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On November 28, 2017 Ms. Nevena Arnautska, member of the Management Board of Sozopol Foundation, took part in the XXV Symposium “Quality, Competitiveness, Sustainable Development”, “The Challenges of the New Technology Transformation”, organized by the Bulgarian Chamber of Education, Science and Culture. The significant event took place at the University of National and World Economy (UNWE) and it was attended by number of prominent Bulgarian scientists and practitioners in various economic areas. Among them are prof. D-r Michael Dinev, prof. D-r Manol Ribov, prof. D-r Dora Marinova, Curtin University, Australia, prof. D-r Milena Filipova and others.

The event started with greetings to the participants of the academic leadership of UNWE. The presentation of the scientific reports of the participants was accompanied by productive discussions in the fields of tourism, trade, ecology and others and the impact on sustainable development of the technological transformation in each of these sectors.

Ms. Arnautska presented a short statement on her scientific report on topic “Technological transformation in the cultural heritage – a source of sustainable development”, emphasizing the need to combine the authentic experience during cultural visits with modern interpretation through the digitization of the heritage, with aim to attract a growing tourist flow, to preserve the heritage for future generations and to achieve sustainable development. In addition, Ms. Arnautska was one of the two Ph.D. students invited by Prof. Dr. Manol Ribov to take part in the discussion on the closure of the Symposium. In her statement, she stressed the need to engage all stakeholders in order to implement a comprehensive concept of harnessing the potential of technological transformation in the cultural heritage in Bulgaria, thereby fostering the sustainable development in Bulgaria and assisting in the establishment of our country as an international destination for the development of cultural tourism.

Since the beginning of September at the Bryggens Museum, in the city of Bergen is exposed the exhibition “Legends in Gold Thracian treasures from Bulgaria”.

A scientific conference called “The Myth of Orpheus” was held in Bergen in November. The conference was organized by the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, the National Museum of History and other museums from Bulgaria. The organisation of this magnificent exhibition was funded by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Norwegian Fund for the Development of Bilateral Relations under the Culture Programme.

Her Excellency Ms. Guro Katharina Helvik Vikor, the former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Bulgaria has a leading role in the organisation of the exhibition.

H.E. Ms. Guro Katharina Helvik Vikor

The conference was attended by prominent Bulgarian tracheologists, archaeologists and historians, most of whom are direct participants in the discovery and popularization of the rich cultural and historical heritage bequeathed by the ancient Thracians. The conference was attended by representatives of the Municipality of Sozopol and Sozopol Foundation.

Ms. Petya Chapevova, Ms. Diana Dimitrova, Prof. Valeria Fol, Mr. Ivan Karagyozov

From the Norwegian side, reports were delivered by historians and culturalologists, lecturers in reputable Norwegian universities, who have explored the importance of Thracian art and orphism mainly through the prism of ancient Greek and other literary sources. Mr. Inge Lindblom, Head of Department “Heritage and Society” at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, congratulated the conference participants.

Mr. Inge Lindblom

The Bulgarian Ambassador in Norway H.E. Ms. Rumyana Mitreva presented a greeting to the participants and the organizers of the conference.

H.E. Rumyana Mitreva

The exhibition, jointly exhibited by experts from Bulgaria and Norway, has an outstanding success and popularity. Since its opening, the exhibition has been visited by more than 15,000 people.

The newly elected Director-General of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, Ms. Kristin Bakken, held a casual conversation with Ms. Petya Chapevova – Deputy Mayor of Sozopol Municipality – a world-class tourist destination with an exceptionally rich cultural heritage.

During the meeting, Ms. Chapevova handed an honorary plaque of Sozopol to Ms. Bakken.

Ms. Kristin Bakken and Ms. Chapevova

Ms. Petya Chapevova invited Ms. Bakken to visit Sozopol and the National Architectural and Historical Reserve “The Ancient City of Apollonia”, where two of the leading projects funded by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area with the leading role of the Kingdom of Norway.

The National Architectural and Historical Reserve “The Ancient City of Apolonia”

The headquarters of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris

The General Conference was held in a constructive spirit and all the events took place according to the predetermined program. Representatives of the non-governmental sector of the Republic of Bulgaria from Sozopol Foundation and Trakart 2000 Foundation were accepted by Mrs. Irina Bokova, General Director of UNESCO. During the meeting they introduced her with the active work on preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. Ms. Bokova wished success to both foundations and the non-governmental sector in Bulgaria at national and international level.

Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak, Mrs. Irina Bokova and Mr. Kiril Arnautski

Mr. Arnautski and Mr. Georgi Ivanov met and talked with Mr. Eric Falt, UNESCO Deputy General Director. Mr. Falt highlighted the active work of Sozopol Foundation as a consultative partner of UNESCO and wished success in the activities of Trakart 2000 Foundation, promising that he’ll be delighted to visit the city of Plovdiv, which is designated as the European Capital of Culture for 2019.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak and Mr. Eric Falt

During the 39th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Kiril Arnautski met and spoke with Mr. Boil Banov, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria. Mr. Banov expressed his satisfaction with the activities of Sozopol Foundation as a leading non-governmental organization not only in the Republic of Bulgaria but also internationally. Minister Banov confirmed the support of the Ministry of Culture to Sozopol Foundation. Mr. Arnautski expressed the gratitude of the team of Sozopol Foundation for the huge support received over the years by the Ministry of Culture.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Chairman of the Sozopol Foundation and
Mr. Boil Banov, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria

During the meeting with His Excellency Mr. Angel Cholakov, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of France and Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to UNESCO, Mr. Arnautski and Mr. Ivanov informed him about the active work of the two organizations in preservation of the natural and cultural heritage, and providing an accessible environment for people with disabilities. Mr. Cholakov thanked the representatives of the non-governmental sector and stressed that the development of the public-private partnership in these areas is of utmost importance.

Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak, Mr. Angel Cholakov and Mr. Kiril Arnautski

The representatives of the Republic of Bulgaria were congratulated by the Chairman of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, who expressed their satisfaction with their active work and expressed confidence for future beneficial joint activities.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Mr. Philippe Beaussant and Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak

Mr. Kiril Arnautski and Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak held a constructive conversation with a number of NGO-UNESCO members. It was unanimously stressed that partnership and teamwork are the basis for positive performance in the non-government sector.

Ms. Marie Christine Gries de la Barbelais, Mr. Kiril Arnautski,
Ms. Martine Levy, Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak and Mrs. Marie Claude Allez

Mr. Kiril Arnautski and Mr. Georgi Ivanov took active participation in all events organized by the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee. They expressed the desire of the non-governmental sector in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe for a closer interaction of the non-governmental sector under the aegis of UNESCO.

Participation of Mr. Kiril Arnautski and Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak
at one of the Conference events

Mr. Arnautski presented the active international work of Sozopol Foundation, including the implementation of project “The Kuker’s custom in Bulgaria and Serbia – a cultural tradition of two neighboring peoples”, funded by the UNESCO Development Program. He informed Mrs. Bokova about the special status of Sozopol Foundation dated July 26, 2017 to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations headquartered in New York.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski

Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak, presenting the participants with the activities of Trakart Museum Cultural Center and Trakart 2000 Foundation. The main activity of the two organizations is preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the centuries-old city of Plovdiv. They are actively involved as representatives of the non-governmental sector for the preparation and subsequent presentation of the city of Plovdiv as European Capital of Culture for 2019.

Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak

Despite the busy program and active work of Mr. Kiril Arnautski, he managed to visit the site of the UNESCO building, where in 2013 Bulgarian roses were planted by Mrs. Irina Bokova and Mr. Rosen Plevneliev. It was a honor for Sozopol Foundation to take part in their provision and delivery in Paris.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski and the Bulgarian roses in the UNESCO Garden

Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Chairman of Sozopol Foundation that’s a UNESCO Consultative Partner, Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak, Founder of Trakart Museum Cultural Center and Assoc. Prof. Valeria Ivanova, Chairman of Trakart 2000 Foundation, at the thirty-ninth General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Mr. Kiril Arnautski, Assoc. Prof. Valeria Ivanova and Dr. Georgi Ivanov – George Trak

In August 2017, The European Foundation Centre, Brussels, Belgium, issued a special printed edition entitled “institutional philanthropy – a focus on disability”.

Cover page of the printed edition “institutional philanthropy – a focus on disabilities”

The publication contains information gathered through research and survey amongst the partners of the European Foundation Centre worldwide. Surveys include information about partners – foundations and international organisations – about the funds devoted for the implementation of the projects; about the place of implementation of these projects; their duration; about final beneficiaries; as well as additional brief information on relevant organisations in the form of past projects, field of activity, a website and more.

