AUBG The Magazine of the American University in Bulgaria
| NEW FACES, NEW PLACES
| THEY MAKE US PROUD
| LIBERAL ARTS IN ACTION
| EMBA NEWS
| ADMISSIONS HIGHLIGHTS
| FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS
THIS ISSUE | A VIBRANT COMMUNITY
| COMMUNITY NEWS
ISSUE 53 | 2015
| NEW FACES, NEW PLACES
| CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE
| FAREWELL, GRADUATES!
| LIBERAL ARTS IN ACTION
| ADMISSIONS HIGHLIGHTS
| A VIBRANT COMMUNITY
| THEY MAKE US PROUD
| EMBA NEWS
| FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS
| COMMUNITY NEWS
AUBG GOES GREEN ty’s official magazine, Inside AUBG, in digital format available on the ISSUU viewer.
AUBG is committed to protecting the environment and has adopted a new way of producing its promotional materials. Since last summer the majority of the University printing materials are produced on recycled paper. Each ton of recycled paper will save 17 trees, conserve energy and in general make our planet a better place. In addition to using recycled paper for communication materials, the Office of Communications and Marketing will continue to issue the Universi-
Published by: Office of Communications and Marketing © Copyright 2016 AUBG. All rights reserved. Editorial Board Dimana Doneva, Teodora Georgieva, Albena Kehayova Consulting Editor Mark Wollemann
Through various initiatives, the University nurtures social responsibility in its students from the very start of their academic career. By engaging whole-heartedly in environmental activities, they are able to think of themselves as active citizens of the town, the region, and the world. The majority of AUBG students take part in eco activities, such as cleaning up urban areas and along the Bistritsa River, planting trees, and promoting recycling and healthy leaving on campus. As a result, they make a lasting impact on the wider community and prepare themselves to make a difference in the world after graduation.
Writers Aleksandar Cakic, Emanuil Dimitrov, Dimana Doneva, Diana Elagina, Martin Georgiev, Teodora Georgieva, Nikoleta Ilieva, Maria Markina, Nikol Meshkova, Anu Molor, Nelly Ovcharova, Daniel Penev, Sorin Petrov, Aliaksandra Salanevich, Tatyana Ten, Toma Tetimov, Sofia Volkhonskaya, Tsvetiana Zaharieva. Photographers Veselina Apostolova, Anna Bashuk, Dimitar Bratovanov, Dimana Doneva, Kristina Chernikova, Dimana Doneva, Katalina D imitrova, Nikoleta Ilieva, Katerina Kostiuchenko, Bobby Manov, Rumina Mateva, Anu Molor, Ivan Sharkov, Tatyana Ten, E katerine Tchelidze, Tsvetiana Zaharieva, Anna Zahorodnyuk.
NEW FACES, NEW PLACES AUBG WELCOMES HOME ONE OF ITS OWN AS THE NEW PRESIDENT Stratsi Kulinski is the First Bulgarian-born Head of the University, and an Alumnus from the First Graduating Class. President Kulinski has been a longstanding supporter of AUBG, and is an accomplished professional with global business and cross-cultural expertise. He was one of the very first students to attend AUBG in 1991 and graduated in 1995. Stratsi also holds an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career stretches over 20 years creating and building value for media, telecommunications, and high tech companies across Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia, with corporate assignments in London, Washington, Moscow, and San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. President Kulinski brings to AUBG a global perspective, entrepreneurial mindset, people management focus, and a versatile skillset in partnerships, strategy and finance, legal and regulatory matters, and marketing. “The Board is very pleased that President Kulinski is taking the helm of the University,” said Dr. Ivan Manev, Chair of the AUBG Board of Trustees. “Stratsi is the right person to steer the University and shift it into a sustainable growth mode in the years ahead. He is a widely respected colleague from our Board, with whom we have worked closely over the past several years. Stratsi is a person of unwavering enthusiasm for AUBG. His deep knowledge of the University strengths and challenges, ability to think strategically and creatively, his business and crosscultural acumen, and the ease with which he builds relationships and communicates made him a natural choice. We elected Stratsi unanimously, which demonstrates our confidence in his capacity to take AUBG to new heights.”
President Kulinski said: “I am thrilled to come back home to AUBG. As a member of the first graduating class, my commitment runs on a deep and personal level. This is not merely a career shift – it is a reunion with my extended family that is the American University in Bulgaria.” He added: “As I take on the role of President of AUBG, I am excited to contribute my time and energy and work closely with our students, faculty, staff, Board, University Council, supporters, and community stakeholders locally and worldwide to ensure the long-term success of our mission. My priorities for the first few months are to engage all AUBG stakeholders, communicate openly with all university constituents, and advance a culture of ownership and entrepreneurial initiative in everything we do.”
