and film biography, as an actor and director, will remain in the records of the europeanization of the Balkans. He initiated the establishment of the theater network NETA, in direct cooperation with the former Minister of culture of Macedonia, Blagoj Stefanovski, and the former Minister of culture of Montenegro, Branislav Micunovic – Zaga.
After the bloody wars in the former Yugoslavia, 67 professional theaters joined NETA, not only from Yugoslavia, but also from all Balkan countries, realizing the dream that “the Balkans are the heart of Europe”.
His connection with Macedonia left inerasable mark, with his directorial creations at the National Theater in Bitola, and a number of performances at the Ohrid Summer. He presided the symposium “Hamlet in the History of Europe and the Balkans”, gatherring in Skopje all the great actors from the Balkans who played Hamlet. Instantly after that event, he was proclaimed Doctor Honoris Causa of the International University of Europa Prima. In addition, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award “Actor of Europe” at the International Theater Festival in Prespa 2016, while at the Festivals of the Southeast in Paris and Berlin, the same year he was named “SEE Actor”.
His Balkanophilia and commitment to European unity was crowned on October 29, 2017, at the National Theater of Romania in Bucharest, where he was director for many years, with the foundation of the ACADEMY BALKANICA EUROPEANA (http://www.ab-europeana.org) along with thirty distinguished artists from ten Balkan countries, working on a number of projects, affirming the Balkan culture in the European centers, especially through the website “The Bridges” (The Bridge).