We are American Romanian Cultural Society (ARCS) Arizona
Here to inspire and connect.

About us
ARCS Arizona wants to be an energizing participant in the vibrant multicultural scene of the Phoenix metropolitan area. One of our major goals is to weave more deeply and substantially the Romanian cultural spirit into the fabric of Greater Phoenix artistic life, by engaging local cultural and educational communities and institutions in collaborative events and programs.
We also aim to serve as a dynamic connection between the Arizona Romanian community and Romania’s contemporary artistic movements, other like-minded diasporic communities, and, more generally, all the people of Arizona.
We are hoping that our work will be especially appealing to those who love to be surprised, those who like to explore fresh perspectives, those who are eager to discover new worlds of meaning and experience, and those who constantly need unique formulas to nourish their minds and souls.

Our history
We started as the Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), in 2019, from a desire to showcase and promote Romanian culture in the communities where its founders and fellow Romanians live and work. This desire emerged from the strong confidence – reinforced by the worldwide recognition of Romanian artistic productions – that Romania’s culture can be an inspiring and powerful presence in Arizona, one of the most diverse states in the US.
For our first project, the Arizona Romanian Film Festival, we partnered up with the Making Waves festival to introduce you to The Romanians: 30 Years of Cinema Revolution. The retrospective was supposed to invite you to discover and examine the emerging forms of filmic expression that followed the fall of Communism.
Dubbed by the international critics as the New Romanian Wave, the movies created during the last 30 years share a minimalist approach peppered with a quirky black humor that will captivate your imagination. We expect you to experience what the New York Times film critic A. O. Scott did when he noted, “After a while, you feel you are living inside these movies as much as watching them.”

Unfortunately, even as we were ready to go in March 2020, we had to cancel the festival due to the pandemic. In 2020, we partnered with American Romanian Cultural Society (ARCS) from Seattle and the first edition of the Arizona Romanian Film Festival happened entirely online.
With its almost a decade of successful cultural programming, ARCS has become both a role model and a generous collaborator. In addition to the film festival, we worked together on a number of various projects and events.

In May 2022 we became ARCS Arizona. The name change emphasizes our association’s engagement in the ARCS network and its commitment to the collaborative, concerted effort to increase the visibility of the Romanian culture and Romanian diaspora in the US.

The Team


Marie-Louise Paulesc
Marie-Louise was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, where the 1989 revolution inspired her to become a communicator. After graduating as a journalist, she worked for the Romanian Ministry of Culture, the National Theatre in Cluj, HBO Romania, and Europa FM Radio Station.
Since 2005 she calls Arizona her home and since 2008, she is teaching at Arizona State University, where she got a master’s and a doctorate degree in Communication. Her involvement with Arizona ARCC is a labor of love; she wants the people around her to get richer by experiencing the Romanian art and culture that is such a big part of her soul.


Julie Paulesc
In November 1994, Julie quit her job at the French Cultural Center in the beautiful, vibrant Timisoara, in Western Romania to begin her American journey. Deeply in her heart, packed away, were experiences and memories, along with the sounds and smells of the city. In her suitcase, she carried masterpieces of Romanian literature. She also brought along the desire to share her culture, values and beliefs cross the ocean with the same fervor the French were sharing theirs in her native Romania.
After several years working in bilingual departments at Western Union and IBM, Julie earned her Master’s in French and Comparative Literature and PhD in English (Applied Linguistics) at Arizona State University. Since 2003 she has been teaching Romanian language and culture at ASU. For the past two years, Julie has been also teaching a course on digital storytelling with focus on issues of migration and identity. Her goal for partaking in the creation of AZ ARCC is to facilitate the spread of a love epidemic for Romania and its culture, and the understanding of the experiences and values of the Romanian-American diaspora.