RAMI MAJZOUB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT: “TOGETHER, WE CAN ACHIEVE GREAT DEVELOPMENTS FOR AUBG” By Dimana Doneva
AUBG’s new Executive Director for Institutional Advancement has traveled all the way from Lebanon to Bulgaria to become an integral part of the university’s development. A truly multicultural person and an established leader, Rami Majzoub found AUBG to be the appropriate place for his next career step. “I am excited to be here and I look forward to great achievements for AUBG,” Majzoub said. “I look forward to growing AUBG together with all the community; collaborate with the students, faculty, staff and alumni.” “The team [at AUBG] is very talented and we can do so many things together,” he said. “The Board has set to us a very ambitious goal to grow the university and it is only with proper coordination and leveraging the Student/Faculty/Staff/Alumni synergy and Board’s own network that we can achieve this.” Majzoub has a rich experience in academia to guide his work at AUBG. He spent six years mastering the ins and outs of fundraising as the Associate Director of Development at the Lebanese American University (LAU). Majzoub got his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from LAU and acquired an MBA in Management from the Paris Chamber of Commerce managed ESA Business School. Prior to returning to LAU as a staff member, Majzoub spent almost 11 years as Media Manager at Thomson Reuters where he was managing the media clients portfolio for 13 countries. He also has experience as Sales Director at Abu Dhabi Media Zone and as the Advisor to the Minister of the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications, where he was in charge of a World Bank project. A multilingual person who has traveled to 50 countries and is married to a half-Bulgarian, Majzoub said he has “always been attracted to Bulgaria.” “I speak four languages and now I am striving to learn Bulgarian,” he said. “What captured my attention [at AUBG] is that here we have more than 40 different nationalities of students.”
Majzoub is also passionate for innovation, social entrepreneurship and empowering young leaders. “All my extracurricular activities have been evolving around setting up new NGOs (like Junior Achievement Lebanon and JCI), which empower young people to create positive change,” he said. In addition to being the founder of several NGOs, Majzoub was elected as the Executive Vice-President of JCI in 2011 (a worldwide federation of 200,000 young leaders) and President of Rotary Club Beirut Cedars for 2012-13, where he focused his work on the theme “Peace through Lebanese New Generations.” His passion for innovation motivated Majzoub to play a key role in establishing the Beirut Digital District (BDD), a concept very similar in its structure to the Science & Technology Park in Sofia, Bulgaria. The success in this venture prompted the then Lebanese Minister of Telecoms to ask Majzoub to coordinate the implementation of a Mobile Internet Ecosystem Project with the World Bank. Both projects boost innovation among young students and entrepreneurs and allow for jobs creation.
CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE AUBG CELEBRATES ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AT THE 22ND HONORS CONVOCATION By Daniel Penev
A month before the end of the spring 2015 semester, the administration, faculty, students and guests gathered to celebrate academic excellence at AUBG. The 22nd Honors Convocation took place at the ABF Student Center Theater on April 8. The ceremony began with recognizing the presidential scholars. Presidential scholars are all those AUBG students who have maintained a grade point average (GPA) of between 3.8 and 4.00 (4.00 being the highest possible grade) for two consecutive semesters. Among all AUBG students, 140 have made it into the President’s List as a result of their outstanding academic performance over the past year. The university has established the tradition of inviting a special guest for each Honors Convocation ceremony. This year’s keynote speaker was Nita
Gojani, an AUBG alumna of the class of 2007 and a presidential medalist for the same year. She is now a project coordinator for the United Nations Women in Kosovo. “I know that […] this university does educate future leaders, and it’s not only future leaders of the region but rather future leaders of the world, and those will be you, guys,” Gojani told the current AUBG students. The AUBG student body constitutes a large family, Gojani said, whose members not only build longlasting friendships during their four years in Blagoevgrad but who also get to meet one another at different venues after graduation. “The mayor of my hometown Pristina is an AUBG alumnus,” Gojani said. “At an office retreat, I found out that a co-worker who is the head of the UN Women 03
office in Belgrade, is also an AUBG alumna.”
institution which shaped you into the people you are.”
Gojani said she was really happy to the many improvements on campus. Apart from the state-of-theart facilities that have been built after she graduated, she noted the introduction of new programs and the growing focus on gender issues, as indicated by the presence of a Students Advocating Genders Equality (SAGE) club and a brand-new Women and Gender Resource Center.
After the series of official speeches, Provost Steven Sullivan and Lydia Krise, dean of students, proceeded with the awards. Each year the faculty members from the different departments select one or two seniors who have excelled not only in their major but also in many major-related activities, projects and competitions outside AUBG. In addition, the university administration awards students who have contributed to community life, such as an outstanding student advisor, an outstanding peer counselor, an outstanding resident assistant, and outstanding contribution to community volunteer service. It is during this time of the ceremony when the winner in the traditional University Council essay competition is announced as well.
Following Gojani’s emotional speech, AUBG Provost Steven Sullivan asked all the students on the Dean’s List to stand up so that the audience can honor them with a round of applause. To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student needs to complete a semester with a minimum GPA of 3.8. The Provost then gave the floor to Mario Grachenov, president of the AUBG Student Government. The Student Government president appealed to all AUBG students to preserve a special place for the university in their hearts “because this is the
Like any of the previous 21 honors convocations, this year’s ceremony culminated in the announcement of the presidential medalist.
PRESIDENTIAL MEDALIST TIMUR HUSEYNOV’15: “BE HARD-WORKING TO LEARN, MOTIVATED TO GROW, AND RESPONSIBLE TO GIVE BACK” By Daniel Penev
The 2015 presidential medalist is Timur Huseynov, an Azerbaijani senior who has consistently maintained excellent grades but who has also served as president of the student government and exemplified high levels of social responsibility throughout his studies. While he is perfectly aware that the presidential medal is “the highest recognition a graduating student can achieve in AUBG,” he sees this award as recognition of his active social engagement on campus rather than his outstanding academic performance. “Throughout my years in AUBG, I have always been open to students around me, willing to help at any moment,” Huseynov said. “The thing that makes me proud the most is that during all four years, regardless of what I have been achieving, I have always looked back and shared this experience with students who have just started their paths.” Having completed a three-month internship with Google in Wroclaw, Poland, last summer, Huseynov joined the tech giant as a full-time associate account strategist in June. He is helping Russian enterprises 04
to expand their advertisements.
