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25 YEARS FREE BULGARIA

The Sofia Platform initiative “25 years free Bulgaria” celebrates the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev. Download the initiative’s catalogue containing all activities related to the project and an essay collection from prominent historians, researchers, writers, public and intellectual figures. Below you can find the events which were part of the project.

25 years ago, in November 1989 the Berlin Wall that materialized the bipolarity of the world and depicted a division between free and unfree, just and unjust, open and repressed, collapsed within a night. With it collapsed the communist regimes in a number of countries in Eastern Europe and its people looked forward with hope and enthusiasm to a unified Europe in which they have always belonged, both culturally and historically.

Anniversaries have a lot to do with the culture of remembrance. And while in other parts of Europe 2014 was marked by the 100th anniversary of the “Great war”, for us, Eastern Europeans the fall of the Berlin Wall was a good moment to draw a balance-sheet – 25 years ago a regime fell, which had enforced inhumane political standards, had led to social and economic catastrophe of whole regions and states. What went right and what went wrong in the years of transition from a totalitarian rule to pluralism and democracy?

While memory and interpretations, when not codified, tend to be subjective, we were privileged enough to be able to invite to this conversation about our recent past key figures, who took part in the events in 1989 and beyond. And although there are many personal stories, we tried to set a sequence of indisputable facts and key events. Because without rationalization of the recent history, we take a risk of mystifying the past and lose our guideline in the present and the future.

The ambition of this initiative and its side-events was while marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, to take another step towards restoring trust in the Bulgarian society, which has hardly been more polarized and the political debate more deprived of strategic perspective and basis for national consensus. Differentiating the democratic values and principles from the realities of the anti-humane communist regime is fundamentally important for united Europe. It doesn’t matter if we look towards the past or in the future, where we stand in the political spectre, what is our social status, what are our incomes and what is our way of living.

Remembrance and Culture

The initiative “25 Years Free Bulgaria” was launched with a public screening of the film “The Lives of Others”. It was showed in Plovdiv on 13th September 2014 and in Sofia on 20th September 2014.

The Lives of Others 4

 

The cultural events included also “Documentary movies programme” in partnership with Odeon Cinema and the Bulgarian National Film Archive. The programme included free entrance shows of seven Bulgarian documentaries, related to the transitional period.

poster-odeon Odeon screening

Free screenings in partnership with cultural institutes in Sofia: the Polish Institute, the Hungarian Cultural Center and the Czech Center. The programme included Bulgarian and foreign features and documentaries, 11 in total.

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The exhibition “1989: Now and Then” featured the winning posters from the contest organized in cooperation with the National Academy of Arts on the topic “25 Years Free Bulgaria.” The open-air exhibition was located on the so-called “Bridge of the Beloved” near the National Palace of Culture in Sofia and was launched on October 18. The exhibition was also showed in Ruse, Burgas, Plovdiv and Smolyan.

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“Breaks in the wall – portraits of prisoners from Belene”

This exhibition featured portraits of Belene prisoners drawn in the period 1948-1953 by their fellow inmate – Petar Baychev. The opening took place at the National Art Gallery on the symbolic date November 10, which is considered for the start of the democratic transition in Bulgaria after the communist leader Zhivkov was displaced.

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De-Stalinization – the Dilemma of a Contradictory Decade (1953-1964)

The exhibition was realized as a joint initiative by the Committee for disclosing the documents and the Archives State Agency. The period of de-Stalinization is a dramatic part of the history of countries form the Eastern bloc, when a breakthrough in the Soviet model was for the first time hoped for, when the first acts of ‘rebellion’ against the communist regimes and the first break of the Iron Curtain took place. The exhibition followed the internal and international aspects of the de-Stalinization process in Bulgaria and the rest of the countries from Eastern Europe, disclosing historical documents that had not been publicly shown until this moment.

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“The Concert of Freedom” as the largest public event of the initiative was organized on November 1 at the symbolic square at the “St. Alexander Nevsky” cathedral, where the major concerts in the 90s and protests of the democratic forces took place. Performances were given by the Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria, the jazz duo Vlado Radulov and Ventsi Blagoev, the youth bands CRUSH and Revolution Z, the well-known Valdi Totev, Vania Kostova, Milena and Vasko the Patch with his Poduene Blues Band.