Mircea Goia
Once a miner back in Romania, he became a self-taught web programmer who got to work remotely for a German company. He was also involved in the non-profit organizations scene in Romania for several years in his native small mining town of Lupeni, helping local kids achieve a higher status of knowledge.
In 2005 he immigrated to United States thanks to the Diversity Lottery Visa (which is a US government program). After wandering around in Washington DC and West Virginia he settled in Phoenix-Arizona because the job market was better and a warmer climate.
Here, while still working in the IT industry, he got involved in the local film industry scene helping several productions.
But he didn’t forget his native country and because his involvement in these two industries, IT and filmmaking, he tries to help Romania and Romanians from abroad to get more recognition of their work. That’s why he established RomanianStartups.com (an aggregator of the Romanian tech scene) and helped several Romanian film productions. That’s why he got involved in Arizona Romanian Film Festival too.


Stefan Popescu
Born in the middle of the last century in a wonderful country named Romania, Stefan went to school because he had to, he got his first Master’s Degree because he had to, he got married because he met Her, and he emigrated to Unites States because he wanted to offer his son a better life. For the last twenty something years he worked for the same Fortune 50 company, first on Wall Street and now in the Great Valley of The Sun.
Stefan has an acute and very personal sense of humor, he is a fine observer of the surrounding world, an eternal child at heart, has a lot of fun when he sees people making fools of themselves, and he is the first to laugh at himself when he does stupid things. Stefan likes to try all kind of good foods, drink a good single malt, and listen to good classic rock music. In weekends you can find him hiking the trails together with his wife and their huge mutt.
When Stefan was approached to help with Arizona Romanian Film Festival, he got on board to honor his beloved Mother’s memory who was a huge movie buff: in The Popescu family nobody even tried to remember an actor or a movie title, they had the Amalia Encyclopedia of Films.


Zoia Manolescu
She is a Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics and Translation at UTCB, Romania. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Bucharest, Romania, the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Education from the University of Lancaster, U.K., and the Certificate of Assessment in Language Learning from the University of Manchester, U.K. Starting with 1995 she served as the Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Communication at UTCB and in 2004, after founding the first non-literary Translation and Interpretation Specialization in Romania (undergraduate and graduate studies), she became the Director of the Department. She remained the promoter and the leader of the department for more than 20 years, commuting between Romania and USA and teaching in both countries.
Zoia Manolescu is an experienced researcher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry not only in Romania, but also in Europe and USA. She is skilled in nonprofit organizations, Intercultural Communication, ESL, Linguistics, as well as in Translation and Interpreting. She is also a Higher-education Quality Assurance Expert, a Language Editor, and a Grader for the American Translation Association. She is certified as a translator and interpreter by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Justice of Romania (English < > Romanian).
Her passion for movies determined her to join enthusiastically AZ ARCC and lend a helping hand to the creation of a cultural bridge between the Romanians and other communities in Arizona.

Future events


Stay tuned!

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Past events


Arizona Romanian Film Festival 2021 

Arizona Romanian Film Festival 2020/Canceled 


Mail-Order Family, Saturday May 14, 2022

Join us for a discussion with author Irina VanPatten about her latest book “Mail-Order Family”.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZItcO6srjwtGtIHYzeQRdLP6bFEB…

Moderator: Ileana Marin

About the book: Mail-Order Family, a proud 2nd Place Award Winner at The Spring 2022 BookFest (Book Festival) in the Humor/Non-Fiction/True Stories/Memoir Category is an unlikely love story that doesn’t follow the usual rules, and even defies geography. It’s a story about difficult times but also one of triumph and hope, even when people are literally two worlds apart!