His advice to current and prospective AUBG students? “Be hard-working to learn, motivated to grow, and responsible to give back.”
Boryana Petrova Bulgaria, BUS and INF, Valedictorian, Outstanding Achievement Award in Business Administration and Outstanding Achievement Award in Information Systems
AUBG is the place where dreams are born and become true at the same time! The small and close community here easily becomes your family and supports you all the time. AUBG opened my eyes for the innumerable opportunities waiting for us out there and gave me the chance to face and experience real-life challenges while developing and improving my personal skills. This place and its people provide all needed stimuli to turn on my motivation mode and to make me work hard and strive for excellence. Never giving up and taking all the best from each class while following my inner voice is what helped me pass through all hurdles along the path of success and I am sure it will be the same for all new students. Great time management and balance between the tight deadlines, busy daily routines and club meetings is what can guarantee anyone the desired successful results! Being an AUBGer is a feeling that never goes away and once you get it you will know what I mean. No words are good enough to describe so I will let you enjoy it yourself. But remember it is absolutely worth it!
Bojan Mladenovski Macedonia, POS and EUR, Outstanding Achievement Award in European Studies
Now that I am almost at the end of my studies at AUBG I just want to say that I had a great time here. It is a perfect place where you get to realize as much of your potential as you can. Here you get to choose every course that you would love. In addition, here you get to enjoy a lot of extracurricular activities which is a plus because you develop your communication skills, team leadership skills, and you develop yourself as a person. My advice: take as many courses as you can, choose the field that you like, get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you can, and please, party and hang out with people as much as you can.
Kumush Nepesova Turkmenistan, BUS, Outstanding Achievement Award in Music I am actually majoring in Business Administration but it just happened to be that all my life I have been very passionate about arts in all different ways. I’ve graduated from an arts school, I have been a dancer all my life but I’ve never touched a musical instrument. I figured out I have to start at AUBG. I used every possibility to use any instrument; I tried voice, harp, piano. And let me tell you, it is worth it. Try to invest all of your time for what you are passionate about.
Veselina Apostolova Bulgaria, JMC and POS, Outstanding Achievement Award in JMC and Award for Outstanding Resident Assistant
My cheat sheet for how to get to this point: I probably have just one watchword and that would be “devotion.” I would say that what got me to this award and the position I am holding right now is just devotion. One of the things that I think contributed to this award is my work at AUBG Daily, one of the student media on campus. There have been tough moments when you feel like quitting but you don’t do it because you love it that much. And the same goes for the resident assistant position. You have a family of 13 other people that support you. I accepted these positions not just as an extracurricular activity or a job, it was a 24/7 commitment that I just really loved. My advice would be: “when you come to AUBG, or wherever you go, find something that you really, really love, and however hard it is at some points, this love is going to push you working on it.”
Klajdi Sallaku Albania, BUS, Outstanding Achievement Award in Bulgarian
My tip for the future generations is to get involved as much as they can on campus. Try to balance your academic life and your social life. Try to get involved in as many clubs as possible. Also, try to make friends with people from different countries so by the end of these four years you will be more open-minded, you will get to know different cultures and understand different languages.
Viktoria Antonova Russia, POS and BUS, Outstanding Achievement Award in French
I have taken all the classes in French that were available at AUBG but I didn’t stop there. I went to Bordeaux on an Erasmus program as an exchange student, I was the president of the French Club for two years, and I organized screenings and workshops and interactive events for AUBG students, including the International Night. So my advice to the future generations would be: apply what you learn in classroom outside of it and bring great experience to other AUBG students by doing this.
Jetmira Allushi Albania, POS and BUS, University Council Essay, First prize
This university truly is a place where you can find something for everyone. I found so many activities that I didn’t even know I liked. Honestly, I think that is the contribution that I give to AUBG and the contribution that AUBG gives to me. The fact that we find our common grounds and that I give as much as I can to those activities that I enjoy doing and AUBG gives me the grounds to do them. So, get out there guys! 06
FAREWELL, GRADUATES! AUBG WISHES THE BEST OF LUCK TO ITS CLASS OF 2015 AT THE 21ST COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY MAY 17, 2015 By Dimana Doneva
The vice-president of the European Commission Kristalina Georgieva and the Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science Todor Tanev wished good luck to the AUBG class of 2015. 249 bachelors from 22 countries and 19 EMBA graduates tossed their mortar boards in the air at the Twenty-First Commencement Ceremony on May 17. Among the speakers at the ceremony were the chair of the of the AUBG Board of Trustees Ivan Manev, the mayor of Blagoevgrad Atanas Kambitov as well as Albanian student Salih Menkulasi, this year’s senior speaker. The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Kristalina Georgieva, currently vice-president of the European Commission. “It is a great honor to be with the class of 2015 on your commencement ceremony and for that there are two reasons,” Georgieva said. “First, I am a proud mother of an AUBG alumna and I know from first hand that you are graduating from a university with excellent academic credentials. And second, as the vice president of the commission in charge of human resources I am always on the lookout for people to hire.” The Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science and former AUBG Professor Todor Tanev also offered his greetings to the graduating students. “The Ministry of Education and Science highly appreciates the contribution of AUBG to the development of the higher education in our country
in the course of the last 20 years,” Tanev said, “Its consistence, sustainability and in particular the achievements of the university graduates.” Ambassador Ivan Stancioff, chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute and a distinguished philanthropist, received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. AUBG Trustee Marianne Keler was presented the Distinguished Service Award for her service and support to the university. Presidential medalist Timur Huseynov, valedictorian Boryana Petrova, salutatorians Ina Gjika, Stefani Milovanska, Dayana Panova and Valentina Stevanovic as well as the outstanding graduate from the twelfth class of AUBG’s EMBA program Nadezhda PenevaBorisova were also recognized at the commencement. The ceremony concluded with the long-awaited moment of the diploma conferral. Forty-four per cent of the AUBG bachelors that climbed the stage are Bulgarian while the rest come from countries such as the U.S., Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Vietnam and Italy. Sixty-six per cent of the AUBG students graduate with two majors – an opportunity that the liberal arts education system gives them. Business Administration is the most popular among them, followed by Economics, Political Science and Information Systems. 07
A soul-stirring moment: The graduates applaud their families as a sign of gratitude and their parents applaud them back.