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Education in Transition

The educational strand of the initiative “25 years free Bulgaria” aims to address this knowledge deficiency among youngsters and attract their involvement in the reflections on the recent past.  Nationwide, а team of renowned lecturers gave open lessons and discussed with both students and teachers a variety of historical topics of their interest and concern. The lessons shed light on a diverse array of issues related to the communist period and the 25 years of transition in Bulgaria. Within three months we covered more than 30 destinations with lecturing styles differing among the speakers and ranging from more traditional narrative style to highly interactive formats.

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History

Today, 25 years after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the complex trajectory of the Bulgarian transition toward democracy is gradually becoming a subject of research in various disciplines including history, politics, social studies, anthropology and economics. The actual definition of the concept and periodization of the transition itself is not yet certain, and remains a matter of interest for further research. Of course, the Bulgarian case cannot be considered in isolation. It is a part of a causality order, following on from Gorbachev’s Perestroika and the state of international relations at the end of the Cold War. With this context the initiative organized an international research conference at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” on December 13th-14th, 2014.

The monument of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was unveived on 11 November 2014 in the presence of President Rossen Plevneliev and former Presidents Zhelyu Zhelev and Petar Stoyanov. Georgi Markov, a dissident author and journalist who defected to the West in 1969 and worked for Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle and the BBC World Service, was assasinated in London in 1978, the assasination widely suspected to have been the deed of the communist secret services. The unveiling of the monument, located in Sofia’s Journalist Square, marked the 80th year since the birth of Markov, who at the time of his murder was only 49.

Georgi Marov Monument

Bulgarian dissidents and individuals repressed by the communist regime were awarded the Civil Duty Award – first rank by President Rosen Plevneliev. The awards were bestowed for significant contribution to the establishment and strengthening of civil society, to the development of democratic institutions and the protection of human rights and freedoms in Bulgaria.

The following individuals were awarded: Alfred Foskolo, Sabri Iskenderov, Todor Tsanev, Georgi Saraivanov, Petar Manolov, Zeynep Kelesh, Blagoy Topuzliev (1946-2010), Vasil Uzunov (1947-1994), Stefan Valkov (1925 – 2012), Georgi Zarkin (1940-1977), father Dimitar Ambarev (1944- 2014), Dimitar Vlaychev (1942-1972), Eduard Genov (1946-2009), Kostadin Sabev (1930-2014), prof. Yordan Todorov (1920-1996), Rumiana Uzunova (1936-1995), Nuri Adali (1922-2004).

Order awarding

International Events

The largest international public event that took place within the initiative “25 Years Free Bulgaria” was the conference “Dealing with the Past while looking to the Future”.

The conference was done in partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations and with the support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Hanns Seidel Stiftung and Friedrich Ebbert Stiftung.

The memory about communism is fading away, and it isn’t replaced by knowledge about the criminal regime, but by crawling mythologization and distortion. And the public nostalgia for the recent past seems like a reaction and assessment of the unsuccessful transition.” Capital Weekly.

International conference “Dealing with the Past while Looking to the Future”: day one and day two

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“Liminal Crossing” is the reenctment of moving a piano through the Bulgarian-Turkish border at the peak of the so called “Big Excursion” – the forced migration of Bulgarian Turks from Bulgaria to Turkey in the summer of 1989. Ergin’s two-screen video instalation is made in 2009, 20 years later, on the same spot – the border crossing point Kapitan Andreevo, and comments on these events through the lens of contemporary art. Ergin Cavusoglu is one of the most interesting artists on the European cultural scene today. His biography and its Bulgarian dimensions can help us rethink some of the most controversial moments in the history of the previous regime. He is a significant author on the regional Balkan scene, his works impactful both in Bulgaria and Turkey, constantly interpreting the geopolitical cliches. Ergin studied art at the Sofia Art High school, and later in Marmara University, Turkey. Today he lives and teaches in London.
His installation was presented at the premises of and in cooperation with the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate.