The publication sheds light on established profiles of stakeholders who fund and support people with disabilities. There are examples of initiatives and projects related to:
• Accessible tourism section (Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca, Sozopol Foundation);

Summary of the project of Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca

Summary of the project of Sozopol Foundation

• Community and place-based funding (Fondazione CRT, Genio, Karuna Foundation);
• Corporate social responsibility section (Fundacion Bequal);
• Education and training section (Academy of European Law; Dutch Foundation for Disabled Children (NSGK); Fundacion Derecho y Discapacidad; Fundacion Juan XXIII Roncalli”; Leopold Bachmann Foundation; King Baudouin Foundation);
• Network-building section (Abilis Foundation; Fundacion ONCE);
• New technologies section (Fundacion Vodafone Espana; Hallatlan Foundation; International Foundation of Applied Disability Research);
• Rehabilitation section (ICRC MoveAbility Foundation);
• Rights section (Disability Rights Fund; Fundacion Cermi Mujeres; Sabanci Foundation);
• Social enterprise section (Fondazione CON IL SUD);
• Strategy development model section (Essl Foundation; Mozaik Foundation).

For Sozopol Foundation, its inclusion in this printed edition is a great honor, responsibility and occasion for joy. This is another testimony that the well-done job over the years has been appreciated in dignity. The publication is distributed among all partners of the European Foundation Centre. The benefits of this are the exchange of experience and the sharing of best practices between partners.

The eminent event took place on 10.08.2017 in the town of Sozopol. The beginning was given at 14:00 by Ms. Slavka Bozukova – editor-in-chief of the Standard newspaper. The main speakers in the discussion were Mr. Panayot Reyzi – Mayor of Sozopol, Ms. Slavka Bozukova – Editor-in-Chief of Standart newspaper, Ms. Nikolina Angelkova – Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ms. Amelia Gesheva – Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The main topic of the discussion was how to improve the cultural and pilgrimage tourism on the territory of the municipality of Sozopol, how to avoid the seasonality of the tourism and to make it so that the town of Sozopol to be visited all year round.

Problems related to the Archaeological Reserve “The ancient city of Apollonia”

Archaeological Reserve “The ancient city of Apollonia” and an adjacent area
of the island of St. Kirik and Julita

and Archaeological Reserve islands of “St.St. Ivan and Peter” were discussed.

Archaeological Reserve islands of “St.St. Ivan and Peter”

From left to right: Ms. Amelia Gesheva – Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria,
Ms. Nikolina Angelkova – Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria,
Ms. Slavka Bozukova – editor-in-chief of the Standard newspaper and
Mr. Panayot Reyzi – Mayor of Sozopol

The event was also attended by Mr. Valcho Cholakov, District Governor of Burgas, who highlighted the good relationship between the regional government and Sozopol Foundation,

Mr. Valcho Cholakov, District Governor of Burgas

prof. d.h.s. Kazimir Popkonstantinov – Head of the team of archaeologists, discovered the reliquary with the relics of St. John the Baptist, under project „Ancient Sozopol – Saint John the Precursor Monastery – Culture through the Centuries” prepared and implemented by Sozopol Foundation as a beneficiary with partner Sozopol Municipality.

Mr. Popkonstantinov gave more details about the scientific value of the discovery made.

Prof. d.h.s. Kazimir Popkonstantinov – Head of the team of archaeologists under the project

The project „Ancient Sozopol – Saint John the Precursor Monastery – Culture through the Centuries” was funded by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area with the leading financial contribution of the Kingdom of Norway. The event was attended by hoteliers, restaurants, archaeologists, historians, businessmen and other interested parties.

The discussion attended also Mr. Kiril Arnautski – Chairman of Sozopol Foundation – the first Bulgarian NGO in a consultative partnership with UNESCO, and one of the few Bulgarian NGOs with special consultative status with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Policy, as well as Mr. Orlin Penev – Chairman of the Initiative Committee for Restoration of Orthodox Church “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”. Mr. Penev highlighted the exceptionally active work of Sozopol Foundation in national and international plan.

Left: Mr. Kiril Arnautski – Chairman of Sozopol Foundation; Right Mr. Orlin Penev – Chairman of the Initiative Committee for Restoration of Orthodox Church “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”

Future actions were discussed – rebuilding the Marine School and the temple of Apollo on the island of St. Kirik and Julita; building new tourist itineraries – which has to be undertaken in order to develop cultural and historical and pilgrimage tourism.

The guests congratulated the 7th anniversary of “The Wonders of Bulgaria” – the largest public campaign in Bulgaria to preserve and promote our rich cultural heritage. All expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the fruitful discussion and shared that the right way to solve the problems was the active cooperation between the state institutions, the local government, the non-governmental sector, etc.

On 07.08.2017 Sozopol Foundation was informed by e-mail by Mr. Marc-Andre Dorel – Acting Chief, NGO Branch, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations, that at the Coordination and Management Meetings held on 25 and 26 of July 2017 the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to grant special consultative status to the Bulgarian NGO.

Consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies.