Read more about Irina VanPatten’s book on her website: https://irinavanpatten.com/mail-order-family

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Mail…/dp/1598493108/ref=sr_1_1…

Read more about our guests on our website: https://www.arcsproject.org/project/mail-order-family/

Event organized by ARCS in partnership with Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), Immigration Research Forum, Bucharest Inside the Beltway, and Romanians of DC, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY/USA


Tethered to the Unexpected, Saturday, Apr 16, 2022

Join us for a poetry reading and discussion with poet Roxana Cazan about her latest book “Tethered to the Unexpected”.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZIvc…

Guest speakers: Clara Burghelea and Domnica Rădulescu

Moderator: Otilia Baraboi

About the book:

Tethered to the Unexpected is a lyrical treat despite its grim truth. Roxana Cazan offers a loving, lasting tribute to familial bonds though “some days the windows / don’t withstand the rain.” […] Beyond a body in decline, Roxana’s unassuming voice explores her grandmother’s life, tethered to her own, attempting to close the “distance / between home and crib.”– Ken Hada, author of Contour Feathers

Read more about Roxana Cazan’s book on her website: https://roxanalcazan.weebly.com/books.html

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Tethered-Unexpected…/dp/B09PP34HWB

Read more about our guests on our website: https://www.arcsproject.org/…/tethered-to-the-unexpected/

Event organized by ARCS in partnership with Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), Immigration Research Forum, Bucharest Inside the Beltway, and Romanians of DC, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY/USA


Writing on the Walls at Night, A Journey from Romania to the US, Saturday, March 26 2022 

Join us for poetry reading and discussion with poet Claudia Serea about her latest book “Writing on the Walls at Night”

Register HERE:


Guest speakers: Clara Burghelea and Adina Dabija

Moderator: Otilia Baraboi

About the book: In this new collection of prose poems, Claudia Serea uses surrealism, irony, and black humor to express her experiences, from growing up behind the Iron Curtain to immigrating to New York City. The first section of the book, “There Were No Magic Beans,” recalls her childhood in Romania under Nicolae Ceaușescu’s rule, a world in which terror mixes with fairy tales, nightmares, and dreams. The second section, “The Keepers of Moon Keys,” introduces a cast of peculiar characters, including folk tale protagonists, witches, ghosts, a collector of clouds, a bone music maker, a man who paints the time, and the Lord of Meanwhile. In “Dark Calligraphy,” the poet conjures history, remembering war and oppression through the eyes of a child. The reader is guided by a little girl and a museum custodian through the great traumas of recent history. In the last section of the book, “The Russian Hat,” Serea transports the reader into a metropolis as strange as the past she carries with her, to the “museum of our lives,” where “we are the curators, the visitors, and the paintings that paint themselves.” This astonishing place vaguely resembles New York City distorted by memories and dreams, but it might as well be Las Vegas where “what happens in the poem stays in the poem.” In this collection, Serea’s readers win “pound after pound of shiny poems,” the magical beans they will use to escape again and again, discovering hidden meanings with surprise and delight in each new reading.

Find out more about our guests from our website:


Event organized by ARCS in partnership with Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), Immigration Research Forum, Bucharest Inside the Beltway, and Romanians of DC, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY/USAa


Mărțișoare Workshop, Sunday Feb 27, 2022

Join us for a spring celebration -Mărțișor, March 1st.

Mărțișor is an old tradition celebrated every year on March 1st all over Romania, and the Republic of Moldova and also widely spread in Bulgaria and the Balkans. The name Mărțișor is a diminutive of March (Martie in Romanian). It is believed that the person who wears the red and white string would enjoy a prosperous and healthy year.

Register in advance for this event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZYudu…

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The workshop is destined for kids ages 7+, or younger, supervised by a parent.

Romanian artist and musician Beatrice Iordan will lead the workshop. Beatrice is a puppet artist, museum pedagogue at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, and she plays the cobza in the band “Trei Parale”. She also does shadow theater with “Hopa Trop”, her theater company, paints angels and – more than that – she believes that power and inspiration lie in ourselves, that we are our own mentor. You can find out more about her from this article in Romanian: https://viitorulromaniei.ro/…/beatrice-iordan-artist…

Event by ARCS, Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), and ARCS Detroit. 