The Institute for Culture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bulgaria has been a partner throughout the entire initiative.
The Tenth Annual Festival of Bulgarian Film in New York - So(fia) Independent - New York started on November 19th, 2014 at Tribeca Cinemas in Manhattan. The Festival was dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall and the resulting democratic changes in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria. So Independent Film Festival - New York is organized by the Foundation for Bulgarian Culture Abroad, the Bulgarian National Film Center, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the support of Bulgaria - America Cultural Exchange, Inc. On 4th December in New York the Institute for Culture organized a discussion on the topic of cinema and changes after 1989 as a part of the festival’s framework and the one of the initiative “25 Years Free Bulgaria”.

In the media

In July 2014, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) as the main media partner of the initiative “25 Years Free Bulgaria” started a Traveling Summer Cinema with its own production movies focusing on the transition period. Under the brand of the initiative, the programme included the movies “Zift,” “Sneakers,” “Ave,” “TILT,” “Mila from Mars,” “Shelter,” and “Monkeys during the winter.” For the period of two months (July – beginning of September) the Travelling Summer Cinema had 32 screenings throughout the country with an estimated total of 10-12 thousands viewers. In October-December 2014 BNT broadcasted the official video of the campaign “25 Years Free Bulgaria”, as well as “The Concert of Freedom” in full.

Public Debates

The official launching of the book by Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev “Myths and Legends about the Bulgarian Transition” took place in the Aula of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. The event was organized by publishing house “Ciela”. The author Dimitar Bochev made the introduction to the presentation and moderated of discussion. With this book Dr. Zhelev aimed to accomplish a rather immodest task – i.e. to help detect the major truths about the Bulgarian transition by deciphering the lies, illusions and delusions.

Five public debates covering five different parts of the country were organized with the support of Friedrich Naumann Stiftung and local partners. Those took place in September and October in five university cities of Bulgaria (Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv and Ruse) and discussed the results from the public opinion poll.

National opinion poll

The national representative public opinion survey “The Transition: Myths and Memory 25 years later” was conducted among 1200 Bulgarian citizens over the age of 16 through direct interview at their homes. The interview included a stratified group by type of settlement with sample quota on the main socio-demographic indicators – gender, age, education.

The research team agreed on the conclusion that retrospection about communism and the transition could not be put an end to, and is not limited to the collective memories and expectations in one specific time frame. This could be achieved only when doing a complete and comprehensive analysis of all archive documents from that specific period: the judicial, legal, constitutional and economic model, the cultural layers, media and others, an analysis which is be yet to be done. The main aim of the survey is not to tell the ‘truth’ about the transition, but to reveal the ‘white gaps’, the contradictions and differing versions of our newest history, which are looking for an explanation and raise urgent questions.

Advisory board

Chairperson: Zhelyo Zhelev (1935 – 2015), President of Bulgaria (1990 - 1997)
He was born on 3 March 1935 in Veselinovo, Shumen. He was head of the department “Culture and Personalities” in the Culture Institute. In 1965 he was excluded from the Communist party as an anti-Marxist. In 1982 he published the book “Fascism”, which was forbidden because it highlighted similarities between the socialist and the fascist regimes. He initiated the creation of a Club for Glasnost and Democracy. He co-established and was the first head of the party of the United Democratic Forces. He was appointed as a president of the Republic after the resignation of Petar Mladenov. In 1992 he became the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Bulgaria. In 2001 he became chairman of the Balkan Political Club. President Zhelev died on 30th January 2015.

Co-chairperson: Todor Kavaldzhiev, Vice President of Bulgaria (1997 – 2002)
He was born on 26 January 1934 in Glavan, Stara Zagora. He was imprisoned in Belene twice. He was member of the 7th Grand National Assembly. He was secretary of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union.

Deputy Chairperson/ Secretary General: Rumyana Kolarova, Minister of Education (2014) and former secretary of the President of Bulgaria.

She is the Head of the postgraduate program “European Integration” in Sofia University. She teaches comparative politics and European Integration. Since 2011 she has been chairwoman of the Managerial Council of the Center for Women’s Studies and Politics. Since 2000 she has been a member of the Council of Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. She has written extensively for academic publications.


Anastasia Mozer is a Bulgarian politician, daughter of G. M. Dimitrov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and a member of the parliament. She was born on 30 June 1937 in Sofia. She emigrated in the US in 1962. She has a Ph.D. in philology from George Washington University. She was an associate at the World Bank and the Center for Hellenic Studies. She was an editor, speaker and author of “Voice of America”.

