Sozopol Foundation was established by Mr. Kiril Arnautski in December 2002 to operate in public benefit and aims to:
• Promoting public empathy of the environmental protection, preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Introduction of good practices and innovative methods in pursuit of these objectives;
• Promotion of material and spiritual values, conducting training at levels relevant to all age groups and supporting international cooperation in the benefit of people and development;
• Cooperation with the competent international governmental and non-governmental organizations, operating in the field of education, cultural heritage, nature conservation, providing an accessible environment for the elderly and people with disabilities;
• Supporting the social integration and personal realization of older people and people with specific opportunities.
Sozopol Foundation is the first Bulgarian non-governmental organization adopted on the 9th of September 2011 as an official partner of the . United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).Since 2012, 3 February, the Foundation is a consultative partner of UNESCO.
Sozopol Foundation was one of the most active ten members of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee consisting of publicly selected non-governmental organizations from all over the world for two two-year terms, from 2012 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2016. Priority for the Foundation is the promotion of active cooperation and coordination of non-governmental organisations in Eastern Europe, in partnership with UNESCO.
Since its establishment until now, Sozopol Foundation has participated in the implementation of many projects, financed by the United Nations Organization; UNESCO; European Union; Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area; League of Historical and Accessible Cities, European Foundation Centre in Brussels; Project “Zero” of the ESSL Foundation; other governmental and non-governmental organizations at national and international level.
Since 2013 Sozopol Foundation is a member of the League of Historical and Accessible Cities, European Foundation Centre in Brussels. As a result of well implemented national and international projects by Sozopol Foundation concerning activities that actively involve elderly people and people with disabilities in public life, Sozopol is one of the six cities in Europe adopted by the League of Historical and Accessible Cities in Europe.
Due to the active work for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and presenting Architectural and Historic Complex Southern Fortress Wall and Tower in the town of Sozopol, on 15th of April 2015 Sozopol received the prestigious Destinations Award of WTTC. It is the first Bulgarian non-governmental organization, which has received this prestigious award.
Since August the 23rd 2016 Sozopol Foundation if an active participant in the Project “Zero”, created by the international non-governmental organization – ESSL Foundation. Project Zero has being developed all over the world with a policy of overall assistance and inclusion of people with disabilities in activities related to their active participation in public life.
The activity of Sozopol Foundation towards providing sustainable tourism and accessible environment for people with disabilities is highly promoted by the World Tourism Organization /UNWTO/ to the United Nations. The World Tourism Organization has prepared and disseminated special informational edition in which a place for Sozopol Foundation is given. The content is entirely consistent with the previously adopted theme for World Tourism Day 2016 – “Tourism for All – encouraging universal accessibility”.
On 13 October 2016, Mr Antony Guterches, who took up office on 1 January 2017, was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations. For 10 years, from 1992 until 2002, he was the Secretary General of the Portuguese Socialist Party. From 1999 to 2005 he was chairman of the Socialist International. Between 1999 and 2002, he was Prime Minister of Portugal. From 2005 to 2015, he has been active as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
On the 26th of July 2017, during the regular Coordination Management Meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York, was decided to be granted a special status to Sozopol Foundation, which effectively to adjoined it to the big family of the Department. A worthy presentation of the Bulgarian non-governmental sector in the face of the Sozopol Foundation, in the United Nations Organization.
On 10 November 2017, Ms Audrey Azoule was elected Director-General of UNESCO. After Mrs. Irina Bokova, she is the second woman to head the international organization. Between 2016 and 2017, Ms Azule is Minister of Culture in France. Internationally, in this position, she played a key role in the joint initiatives of France, UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates to preserve the cultural heritage of the so- “Conflict zones” declared in December 2016. On 24 March 2017, she submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in a situation of armed conflict. This resolution, tabled by France, Italy and UNESCO, was adopted unanimously.
The General Assembly of the Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO held from 4 to 6 June 2018 in Paris unanimously decided that the Sozopol Foundation should be accredited as a consultant to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The consultant’s powers include training of interested citizens of all ages in the preservation of the world’s intangible cultural heritage, one of the foundations for a decent life for humanity.