Promoting peaceful transformation with an entrepreneurial spirit
Success for Tatiana Soldatova is mainly a matter of “personal willingness and the capacity to make things work.” Yet in Moldova, her country, the post-Soviet legacy has created serious obstacles and aggravated old issues. Tatiana cites the Transnistrian Conflict as an example that leaves an ongoing “tone of political turbulence.” The region, which surrounds the Dniester River, lies near the border with Ukraine. Russians and Ukrainians settled there after World War II, and despite the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Russian military still maintains troops there, creating troubling notions of identity among citizens. “The conflict strictly relates to the stored arsenal situation…a heritage from the Soviet Union,” Tatiana says. A large weapon stockpile poses a catastrophic threat from poorly maintained materiel, including rocket launchers with a range that could include the capital of Chisinau where Tatiana and her family live. It has roused dissident groups and is a destabilizing factor for the region and beyond. Political corruption and separatism further impede progress in Moldova.
However, young people like Tatiana are determined to build a sustainable future with opportunities to unlock personal as well as national potential. When she was seventeen, Tatiana volunteered at the newly established Pro Marshall Center of the Republic of Moldova, which is supported by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. It promotes democratic ideals, goodwill, and rule of law while consolidating stability and security through international cooperation. It also promotes the Marshall Plan and seeks to bring Moldova into the process of European integration. To that end, Tatiana has helped them organize informative and scientific events, conferences, workshops, symposia, seminars, and congresses as she has continued with the Pro Marshall Center throughout college.
At the Academy of Economic Studies in Chisinau, she is majoring in international economic relations, always making room for progressive activities. She volunteered for the National Association of Young Managers, which she credits in part with developing her leadership profile in order to impact society in a positive way. That same year she squeezed in membership in the Young Researchers Club, leading to her presentation at an international symposium on the natural gas market in relation to dependence on Russia. Additionally, she participated in the Municipal Scientific Conference, earning a diploma of first degree in history.
Without dropping any of her ongoing participation, she added another major commitment the following year, that of AIESEC, the largest youth-run organization in the world. Its advisors are affiliated with the UN and other NGOs. AIESEC aims to provide young people with the leadership tools to help create a better future, emphasizing sustainability, diversity, and other high standards. Adding another dimension to her leadership profile, Tatiana went on to organize the AIESEC Next Step Project. She also joined an economic development program called LEADER, provided by the renowned Richard Ivey School of Business. The program taught current entrepreneurial concepts with hands on analysis of actual business challenges and successes. As a leader and facilitator within the program, Tatiana was responsible for goal-setting, helping to integrate international trainees, and smooth logistical operations. She further helped raise participants’ awareness of cultural diversity and the future outlook in specific careers, and she stressed motivation and initiative in contributing to better conditions and intercultural communication. “Young people are the key decision-makers and agents of change,” she says.
The year before attending HSI, Tatiana participated in an International Exchange, “Winds of Change,” before adjusting her schedule to continue with LEADER and focus more on the Pro Marshall Center as a project assistant where she organized activities aimed at national security, conflict transformation, terrorism, and corruption prevention. This led to her first employment as a monitor for the National Anticorruption Monitoring Project.
“I am very ambitious,” Tatiana says, “and the changes and adjustments ahead do not frighten me. They challenge me.” Her director at the Pro Marshall Center believes she will contribute to global solidarity, peaceful transformation of conflict, the promotion of democratic ideals, and goodwill.