Blagovest Sendov is a politician, diplomat and an academic. He was born on 8 February 1932 in Asenovgrad. He was a professor of Numerical Analysis in the Sofia University. He is the author of more than 200 academic publications, 7 treaties and 30 textbooks. He was Head of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences from 1988 to 1991. He was a candidate for the post of President in 1992. He was Chairman of the National Assembly from 1995 to 1997. He was an ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2009.

Deyan Kyuranov is a human rights activist, a member of the Board of “Ecoglasnost”. Born and based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Holds PhD in philosophy, Sofia University (1986). He has worked as Assistant Professor at the Sofia University 1980-1984; interpreter (English, French, Russian, 1984); manual worker (mining brigade, 1985-1986). Co-founder of opposition groups (1986-1989).Beginning of 1989 he designed and directed polls and surveys in political anthropology for Bulgaria and the Balkans; continues same currently as Program Director at the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia. Director of Research at the European Roma Rights Center, Budapest, 1998-1999. Director of the Belarus Project of the Open Society Fund, 2002-2012.

Edvin Sugarev is a poet and a politician. He was born on 27 December 1953. He taught Bulgarian literature at Sofia University and at Plovdiv University. He was an editor of “Most” and “Literaturen Vestnik”. In 1989 he was an activist of Ecoglasnost. He was also a member of the parliament. Since 2002 he had been a research fellow at the Literature Institute at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He left in 2010 and started teaching at the New Bulgarian University.

She teaches at the American University in Bulgaria and is an initiator of Movement for Teaching Communism as Part of History at School. She has published works on Bulgarian history, including the Communist era. Her interests include Bulgaria since it has been an independent country, what happened with the Bulgarian intellectuals between the two World Wars, the Cold War at the Balkans and the period of regime transition. In 2013 she lectured at the Library of the Congress, the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, the University of Harvard and the University of Princeton.

Evtim Kostadinov is chairman of the Committee for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian citizens to the State Security and Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army. He was born on 11 November 1959. From 2005 to 2007, he was Member of Parliament from BSP, elected from the region of Dobrich.

He was born on 31 March 1955 in Sofia. He was the chairman of the Board of UDF. In 1991 he became a Prime Minister of a minority Cabinet. From 1997 to 1998 he was representative of Bulgaria at the UN. Up to 2001 he was the Bulgarian ambassador to the US. In 2010 he was appointed to run the Permanent Representation of the EU in Georgia.

Georgi Bliznashki is Prime Minister of Bulgaria (2014). He is a professor of constitutional law, former politician of BSP and its coordinator for Sofia region at the early 1990s. At the moment he is not a member of a political party. He was born on 4 October 1956 in Skravena. He specialized in the UK and Russia. He was a lecturer at the Law Department of Sofia University. He is the author of books and academic articles. He was a member of the Board of BSP and a MP at the European Parliament.

Georgi Lozanov is a Bulgarian expert in media and journalism. Currently, he is chairman of the Council of Electronic Media. He was born on 26 April 1958 in Sofia. He was deputy editor-in-chief of “Kultura” and editor-in-chief of “Pet Zvezdi” and “Egoist”. He ran the Department of Print and Publishing at Sofia University. He has been a member of the Bulgarian media regulator since its establishment. He is the chairman of the jury of the Helikon Prize for contemporary Bulgarian prose and the jury of the festival “The Eight Muse”. He is a member of the jury of the “Vik” prize and many others.

Georgi Pirinski is a Bulgarian politician of BSP. He was born on 10 September 1948 in New York. In 1947 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Trade. From 1990 to 1996 he was deputy chairman of BSP. He was deputy PM at Georgi Atanasov’s Cabinet and the second mandate of Andrei Lukanov. He was Minister of the Foreign Affairs and chairman of the National Assembly.

Georgi Saraivanov received death sentence by the Communist regime in 1954, when he was 23, for sabotaging the regime. His sentence was changed to 20 years of which he spent 9 in the prison. Afterwards he made four attempts to run away from Bulgaria and he succeeded at the fifth. He lived in West Germany for 24 years with his family. Afterwards he came back to Bulgaria.