Obligations as well as the privileges are many; the most significant benefit for the Foundation is its right to designate official representatives tothe United Nations headquarters in New York and at the United Nations offices in Geneva and Vienna. These representatives will have the right to participate in events, conferences and activities of the United Nations, and organisations in special consultative status – such as Sozopol Foundation – may designate authorized representatives to sit as observers at public meatings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other United Nations intergovernmental decision-making bodies.

Sozopol Foundation, conducting its policy and active international activities, was honored to receive the special consultative status at UNDESA. The recognition from August 7 is a step in the development of the Bulgarian organisation, but at the same time it is a major leap for the non-government sector in Bulgaria.

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. Also it will continue its work in this area as a member of NGOs in a consultative partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In the period from July 14 to July 23, 2017, a naval training Breeze 2017 took place in the Black Sea. Representatives from Bulgaria, USA, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Northern Ireland participated in the training.

“A large-scale training, not only as a number of participants, but also as a number of solved tasks and the complexity of the scenarios”, this is how President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Rumen Radev defined the training Breeze 2017.

General Rumen Radev – President and Commander of the Armed Forces
of the Republic of Bulgaria, observes various episodes of the training part of
the naval training Breeze 2017

“Once again Bulgarian military sailors showed professionalism and demonstrated their abilities,” said the commander of Navy Rear Admiral Mitko Petev.

Rear Admiral Mitko Petev – Commander-in-Chief
of the Bulgarian Navy

On July 21, part of the leadership team visited the town of Sozopol and the Architectural and Historic Complex Southrn Fortress Wall and Tower. The guests of the complex were Major General Terry M. “Max” Haston, Adjutant General Tennessee National Guard, USA, Rear Admiral Mitko Petev, Commander of the Bulgarian Navy, and other members of the training Breeze 2017.

The guests were welcomed by Mr. Kiril Arnautski – chairman of Sozopol Foundation. He acquainted them with the unique historical complex.

From left to right: Rear Admiral Mitko Petev – Commander-in-Chief
of the Bulgarian Navy, Mr. Kiril Arnautski – chairman of Sozopol Foundation,
Major General Terry M. „Max” Haston – Adjutant General Tennessee National Guard

Major-General Haston handed to Mr. Arnautski an Honorable Sign of the Land Forces of the state of Tennessee, USA.

Mr. Kiril Arnautski – chairman of Sozopol Foundation,
Major General Terry M. „Max” Haston – Adjutant General Tennessee National Guard

From 16th to 19th of June were held days of Italy in the town of Sozopol. The official guests of the opening were: Ms. Nikolina Angelkova – the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Rumen Dimitrov – Deputy Minister of Culture, H. E. Stefano Baldi – Ambassador of Italy to Bulgaria, Mr. Panayot Reyzi – Mayor of Sozopol Municipality, Mr. Antonio Tarquinio – Honorary Consul of Italy in Bulgaria, Ms. Luigina Peddi – Director of Italian Cultural Institute in Bulgaria and others.

During the four days of the event, there were many exhibitions, concerts and a movie programme. The conference “New Strategies for the Development of a Successful Tourist Destination” was held. Part of the guests’ programme was a visit to the Architectural and Historic Complex “South Fortress Wall and Tower”. In a informal conversation between H. E. Stefano Baldi – Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to the Republic of Bulgaria and Mr. Kiril Arnautski – Chairman of Sozopol Foundation, were discussed the opportunities for the development of the relations between the governmental and non-governmental sector as well as the partnership for the protection of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Republic of Italy and the Republic of Bulgaria.

From 3 to 8 of June in the town of Sozopol was held the Sixth International Francophone Festival “Soleil”. Sozopol Foundation, as a partner, presented for usage and for the needs of the festival Architectural and Historic Complex South Fortress Wall and Tower.

Entrance lobby of the Architectural and Historic Complex Southern Fortress and Tower

A number of events from the programme of the festival were held in the complex. One of the events was an evening of Romania with opening of an exhibition and cocktail.

Mr. Victor Dediu – Diplomatic Counsellor and
Ms. Alexandrina Isaylova – organizer of the Festival at the opening of the exhibition

Architectural and Historic Complex Southern Fortress and Tower was visited by a number of ambassadors and guests of the festival.

From left to right: Ms. Irina Yashagashvili – cultural attaché to the embassy of Georgia,
His Exellency Zurab Beridze – Ambassador of Georgia,
Mr. Kiril Arnautski – Chairman of Sozopol Foundation and
Mr. Victor Dediu – Diplomatic Counsellor at the embassy of Romania

Representatives of the Bulgarian-Greek Society – Sozopol,
were special guests on the evening of Romania

The organizers of the artists’ workshop during the festival were the Nedin family, who also attended the evening dedicated to Romania.

Mr. Stoyo Nedin, Ms. Angelina Nedin and
Mr. Kiril Arnautski

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