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On May 3 and 4, 2017, was held the seventh UNESCO NGO Forum. UNESCO’s partnership with non-governmental organizations representing civil society is a very valuable network of people-to-people cooperation in the areas of UNESCO’s competence for development, equality, international understanding and peace. The event, which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was dedicated to youth and their social impact, bringing together the record number of 2000 participants from 70 countries.

The forum was opened with a video message by Mrs. Irina Bokova, General Director of UNESCO, followed by greetings from the H.E. Dr. Ali Nasser Alghafis, Minister of Labor and Social Development of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Eric Falt, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and Mr. Philippe Beaussant, Chairperson of the UNESCO-NGO Liaison Committee.


Mr. Eric Falt and Mr. Philippe Beaussant during the opening

Among the speakers at the forum were prominent individuals like Mr. Jacques Attali, French economist, financier and philosopher, Mr. Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, Mr. Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, Mr. John Defterios, CNN journalist, Mr. Carl Lewis, athlete with nine gold and one silver medals from Olympics, Mr. Bader AlAsaker, MiSK Foundation Secretary General and others.


Mr. Jacques Attali,
French economist, financier and philosopher
Mr. Justin Smith,
CEO of Bloomberg Media Group

Mr. Lyubomir Duranchev, International Projects Expert represented Sozopol Foundation at the prestigious international forum.

Mr. Lyubomir Durankev, International Projects Expert at Sozopol Foundation

Mr. Lyubomir Durankev participated actively in the panel discussions, introducing a number of participants with the contribution of the Sozopol Foundation to the inclusion of youth in the international cooperation for preservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage.


Mr. Lyubomir Durankev with representatives of non-governmental organizations
in partnership with UNESCO

Mr. Duranchev held talks with Mr. Philippe Beaussant, Chairperson of the UNESCO-NGO Liaison Committee, Mrs. Martine Levy, former Chairperson of the UNESCO-NGO Liaison Committee in 2015-2016, Mr. Diego Gradis, member of the Committee in 2013-2016, and with the current Committee members Mr. Shen Che, Mr. Richard Apeh and Ms. Victoria Lovelock. Future opportunities for cooperation between non-governmental organizations for the development and implementation of projects with a focus on youth and sustainable development were discussed.

A memorandum of cooperation between Sozopol Foundation and China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA), a member of the UNESCO-NGO Liaison Committee, was signed during the forum.

Mr. Lyubomir Durankev, International Projects Expert at Sozopol Foundation and
Mr. Shen Che, President of China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA)
with the memorandum of cooperation between the two organizations

The forum was closed with a speech by Mrs. Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO

On 21 April 2017 Sozopol Foundation was informed by Marc-Andre Dorel, Acting Chief, NGO Branch, that the examination of its application for consultative status at the Council would be held during its 2017 Resumed Session in New York, scheduled for 22-31 May, 2017.

UN Building in New York, USA

During the Resumed Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Sozopol Foundation will be presented by Mr. Boris Arnautski – International Relations and Projects Expert at the Foundation.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations will meet in Room 1 every day from May 22 to May 31.

Conference Hall 1 of the UN Economic and Social Council

Sozopol Foundation, as the first Bulgarian non-governmental organisation, official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with two consecutive mandates as a member of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, carries out its active international activity in the direction of preserving the world’s natural and cultural heritage and providing an accessible environment for people with disabilities to this heritage.

The UNESCO building in Paris, France

The objectives and activities of Sozopol Foundation to improve the economic and social well-being of people in all countries of the world are fully in line with those adopted by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of ECOSOC:
– Division for sustainable development
– Social Development Division
– Population division

To all identified and implemented goals and activities Sozopol Foundation actively promotes, popularizes and represents the enormous importance and role of the United Nations in ensuring the realization of these so important for the people and nature global tasks, that increase the impact of the UN for supporting the countries to achieve the Goals of the Millennium for Development.

On March 22, 2017 in the hall of the Municipal Council of the town of Vidin, the Mayor of Vidin Eng. Ognyan Tsenkov and Chairman of the Management Board of Sozopol Foundation Mr. Kiril Arnautski signed a memorandum of cooperation.