Hristo Hristov  is an investigative journalist, author of books about State Security, awarded with many prizes. From 1991 to 1997 he was judicial journalist. In 1997 he became head of the Department of Internal Information and in 2000 – special correspondent of “Democracy”. Up to 2009 he was an investigating journalist at “Dnevnik”. In 2011 he founded the website www.desebg.com. He specialized at “Guardian” and the International Centre for Journalists in Washington.

Ivaylo Znepolski is a philosopher, culturologist, politician, and film critic and university lector. He was born on 5 August 1940 in Sofia. In 1971 he acquired a PhD in art studies. In 1982 he acquired a PhD in philosophy. He was a lecturer at Sofia University and a guest lecturer in Paris. In 1999 he co-founded the Musee de l’Europe. He is a member of the Senate of the European Cultural Parliament. He is a member of the Council of Europe and of the project Link Diversity. In 2005 he founded the Institute for Studies of the Recent Past.

Koprinka Tchervenkova is editor-in-chief of “Kultura” newspaper. She was born on 18 October 1947 in Sofia. She has been working at “Kultura” since 1975 and she has been its editor-in-chief since 1990. She is a member of the Club for Glasnost and Democracy. She took part of the breakfast with President François Mitterrand.

Krasen Stanchev is an economist, university lecturer and former MP. He cofounded the Institute for Market Economics. He has helped a great deal in developing the market reforms in Bulgaria. He is a member of the Bulgarian Macroeconomics Organization. He was an active member of Ecoglasnost.

Lilyana Drumeva is the chairman of the Union of the Repressed by the Communist Regime “Pamet”. She comes from a family repressed by the communist regime which rules out an academic career. She graduates in philology. Ms. Drumeva works her way up from a teacher to an advisor to a Head of Directorate at the Ministry of Education. She was an advisor to the caretaker Minister of Education in 2014.

Maksim Minchev is the director of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. He has worked in “Narodna Mladezh”, “Bulgarski Voi” and in the Military Department of BNR. In 1992 he became director of the press of the Atlantic Club. He is the author of more than 1000 publications on the Atlantic integration of Bulgaria. He has taken part in the saving of the Bulgarian physicians from Libya, the world meetings of Bulgarian media abroad, the visit of Pope Joan Paul II in Bulgaria and the first visit of an American president in Bulgaria.

Mihail Gruev is a Bulgarian historian and lecturer in contemporary Bulgarian history and ethnology at Sofia University. He was born on 25 October 1971 in Sofia. He was a professor at the Department of Bulgarian history at Sofia University. He is Head of the Department. He is a guest lecturer at Plovdiv University. He has also been guest lecturer in Munich, Saarbrücken and Belgrade.

Mihail Nedelchev is a Bulgarian scientist, historian, literature critic, culturologist, and politician. He was born on 17 July 1942 in Sofia. He was editor of “Literaturen Front” and “Rodna Rech”. He had worked at the Department of Literature Heritage of the publishing house “Bulgarski Pisatel”. From 1999 to 2010 he was Head of the Department of New Bulgarian Studies at NBU. Since 2010 he has been honorary professor at NBU. He was guest lecturer at the University of Saint Petersburg. He is chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Writers. He was a member of parliament at the 36th National Assembly.

Ognyan Minchev is Bulgarian political scientist, doctor of Sociology, director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies and chairman of the Management Board of the Bulgarian division of the organization “Transparency International”. Author of numerous analyzes of domestic and international policy. He was born on December 2, 1958 in Varna. He is a lecturer in Theory of the International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Sofia University. From 1999 to 2008 was the head of the department. He is chairman of the Institute for Regional and International Studies and head of the Board of the Bulgarian “Transparency International”.

Petko Ogoyski is a writer and politician. In 1950 he was sentenced to five years in prison for “hostile poems and conspirational activity”. He served that sentence in various prisons and concentration camps in Belene. He started studying at the History and Philology Faculty of the SSU, but another two years sentence in 1962 put an end to his studies. He was a member of parliament of the UDF (the quota of Bulgarian Agrarian National Union N. Petkov) in the VII Grand National Assembly. He is the author of essays, short stories, articles and aphorisms.