AUBG recognizes former Chair and Member of the AUBG Board of Trustees Marianne Keler with the Distinguished Service Award for her exceptional service and leadership.
The key note speaker Kristalina Georgieva, throws her mortar board in honor of Class of 2015. “It is a great honor to be with the class of 2015 on your commencement ceremony and for that there are two reasons,” Georgieva said. “First, I am a proud mother of an AUBG alumna and I know from first hand that you are graduating from a university with excellent academic credentials. And second, as the vice president of the commission in charge of human resources I am always on the lookout for people to hire.”
Ambassador Ivan Stancioff,, chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute and a distinguished philanthropist, receives the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from AUBG.
The Class of 2015 throws their mortar boards in the air. Itâ€™s an exciting journey ahead!
The graduated embrace their future with open arms
Boryana Petrova receives her worldwide recognized diploma. Boryana is the Valedictorian of Class of 2015 and recipient of Outstanding Achievement Award in Business Administration and Outstanding Achievement Award in Information Systems.
AUBGâ€™s Executive MBA Class of 2015 captures a special moment together .
LIBERAL ARTS IN ACTION AUBG LAUNCHES A MINOR IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP By Dimana Doneva
AUBG’s academic offerings continue to grow when the university’s Faculty Assembly approved minor in entrepreneurship starting fall 2015 semester.
Business Department. “The creative energies, urge for hands-on experiences and peer-to-peer learning will naturally blend with rigorous business thinking.”
An interest survey in the fall of 2014 showed overwhelming support for an entrepreneurship minor. Eager to meet the students’ desire for an entrepreneurship minor, Business Department chair Robert White and assistant professor in business law Bruce Whitfield crafted the program.
The new minor in entrepreneurship has been specifically designed to benefit students from all majors, Whitfield said. It will complement the existing academic programs by providing nonbusiness students with the opportunity to turn their passion into a business.
“There’s a huge demand for entrepreneurship and traditional business has been taught from a very theoretical perspective,” Whitfield said. “Business needs to be taught by doing business, not just by learning about business.”
There have long been a number of student initiatives embracing entrepreneurship on campus. A student-run StartUp Conference gathers students, entrepreneurs, investors and educators from all kinds of backgrounds for two days on campus every year.
According to White, in addition to bringing a more hands-on approach toward business, the new minor in entrepreneurship will also attract new students to AUBG. “Until now, prospective students interested in entrepreneurship have had no reason to stay in Bulgaria,” White said. “The AUBG minor in entrepreneurship is a game changer.” “For a liberal arts college prone to cross-field activities and experimentation the minor in entrepreneurship will be the ultimate playground,” said Veneta Andonova, associate professor from the 10
“I think it’s really great that the entrepreneurship minor is getting through because it really would offer a unique learning experience for the students,” said AUBG student Mirela Dineva, StartUp’s vice-president for 2015. “I myself took the Entrepreneurship course last spring semester and it was amazing. The field of study in itself puts emphasis on real-life work and pushes students to go out of their comfort zone to create something on their own.”
THE PROGRAM FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AT AUBG: AN UP-AND-COMING ENDEAVOR By Dimana Doneva Eight business experts participated in a panel discussion on the new program for entrepreneurship in Sofia. Among the major takeaways from the forum was the power of entrepreneurship to create social impact and promote sustainability. The panelists also discussed the university’s key role in contributing to the development of an entrepreneurial mindset in Bulgaria, cooperating with partners and educational institutions across the region and uniting different disciplines for a diversity of ideas. The panel consisted of Steve Keil, CEO of MammothDB
and Xentio and professor at AUBG’s EMBA program, AUBG’s Dean of Faculty Lucia Miree, AUBG graduate and co-founder of Eleven Startup Accelerator Daniel Tomov, AUBG professor in business law and interim director of the center Bruce Whitfield, Program for Education and Libraries director at America for Bulgaria Foundation Natalia Miteva, CEO of Junior Achievement Milena Stoycheva, managing director at SAP Bulgaria and AUBG graduate Rumyana Trencheva, and CEO of Yatoto and AUBG trustee Thomas Higgins.