The memorandum envisions cooperation between the two parties in the field of conservation, study and promotion of natural and cultural heritage sites, providing funding through participation in the Programme for Cultural Entrepreneurship, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Cooperation under the financial mechanism of the EEA 2014-2021 for the implementation of the project ‘Baba Vida Castle – the Danube gate through millennia’.


Eng. Ognyan Tsenkov and Mr. Kiril Arnautski

By signing the Memorandum eng. Ognyan Tsenkov, Mayor of the Municipality of Vidin received as a donation from Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Chairman of Sozopol Foundation project documentation for the conservation, restoration, adaptation and socialization of the medieval castle of Baba Vida.

Donation of the project documentation

The ceremony was attended by prof. Violeta Nesheva, Chief Scientific Consultant of Sozopol Foundation, prof. dr. arh. Nikolay Tuleshkov and arch. Lyubomir Stanislavov.

From left to right: arch. Lyubomir Stanislavov, eng. Ognyan Tsenkov, Mr. Kiril Arnautski,
prof. Violeta Nesheva and prof. dr. arh.Nikolay Tuleshkov

Prof. Doctor of Historical Sciences Violeta Nesheva presented the activity of Sozopol Foundation and stressed the great importance of the project, as well as the implementation of comprehensive archaeological surveys prior to other activities.

Prof. dr. arch. Nikolai Tuleshkov presented the foreseen activities on the implementation of conservation, restoration, adaptation and socialization of the medieval castle of Baba Vida and adjacent areas.

Arch. Lyubomir Stanislavov presented the physical state of the building of the Vidin Synagogue, and technical capacity for the implementation of conservation, restoration, adaptation and socialization. He emphasized the active participation of Sozopol Foundation in carrying out activities to date, stressing the importance of joint work in developing the documents for the building of the Vidin Synagogue, in order for this significant for Vidin project to reach the stage of development of the castle of Baba Vida. Arch. Lyubomir Stanislavov proposed the project proposal with the working name ‘Vidin Synagogue – cultural center Jules Pascin’ to apply for funding from the CBC program Romania-Bulgaria.

On March 16, 2017 Mr. Kiril Arnautski – Chairman of Sozopol Foundation took part in public discussion on topic “The Future of Europe and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU”. The discussion was held at Sredets Hall, Hotel Balkan (Sheraton), on initiative of PanEuropa Bulgaria, Representation of European Commission in Bulgaria and the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Opening of the discussion Mr. Kiril Arnautski and
part of the participants

Among the guest of the discussion was prof. Ognyan Gerdzhikov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria. Within the discussion “The Future of Europe and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU “, the Prime Minister presented the viewpoint of Bulgaria regarding the White Paper, announced by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on March 1, 2017. The document includes five possible scenarios for the future of Europe which will be subject to debate in each Member State of the EU.

After the speech of the Prime Minister, the discussion continued with guest speakers: Ms. Denitsa Zlateva, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the preparation of the Bulgarian presidency of the EU Council, 2018, Mr. Ognian Zlatev, head of the Representation of European Commission in Bulgaria, Prof. Ingrid Shikova, professor of EU policies in the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Mr. Iliya Lingorski, president of the European Institute for Strategy and Analysis, and Mr. Stefan Radov student in European Studies from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.


Ms. Meglena Kuneva, prof. Ognyan Gerdzhikov
Ms. Gergana Pasi and Ms. Denitsa Zlateva
Ms. Denitsa Zlateva and Mr. Kiril Arnautski

On 17.02.2017, at the initiative of “Standard” newspaper and the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”, was held an open lesson in patriotism with main topic being Vasil Levski, accompanied by an exhibition “Dedicated to the Fatherland”, presenting documents and personal belongings related to the life, work and legacy of the Apostle of Freedom. The event is part of celebrations marking the 180th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle.

Guests of the exhibition were prof. Ognyan Gerdjikov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rasko Mladenov, Minister of Culture, Prof. D.P. Boryana Hristova, Deputy Minister of Culture, prof. D.H.S. Violeta Nesheva, chief scientific adviser of Sozopol Foundation. They were welcomed by the small guardmen of the clubs “Young Revivals” in the country who were dressed in uniforms of the First and Second Bulgarian Legion.