Petko Simeonov is a scientist and a politician, co-founder of the Union of Democratic Forces. He is a member of the Club for Glasnost and Perestroika, created on November 3, 1988. He took part in the Round Table. He was the first director of the newspaper “Democracy.” He was a UDF MP in the Seventh Grand National Assembly, where he founded and chaired the Committee on Demographic Policy, obscured by the next National Assembly. He left UDF in July 1991 with the first wave of “flaking”. He founded the Bulgarian Liberal Party. In 1996 he retired from active political activity.

Petar Stoyanov, a lawyer by profession, a politician and the second President of the Republic of Bulgaria (January 22, 1997 - January 22, 2002). He was born on May 25, 1952 in Plovdiv. He was a spokesman for the UDF in Plovdiv (1990), and a deputy Minister of Justice (1992). He was MP in the 37th National Assembly. During his presidential term, Bulgaria submitted its formal application for membership in NATO and began negotiating for EU accession.

Petya Kabakchieva holds a Ph.D. in Sociology at Sofia University. She is a Professor of Sociology, Sociology of Politics, Sociology of Inequalities. She researches communism and nationalism. She was born on September 20, 1956 in Sofia. Since 2007 has been head of the Department of Sociology in the Sofia University. She specialized in Germany, Belgium, Ireland, France and Austria.

Radoslav Yankulov, General Director of BNR. He was born on February 11, 1953 in Sofia. He has been working at BNR since 1976. He was head of “Express” Radio, Radio “99” and press service of the BFU. He was the director of the sports department of BBT. Since May 2013 he has been the General Director of BNR.

Svetoslav Ovcharov is a director and screenwriter. Professor at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts since 2008. Member of the European Film Academy. He was born in 1957 in Provadia.

Solomon Passy, Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001 to 2005); Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the 40th National Assembly of Bulgaria (2005-2009); MP from the National Movement for Stability and Progress (2005-2009); Chairman of the transparency and accountability of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly; Founder and President of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria. He was born on December 22, 1956 in Plovdiv. He was a research fellow in Mathematics and Computer Science at Sofia University and BAS (1984-1994).

Stefan Komandarev is a director, writer and producer. He is the director of “The World is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner”, the Bulgarian nomination for foreign language film at the Academy Awards. He was born in Sofia in 1966.

Vessela Tcherneva, political secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, USA in the period 2000-2003, Wider Europe Program Director at the European Council on Foreign Relations, London (2013 -), a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-2013), member of the Board of the Foundation “Sofia platform”. From 2004 to 2006 she worked as secretary of the International Commission on the Balkans. She has been a referent for Germany at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vladimir Levchev is a Bulgarian poet, novelist, journalist, politician, activist at Ecoglasnost and professor at the American University in Blagoevgrad. Before 1989 he was editor of the publishing house “National Culture” and issued the illegally printed in that period magazine “Voice”. He is the author of 14 books of poetry and four novels published in Bulgaria, as well as 5 books of poetry, published in the United States. From 1991 to 1994 he was deputy editor of the “Literary Gazette”. He was a lecturer of Literature and Writing at the University of Maryland, Montgomery College, George Washington University, American University (Washington) and the American University in Blagoevgrad.

Vyara Ankova is a television journalist and current CEO and chairman of the board of the Bulgarian National Television. She was born on February 5, 1966. She has been working in Television since 1991. She specialized in BBC and worked as a correspondent for CNN. She became news presenter in 1994. She is the 21st General Director of BNT. She was reelected to the post in 2013.

Yordan Sokolov is a lawyer, politician and statesman. Minister of the Interior, MP in the 37th, 38th and 39th National Assembly, chairman of the 38th National Assembly. He was born on January 18, 1933 in Sofia. From 1956 to 1958 he was Secretary to the arbitration. He was a member of the Lawyer Council for seven terms. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Union of Lawyers in Bulgaria. He was legal adviser to President Zhelev. He was appointed Minister of the Interior in the government of Philip Dimitrov. In 2004 was one of the MPs who founded the Party DSB, which he left in 2011.

Yordanka Fandakova (repr. by Todor Chobanov), has been the Mayor of Sofia since 2009 which made her the first woman at that post. She was born on November 23, 1962 in Samokov. She was a teacher and director of the school “Vladislav Gramatik” in Sofia. In 2005 she became deputy mayor of Sofia. In 2009 she became Minister of Education and Science. She won the elections for mayor of Sofia in 2009 and in 2011.