THE NEW MINOR IN INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS: UPGRADE OF EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND EXCITING NEW O PPORTUNITIES By Dimana Doneva Realizing the challenges of today’s world, AUBG students always strive to gain both valuable hands-on experience and in-depth theoretical knowledge. Eager to meet the students’ needs, the expert JMC faculty and the established professionals from the BUS department at AUBG joined forces to create a new minor in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Sixty-seven percent of the students expressed interest in the new IMC minor, leaving no doubt the new program would succeed. Lynnette Leonard, associate professor of JMC and the newly elected department chair, and Milena Nikolova, assistant professor of marketing and an experienced business expert, led the process of crafting the program. “The foundation of the program is a true mix of disciplines: we clearly have both the grounding in media, both theory and practice, and a good strong foundation of marketing,” Leonard said. “The IMC minor will help students have a clear credential on their transcripts and a clear indication of the skills
and knowledge that they have.” Each proposed minor must fulfil several requirements upon approval at the Faculty Assembly. After conducting a student interest survey and benchmarking the minor to similar programs in universities in the U.S., the faculty coined the new minor that will include 11
four required courses and two electives. The students willing to graduate with a minor in IMC will have to take Communication, Media and Society, Writing for Media, Marketing or Marketing for Entrepreneurs, and Marketing Research. They will also be able to select among a variety of JMC and BUS electives. While the new minor met all the requirements, the two professors went even further to ensure the success of the new academic program. Nikolova and Leonard conducted a series of interviews with practitioners from advertising and PR agencies, professionals from marketing research companies and media specialists.
“We wanted to really put our finger on the skills and the knowledge and the profile that’s really needed in our part of the world in these domains,” Nikolova said. IMC minor faculty will be working on helping students “graduate with a set of sample works that really constitutes and is revealing of their set of skills,” Nikolova said. One course that will be helpful in this regard is the newly approved business course Topics in Marketing Practice. As part of it, industry professionals will arrive at AUBG to transfer their practical knowledge on current topics in marketing and communications to the students.
AUBG INTRODUCES A MINOR IN MODERN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES By Dimana Doneva programs are popular in other liberal arts universities. “The results showed that majors and minors in languages were offered in 49 out of the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the USA,” Bozhinova said. “Students majoring in any discipline may add language skills to their profile, which will be reflected in their academic transcript. Our graduates will become more competitive and have better career opportunities.” AUBG students will be able to complete a minor in modern languages and cultures starting fall 2015. The team behind the new minor consists of associate professor of German Diana Stantcheva, instructor of French Krastanka Bozhinova, instructor of Spanish Yavor Gueorguiev, and adjunct instructors of Bulgarian Sabina Wien and Senem Konedareva. “The study of languages and cultures is an integral part of any liberal arts institution with a highly diverse faculty and student body like AUBG,” Wien said. The professors from the modern languages subdepartment have long observed student interest in foreign languages. “Many of our students wanted to take a foreign languages course, being aware of the importance of foreign languages, but they had to save their credits for a major or a minor,” Stantcheva said. The new academic program allows students to develop a proficiency in a second foreign language and also have it recognized on their diplomas. The joint effort of the language faculty resulted in a minor that comprises four required and two elective courses. One of the four required courses, Introduction to Language and Culture Studies, is a new course that was created to complement the new minor. Professors will also devise special topics based on student interest and offer them periodically to enrich the program. For example, in fall 2015, Gueorguiev taught Music and Art of Spain. 12
Language professors also researched whether language
Klajdi Sallaku, an AUBG senior from Albania, has studied Spanish and tutored Bulgarian at the university. As part of two summer internship programs, Sallaku had the chance to travel in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro and live in Poland. “I realized that Bulgarian, as part of the Slavic family of languages, is very similar to the languages spoken in these countries,” he said. “Therefore, learning it became an opportunity to expand my future chances for getting a job in the region.” “Alumni who have studied modern languages at AUBG often go to graduate schools, complete internships or start their professional career in the countries where these languages are spoken, or in the European institutions, where two foreign European languages are required,” Stantcheva said. “Foreign languages cannot be anything but an asset,” said AUBG student Natalija Gjergjeva, who has taken classes in German and an Introductory Spanish class. “With the minor, students will either learn a new language from scratch or improve their existing language skills and get a certificate at the end.” AUBG professors said student demand will dictate whether the minor could become a major. “At the moment, we would like to launch the minor and see the continuous efforts of our students recognized,” Bozhinova said. “We are ready to respond to their interests and further develop the program.”