Dream in a Suitcase: The Story of an Immigrant Life by Domnica Rădulescu, Saturday, Feb 5, 2022

What is in the suitcase of a refugee escaping from a politically oppressive regime? Drawing on Domnica Rădulescu’s recent memoir Dream in a Suitcase: The Story of an Immigrant Life, this event is an invitation to explore the multifaceted fabric of dreams and cherished memories immigrants bring to the US. Join us for a dialogue between the author and her special guests who share similar stories of exile, uprootedness and resilience.

Register for the event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZAvd…

About the book:

Dream in a Suitcase unravels a fast-paced journey of survival, resilience, and the power of love. The story offers a rich multicultural mosaic of a life divided not only between two cultures and languages, that of the heroine’s native Romania and her adoptive US but also between Chicago’s urban culture and that of a small town in Virginia marked by a heavy confederate history. This book is deeply relevant for our times as it offers an opportunity for American-born audiences to develop a deeper understanding for all those who arrived in this country as refugees in search of freedom, peace, and different versions of the American Dream.


“An extraordinary memoir of fortitude and freedom, a narrative that is vibrant and lyrical. Rădulescu takes us from Romania’s dark dictatorial past to the world of literature and beauty, back to the landscapes of her beloved native country, then to her new home in America, and always to the geography of the earth. This is an extraordinary read and a covenant to the power of truth and words.”

Marjorie Agosin, award-winning author of I Lived on Butterfly Hill.

“Domnica Rădulescu is a courageous writer. Dream in a Suitcase, like her other novels, is a breathless read.”

Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator, award-winning poet, and filmmaker.

Find out more about Domnica Rădulescu’s work:


Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Suitcase…/dp/1649795394/

Event organized by ARCS in partnership with Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), Immigration Research Forum, Bucharest Inside the Beltway, Romanians of DC, ARCHER, and Romanian United Fund, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY/USA.


Dor: a mode of translation, Saturday, Jan 22, 2022

Join us for a conversation about dor, a Romanian word that some find untranslatable, and the complex relationships it acquires in exilic relations. What does dor carry as baggage? How does dor change when looking back towards a homeland in an Ovidian gaze? Is there an intentionality in exilic dor that shapes the various Romanian diaspora groups? Why and how do we re-cognize ourselves in longing? How is nostalgia politicized, and how do translators deal with the larger context of so-called untranslatable concepts?

Our discussion will draw from Alina Ștefănescu’s book “DOR” (order HERE https://www.alinastefanescuwriter.com/dor) establishing a dialogue between the author and the personal experiences, reflections and writings of our special guests Adriana Oniță, Cristiana Grigore and Andrew Davidson-Novosivschei. Read more details about our guests in their bios below.

Register for the event HERE

Event organized by ARCS in partnership with Arizona American-Romanian Cultural Collaborative (ARCC), Immigration Research Forum, Romanians of DC and Bucharest Inside the Beltway, and with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY/USA.


The Romanian American National Heritage Award is an annual competition for high school students with Romanian heritage or background. Applicants of non-Romanian descent may qualify, as long as their work and experience relate to Romania or the Romanian community in the US. 

The award recognizes exceptional contributions to the cohesion of the Romanian community and the preservation of its heritage, language, culture and traditions.

Romanian American Heritage Awards are presented by the American Romanian Cultural Society  and Romanian United Fund, with the endorsement of the Embassy of Romania to the United States. With the support of ARCS Arizona and ARCS Detroit. The Award Ceremony will be hosted at the Alianța Gala on November 30th – December 1st. 

Please email us at contact@arcsproject.org if you want to join us as a community partner.

Recognition and Awards

All eligible participants will receive the official recognition of the Romanian Embassy in the United States and the top winners will receive scholarships of up to $500 dollars each. 

In the past years the award has helped the recipients distinguish themselves in their admission process to top colleges and institutions, such as Dartmouth College, Wesleyan University, Pitzer College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Whitman College, Purdue University, UW Honors, Harvard and many others. 