Тhe opening of the exhibition and the Open lesson in patriotism were joined by nearly 100 children from schools in Sofia. In the presence of the children Dr. Ruslan Ivanov from the “Bulgarian Historical Archive” of the National Library recount the story of the Apostle.


Prof. D.H.S. Violeta Nesheva
and part of the guests
Some of the children
participating in the event

On 31 January 2017, Sozopol Foundation and Spiritual Mirror Association signed a Memorandum of cooperation. The base for the signing of the memorandum is the extremely active collaboration of the two organizations regarding the permanent exhibition “Bulgaria’s cultural heritage – past, present, future”. The exhibition is located in the National Palace of Culture, main building, 7th floor, hall 3.3. “The wonders of Bulgaria”.


Mrs. Tatyana Kostadinova and Mr. Kiril Arnautski

On of January 27 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Sozopol Foundation signed a Memorandum of cooperation with the International Council of Organizations for Festivals of Folklore and Traditional Arts, Bulgaria. The Memorandum of cooperation underlines and affirms the active work of the two international organizations regarding the permanent exhibition “Bulgaria’s cultural heritage – past, present, future”, exposed in the National Palace of Culture, main building, 7th floor, hall 3.3. “The wonders of Bulgaria”.

Sozopol Foundation, as the first Bulgarian non-governmental organization in official partnership with UNESCO, and the International Council of Organizations for Festivals of Folklore and Traditional Arts, Bulgaria, as the first Bulgarian non-governmental organization accredited to the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, through common activities on the base of the signed Memorandum will make efforts for the presentation and promotion of intangible and tangible cultural heritage in the permanent exhibition “Bulgaria’s cultural heritage – past, present, future”, thus increasing the interest to the rich Bulgarian history and culture, both among locals and among tourists and guests from around the world. The activities are going to be be implemented during the foreseen Presidency of Bulgaria of the Council of the European Union in 2018, thus will continue after the end of the Presidency, confirming once again the effectiveness and sustainability, which can be achieved through the partnership in the non-governmental sector.


Mr. Emil Pavlov Mr. Kiril Arnautski

Sozopol Foundation, as an international non-governmental organization working very actively for the preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage, took part in the international event – XXVI edition of the International Festival of Masquerade Games SURVA 2017. The festival tool place in Pernik from 27 to 29 January 2017, under the patronage and with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

The central square – performance of a folk group

This masquerade is one of the greatest performances of traditional folk games and customs with masks in Europe and worldwide. The town of Pernik was elected as a Member of the Federation of European Carnival Cities in 1995 because of it. It was added to in the Representative List of the UNESCO for intangible world cultural heritage on December 2, 2015, under the name “National holiday Surova / Surva in Pernik”. For the importance of involving national element in the Representative List of UNESCO speaks that it consists of all those forms of expression (customs, dance, song and craft traditions), which testify to the diversity of intangible cultural heritage. The inclusion of element in the list, alongside national conservation measures ensuring the conservation and transmission from generation to generation of the living cultural-historical heritage of the Bulgarians, its sustainability over time and enhancement of its visibility among the public.

Performance of a folk group

Start of the festival gave an international scientific conference “Masquerade in the village and in the city”, organized by the Municipality of Pernik, Regional History Museum – Pernik and BAS in the Palace of Culture, city of Pernik. Representative of Sozopol FOundation during the scientific conference was the experienced expert Dr. Zdravka Korkutova at RHM-Pernik.

The official opening of the event of global significance took place on the evening of January 27, 2017, on an open stage with flamboyant show “Fire of Surva” organized by the Municipality of Pernik and “Friends without Borders” – a concert of foreign groups. In the next two days kukers and carnival groups from Bulgaria and abroad (8 countries) marched around the city.

Performances of different groups during the festival

„Pernik was the most beautiful and jolly place on earth during these three days. Thank you!“ – with these words, at the closure of the festival, the Mayor of Pernik Dr. Vyara Tserovska expressed the pathos of the experience and our pride that we are Bulgarians. A worthy nation preserving and honoring cultural heritage with millennial traditions, capable of sharing it with the world in a compelling way.