FILM STUDIES MINOR NOW AVAILABLE TO AUBG STUDENTS By Daniel Penev The American University in Bulgaria has launched a new minor, film studies, which it hopes is attractive to both current and prospective students. Sean Homer, associate professor of arts, language and literature at AUBG, contemplated the idea a few years ago. He had long had a pronounced interest in film. He had taught “History, Memory and Narrative in Contemporary Balkan Cinema,” and he was planning to bring the “Film Criticism” class back after its absence for the past several semesters. At the same time, Melody Gilbert, the then chair of the journalism and mass communication department and a prominent documentary filmmaker, was teaching “History of Documentary Film” and “Documentary Filmmaking.” Eager to instill in AUBG students a love for documentary cinema, Gilbert founded the AUBG Documentary Movie Club, which has steadily grown in popularity since its inception in January 2012. Homer said he noticed “that there was strong student interest in film and that we already had enough courses for the minor.” A student interest survey 2013 confirmed Homer’s perception. After a long and arduous preparation period, the new interdisciplinary minor that cuts across arts, languages and literature, and journalism and mass communication was born. Given that film is among the most prominent and visible forms of art today, it should, according to Homer, be featured as a separate program at AUBG. “The [film studies] minor fits into the existing structure of the majors we offer - it is a natural growth area as far as I can see,” Homer said. “I personally would hope to develop a major in film studies in the future but this will depend on the wishes and interests of my colleagues.” By bringing together the film theory and criticism classes and the more practical journalism classes, Homer said, “we aim to teach students both rigorous
academic skills of film analysis as well as hands-on production.” While the minor is new, film theory and production have played a prominent role on campus for several years. AUBG students have shot their own documentaries as part of journalism classes, Capstone projects or individual projects. Some of these documentaries have been screened at film festivals in Europe and the USA. Two film-related events have now become traditional on campus: the 48-Hour Documentary Challenge and the AUBG International Student Film Festival. AUBG students enrolled in Gilbert’s documentary classes and members of the AUBG Documentary Movie Club have also visited the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Sofia International Film Festival, and the So Independent Film Festival. “Since the announcement [of the Film Studies minor], I have seen a lot of excitement among current students on Twitter and Facebook,” said Lynnette Leonard, professor of journalism and the new chair of the journalism and mass communication department starting in the fall 2015 semester. The film studies minor is just one example of the way in which the administration, professors and students engage in an open dialogue in an effort to maintain AUBG’s focus of hands-on learning and innovation.
BLIMUN 2015 – “DO YOU WANT TO BE A FUTURE LEADER?” enjoyed the traditional Diplomatic Reception, and the Social Night that followed shortly afterward. The second and third days of the conference offered intense debates and drafting of the resolutions. All three committees passed resolutions, which showed the determination, perseverance and willingness to compromise of the future leaders.
Learning about political leadership, negotiation, lobbying – with a little fun mixed in – highlighted a weekend (Feb. 6-8) of diplomacy on the AUBG campus. The gathering, one of the biggest student-organized events on campus, was the Blagoevgrad International Model United Nations Conference (BLIMUN). Celebrating its seventh anniversary, BLIMUN brought more than 90 people together in search of the answer to the question: “Do you want to be a future leader?” For three days, the participants became political leaders and engaged in fruitful debates. Lobbying, heated political discussions and wild social nights were among the highlights of BLIMUN 2015. The conference marathon started Friday with teambuilding games and training for participants. The training was led by the Secretary General of BLIMUN 2015 – David-Jan Bosschaert – an ambitious Philippine-Belgian student who is currently doing an internship at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. That was followed by the Keynote Speech, given by Bulgaria’s former deputy minister of finance, Kiril Zhelev. Finally, after an intense first day, the delegates
“They are all bright, motivated and very innovative,” said a BLIMUN organizer. “I really enjoyed listening to their debates. I wish that the actual leaders of our states could learn from them.” At the closing ceremony, all delegates received certificates and a small gift. In addition, two people per committee were honored by the Best Delegate Award and the Honorable Mention Award. The ceremony was concluded by the Closing Speech of the BLIMUN 2015 President and AUBG student Nelly Ovcharova, who shared her firm belief in the mission of the UN and the importance of the Model UN Conferences worldwide. “BLIMUN became part of me,” Ovcharova said. “I have been member of the Organizing Team of the previous two BLIMUN Conferences, so it really became near and dear to my heart. The Organizing team worked hard in the past six months in order to make the conference happen, so I feel proud that our work gave results. We truly believe in BLIMUN’s mission and we wish that more people will take part in the conference, because it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If I have to summarize what BLIMUN is for me – it is passion, knowledge, responsibility and awareness. Passion to make a change, knowledge as a means to do it, responsibility to make it feasible and awareness, so that more people will follow your steps and will make the world a better place.”
AUBG HOSTS THE FIRST MODEL EUROPEAN UNION BLAGOEVGRAD By Daniel Penev The American University in Bulgaria turned into a Brussels-like mini-EU March 27-29 2015. To be clear, the center of EU policy-making did not move from Belgium to Bulgaria. Instead, AUBG hosted the first ever Model European Union (MEU) Blagoevgrad. Indeed, MEU Blagoevgrad is one of the two EU simulations in Bulgaria that have received official recognition. Established in Strasbourg, France, in 2007, Model European Union has proved itself as the most prominent simulation of the EU law-making process. Young people of various national, social and educational backgrounds come together assuming the roles of national ministers sitting at the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council of Ministers), members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Commission representatives, and journalists. Thanks to the European Society Club and the Student Government at AUBG, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Europe Direct Blagoevgrad, and the Information Office of the European Parliament in Bulgaria, more than 80 university and high school students from various countries came to Blagoevgrad and assumed the roles of the different players involved in real-world EU politics. The topic of MEU Blagoevgrad was the EU immigration policy, an area that has gained ever-greater salience as a result of the ongoing civil wars and violence in Middle East and North African countries. Two special guests for the MEU opening ceremony on Friday evening were Andrey Novakov, one of the 17 Bulgarian MEPs and the youngest among the 751 MEPs in the current European Parliament, and Boyko Blagoev, a representative of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Bulgaria. The Council ministers, MEPs, European Commission representatives, and the journalists started the real work on Saturday morning and finished it by the late afternoon. “We had amazing participants,” said Petar Georgiev,
an AUBG student majoring in European politics and head of the MEU Blagoevgrad organizing team. “Even though most of them did not have previous experience at MEUs, they managed to get acclimated quickly and got involved fully in the discussions. I hope it was a life-changing experience and they enriched their knowledge about how the EU functions.” The simulation works as follows: the European Commission makes a proposal amending a specific directive or regulation. This proposal is discussed and amended both in the Council of the European Union and in the European Parliament. Representatives of the two institutions, together with representatives of the European Commission, then participate in a behind-closed-doors meeting known as a trialogue, where they need to negotiate a compromise. The final draft of the Commission’s proposal is then put to a vote in the two institutions. If the amendments pass in both institutions, they are adopted. If one of the two institutions rejects the final version of the proposal, there is no new legislation. “I think both organizers and participants did a great job of trying to represent the procedures as closely as possible to reality,” said Nikolay Nikolov, president of the European Parliament during MEU Blagoevgrad and an AUBG alumnus. “What is most valuable for the participants is that they learn how the real game is played. They can read a lot of academic literature, but the books cannot give them the real sense of what it is like to negotiate and adopt legislation. And they did that better than I expected.”