June 30 – Submission of Applications Opens

September 30 – Submission of Applications Closes

October 15 – Winners Announced 


​Age and residence: For the 2022 edition, participants must be enrolled in High School in United States for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Academic standing: Minimum unweighted High School GPA of 3.0 – or equivalent, running average for the last school year.

Team work: Both individuals and teams can participate in the competition. Participation in teams is encouraged. To encourage leadership and simplify the evaluation process, the maximum team size is 5, including the leader.


Citizenship requirements and fees

There are no Romanian or US citizenship requirements. There are no fees required. Participation in this competition is  free for eligible students.

Eligibility for national participants

The top 5 winners of the regional competitions advance to the national competition.

Evaluation criteria

The following criteria will be used in the evaluation process (not all criteria are required, but they will strengthen your application): 

1) Community work and leadership

The number of volunteering hours and their visible outcome and results will be a strong factor in the evaluation. Where applicable and possible, volunteering and community work in Romania (e.g. groundbreaking projects with children, youth and seniors from underprivileged social backgrounds, or religious and ethnic minorities) will receive the jury’s highest consideration. Please highlight this aspect in your application. 

Please provide a detailed description of your working experience, highlighting the ways in which your activity and leadership initiatives impacted the targeted community, strengthening its civic spirit and sense of unity.

2) Essay 

Please submit a short motivationalessay that will describe how your community work influenced your own personal growth and brought awarness to your bicultural and bilingual identity in the US. We strongly encourage applicants to model their essay from their college application essays, following a similar structure and attention to detail. The essay shall have no less than 200 words and no more than 650 words.

3) Recommendations from local community leaders

Your essay and recommendations (up to 2) will play an important role in the evaluation process. A formal letter is not required, a name and contact info (email and/or phone number) will be sufficient. The contest organizers will reach out to confirm the recommendations.

Romanian Heritage Connection

Applicants of any cultural background may qualify, as long as they are able to prove their interest, work experience and connection to Romania. 

Examples of such proof:

  • Passing an officially recognized Romanian language test – where available
  • An essay in Romanian 
  • Volunteer work in Romania


Romanian Heritage Awards



Stay tuned for the second edition of the Arizona Romanian Film Festival, November 2022!

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news about our events!

Dear friends,

After the pandemic cut short our plans to launch the first edition of the Arizona Romanian Film Festival in 2020, we are back at work. With the generous support of our wonderful and more seasoned partners, ARCS (click to see) and The Romanian Film Festival in Seattle, we are happy to announce a two-week feast of films, events, and encounters with both more established and younger movie creators.

In addition to Seattle and Phoenix, the festival will also be presented in Detroit, by a newly-formed sister organization, ARCS Detroit (click to see).

Stay tuned to find out more about our exciting partnerships, line-up, guests, and the schedule of events.


Tickets + Festival Passes are on sale now through NWFF’s Eventive virtual cinema platform!


Want to watch a single film in this festival? You're looking for a ticket!



Want to watch several films in this festival? You're looking for a pass!


Thank you all for your continuous support! We are especially grateful to our donors last year who will now see their generosity bearing fruits.

Arizona Romanian Film Festival Team


Arizona Romanian Film Festival

You want to support us?
It’s painfully easy, tax deductible, and it will make you feel good.

Tax deductible donations, transfers, and gifts
Arizona ARCC is a public charity and is exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code, Section 501 (c) (3). Donors can deduct the contributions they make to us under IRC Section 170. We are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers and gifts under Section 2055, 2106, or 2522.

Donate with Paypal (you don’t need to have a Paypal account)

Checks are welcome too! Please address them to:
Arizona ARCC
843 N Blue Marlin Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85234You want to do wire transfer? That works as well. Contact us to ask for info at arizona.arcc@gmail.com or contact@azarcc.org
You want to volunteer or send us a word of encouragement? Get in touch at arizona.arcc@gmail.com or contact@azarcc.org



(480) 442-1873


Arizona ARCC
843 N Blue Marlin Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85234



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