Part of the business presidium of festival

Sozopol Foundation, as an organization, which works actively for the protection, presentation and promotion of cultural heritage, currently is implementing Project “Kukeri ritual in Bulgaria and Serbia – cultural tradition of the two neighboring nations”, funded under the Participation Programme of UNESCO 2016-2017 and co-funded by project partners – Sozopol Foundation and Rings Balkans Association. Leading goal of the project is to promote and develop cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and achieve consensus in a clearly visible and pronounced impartial manner. With the envisaged project activities and the emphasis on events concerning kukeri tradition, both organizations strive to achieve the results, by ensuring their sustainability over time.

Respecting the principles and regulations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ms. Sang Mee Bak, a Member of the Cultural Heritage Committee at UNESCO and a Professor of Cultural Anthropology is visiting Bulgaria to perform monitoring of the activities of the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO. Ms. Bak had the opportunity to meet and hold constructive conversations with representatives of a number of organisations, with which the regional centre is in partnership for carrying out its activities.

News2017.01.11-1

On January 11, 2017, as part of her stay in Bulgaria, Ms. Sang Mee Bak visited the exhibition “The cultural heritage of Bulgaria – past, present and future” organized by Sozopol Foundation in partnership with the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO. The exhibition presents the Bulgarian tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

News2017.01.11-2

On site, the expert from UNESCO got acquainted with the exhibited models of prominent Bulgarian natural and cultural monuments, as well with the exhibited by Spiritual Mirror Association, a longtime partner of the Regional Centre, works of children, made in traditional techniques of papier-mâché and corn halm. Sozopol Foundation, Spiritual Mirror Association and prof. Dilyana Micheva from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts organized a folklore programme performed by students, who study in the high school, especially for Ms. Bak.

News2017.01.11-3 Students from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts
during specially prepared a folklore programme
in the exhibition “The cultural heritage of Bulgaria – past, present and future”

During her visit at the exhibition “The cultural heritage of Bulgaria – past, present, future”, Ms. Bak held constructive conversations with representatives of the partners of the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO. Ms. Bak met with Mr. Arnautski, Chairman of the international non-governmental organisation Sozopol Foundation, Ms. Tatyana Kostadinova, Chairperson of Spiritual Mirror Association and Mr. Emil Pavlov, Chairman of the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts at UNESCO, National section Bulgaria.

Mr. Arnautski had the opportunity to acquaint Ms. Sang Mee Bak with the objectives and activities of Sozopol Foundation. He paid special attention to the active work of the international non-governmental organisation in the field of conservation of natural and cultural heritage, stressing the need for unity and cohesion of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable development worldwide. Mr. Arnautski reaffirmed the readiness of Sozopol Foundation to continue to assist UNESCO and to implement its activity, respecting the priorities and objectives of the international organisation.

News2017.01.11-4 Ms. Sang Mee Bak and Mr. Arnautski during the meeting
at the exhibition “The cultural heritage of Bulgaria – past, present and future”

Sozopol Foundation, as the first Bulgarian non-governmental organization in official partnership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a member of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee for a couple of two-year terms: from 2012 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2016, carries out its active work, observing the principles and objectives of the global Organization and working closely with the Secretariat of UNESCO and the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee.

Following the policies adopted by UNESCO, during the General Conference of non-governmental organizations, official partners of the Organization, which took place in the period 12-14 December 2016, were held elections for new members and a Chairman of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee. Due to the requirement for a maximum number of consecutive two-year terms some members of the Committee, including Sozopol Foundation, are no longer members of the Liaison Committee.

ngo-unesco-liaison-committee-2015-2016 Photos of representatives of the members of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee
for the period 2014-2016, including Mr. Kiril Arnautski, presented within a presentation during the General Conference of non-governmental organizations, official partners of UNESCO

After the final of the International event in Paris, Sozopol Foundation highlighted the role of Ms. Sabina Colombo, Chief of the UNESCO Desk for Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, of the entire team of the Secretariat of UNESCO and their colleagues from the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee for the excellent organization of the Conference. The international event followed a certain optimal program, as attracted a great interest from governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations, media, experts and other guests.

logo-icngos-2016 Logo of the General Conference of non-governmental organizations,
official partners of UNESCO in the period from 12-14 of December 2016

During the Conference the Bulgarian NGO reiterated its willingness to continue to work closely with the Secretariat of UNESCO and the newly elected NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee. The Foundation stressed the need for unity and cohesion of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable development worldwide.