AUBG STUDENTS DEVISE A UNIQUE PROJECT IN FINANCIAL ANALYSIS By Dimana Doneva
Nothing is impossible at AUBG and two students once again proved that when they not only realized a complicated project in financial analysis but also succeeded in turning it into a one-credit class, bringing real-life professionals on campus and receiving funding.
The teams submitted four progress reports to Berisha and Gurov during the semester and presented their final project April 26 in front of a panel that consisted of experts from the financial industry. The presentation was held as part of the Corporate Financial Analysis course taught by Gurov and Berisha.
All started in the beginning of fall semester 2014 when Andrei Pavlenko and Tornike Mchedlishvili, the presidents of the student club Asset Trading and Management (AT&M), were brainstorming ideas on the club’s activities during the academic year.
The presentation was a valuable experience both for the students and the financial experts, Gurov said. “It gave the students a different perspective from what they usually get in the classroom and I think that benefited them enormously,” he said. “It also benefited the people from the industry because they saw the talent that we create here in AUBG. That led to a lot of opportunities for future career development and internship opportunities.”
“In the past years AT&M Club used to organize lectures for students on various finance topics but we wanted to initiate a project that would require more involvement from students and will offer more opportunities for students,” Pavlenko said. This is how the idea of the AT&M Valuation Challenge -- a project that would include both theoretical and practical parts-- was born. The two students introduced the idea to AUBG professors Andrey Gurov and Marenglen Berisha who agreed to supervise the project. The two students and the two professors then worked with the chair of the business department Robert White to turn the project into part of the curriculum. At the end, all student participants in the project received one additional credit to their transcripts. After the successful organization of the project in the fall, Pavlenko and Mchedlishvili proceeded with its implementation in the spring of 2015. AT&M club members of all standings formed five teams of four to five students. The participants of the Valuation Challenge selected two companies from different industry sectors and performed a semester-long financial analysis on them. 16
Having heard the presentations of all teams, the panel chose AUBG students Nekruz Mamadalizoda, Timur Huseynov, Artem Eremin, Vyacheslav Babayan and Todor Boyadzhiev as the winners of the challenge. “Our team successfully combined the financial experience of our team-leaders with the passion to learn from our freshman,” Huseynov said. “We worked hard together as a team and were very glad to see our work recognized.” Impressed with the student work, CEO at Alaric Capital AD, CEO and founder at Alaric Securities and member of the jury Anton Panayotov singlehandedly decided to award 1000 leva to the winning team and 1000 leva to the club and promised to host the students of the club in the trading floor in Sofia. “Students should not be restricted by the fact that something has never been done at AUBG,” Pavlenko said. “We faced many challenges on the way, but the results surpassed our expectations, thus we want to urge all students to implement their ideas in practice since it only takes hard work.”
TRAVEL WRITING CLASS STUDENTS PUBLISHED IN VARIOUS MEDIA By Dimana Doneva Broad teaching expertise, rich journalistic experience, love for writing and traveling and a Fulbright Scholar grant: this is how visiting professor Dan Fellner ended up at AUBG for spring semester of 2015. During the time spent at the university, Fellner was able to transfer his passion for travel writing together with his knowledge of successful freelance practices to the students. The result: six AUBG undergraduates published in various media across Europe. In addition to being a faculty associate in the School of Letters and Sciences at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, having previous experience in TV news in four different cities, and working in corporate public relations for a decade, Fellner has been doing freelance travel writing for more than 15 years. “I’ve learned some tips on how to get published that I was able to pass along to my students,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the students deserve all of the credit. Their work would not have been published had it not been first-rate travel writing accompanied by strong photos.” AUBG is not the first university in Eastern Europe that Fellner visits. He had taught at six different educational institutions in the region, has received two Fulbright Senior Specialist grants to teach at universities in Lithuania and Latvia, and has taught a one-week intensive course in communications four times at the Fulbright International Summer Institute in Bulgaria.
Of all the Eastern European universities that he has visited, “AUBG is easily the strongest,” Fellner said. “It not only has high-quality students, but also a top-notch faculty and excellent facilities. It was truly a privilege for me to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful university community.” Anna Bashuk, one of the students from the Travel Writing class, got two of her class assignments published. Bulgaria’s biggest English language news agency, Novinite.com, published her stories on a Blagoevgrad art exhibit and the Metropolitan Cathedral located in Iasi, Romania. “The travel writing class was a fun experience that showed me how difficult but how rewarding it is to be a travel journalist, and it inspired me to pursue getting my stories published,” she said. Among the other published students are Konstantina Bandutova who wrote and translated her story on the Bulgarian resort town Bansko for www.bansko.net, Ekaterine Tchelidze, who wrote an article on Bulgaria’s Bachkovo monastery for Georgia Today, Inessa Lotonina who told the legend of Bulgarian visionary Vanga in an article for novinite.com, Lyuba Popova who wrote about the Bulgarian picturesque winter resort Bezbog that was published in Whiteroom, a Bulgarian snowboard magazine, and senior JMCer Veselina Apostolova who had her article on Budapest’s seventh district published in Budapest Times.
JMC DEPARTMENT STARTS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM WITH PROMINENT FILM STUDIO By Toma Tetimov Sixteen committed AUBG students earned the unique opportunity to get their feet wet in the real-life filmmaking industry by participating in a semesterlong internship program at Nu Boyana Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria spring 2015.
Nu Boyana is the largest film studio in Eastern Europe and in the last two decades has successfully hosted numerous Hollywood and other international movie productions, such as The Expendables 2 and 3, The Black Dahlia, and The Contract, to name a few. 17
AUBG STUDENTS WIN AT MICROSOFT IMAGINE CUP BULGARIA 2015 By Dimana Doneva
Four AUBG computer science students were selected to take part in the Games category of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015, the world’s biggest student technology competition. More than that -- they won the Bulgarian National Finals and reached the world semifinals. Rocket Bots, the Games team that impressed the jury in Bulgaria the most, consisted of AUBG students Gavril Tonev, programmer and team leader, Denis Iliev, 3D modeling, Oleh Stolyar, programmer and user interface, Dechko Dechkov, programmer, and their mentor Teodor Marinov from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia. Brainstorming a proposal that is both viable and exciting, Stolyar and Tonev came up with the idea for the “Train Your Robot” game. Rocket Bots introduced a project for a game that enables players to build and train their own virtual robots and challenge the other players’ models. “We wanted to create something that would help young people learn coding and entertain them along the way,” Tonev said. “That is when we figured out that we can use mobile devices and games in order to reach children around the world and introduce them to the marvelous world of programming, or at least allow them to make their first steps towards its exploration.” The combination of motivation, creativity and effective teamwork is what helped Rocket Bots top the competition, Tonev said. The Microsoft Imagine Cup was not only an opportunity for the AUBGers to use their strengths but also a chance for them to upgrade their knowledge.
“Thanks to Microsoft Imagine Cup, we gained further insight into what it is like to work on a real video game project,” Tonev said. “As we had high expectations from ourselves, Imagine Cup showed us how to manage and prioritize our ideas and time efficiently,
in order to achieve the best we could.” Tonev also recognized the role AUBG played in their successful performance. “It is doubtful that we could have ever realized our ideas without having the sound foundation we received from AUBG,” he said. “I believe that the most valuable lesson we took from AUBG is that at the end of the competition, we knew exactly how to analyze the mistakes we made while working and make sure that we learn from them, so that we can grow and build on top of our flaws for any future endeavors.” Rocket Bots was not the only team that represented AUBG at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015. AUBG students Kristo Prifti, Sindi Shkodrani, Aurel Roci and Marlind Maksuti were also selected for the National Finals in the category Citizenship. The four students presented a software solution that helps rescue teams find people during natural disasters by sending a drone to patrol the affected area and to localize smartphones. While their team did not reach the world semifinals, the “project was appreciated from the jury and got a high interest from the audience,” Shkodrani said. Raya Yunakova, Startup audience marketing manager at Microsoft Bulgaria, has been observing AUBG students’ participation in Microsoft Imagine Cup since 2012. “Students from AUBG have always impressed not only with great ideas, that have the potential to massively change the way we live, but also with the quality of work they put into the execution of their projects,” she said. “The combination of the two results in high quality entries to the competition that often win them the trophies in their respective categories. With the passion I see in these young innovators, I have no doubt that in one way or another they will significantly influence our future.”
ADMISSIONS HIGHLIGHTS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AUBG’S NEW SELECTION P ROCEDURES By Tsvetiana Zaharieva
AUBG’s admissions office implemented a new selection procedure that includes TOEFL scores, high school GPA, portfolios and interviews but does not require SAT scores. The idea of making the SAT exam optional was proposed by the university’s administration to the AUBG Board of Trustees last fall and was formally adopted. “The Board was absolutely clear that we must maintain the same high quality of students,” AUBG Provost Steven Sullivan said. “So we have new ways of looking at the students’ academic record through the high-school grades and TOEFL scores that we will use to evaluate the applicant’s academic quality. And then, of course, after we implement this new rule, we would be looking at how well it performs and making adjustments over time, refining the process as we collect more information.” “It was a long due step for AUBG to drop SAT as an admissions requirement,” said Rossen Petkov, instructor of marketing and a member of the Admissions Committee at AUBG. “Since 2015 our university is joining more than 800 US colleges and universities that have an SAT optional policies – an applications approach that was accelerated after the 2005 SAT revision in the United States.” Considering the recently completed selection process, Admissions Director Boriana Shalyavska said the university is confident it can identify students who will thrive on campus without having SAT scores as a factor. She said the admissions office is looking for smart, active people with vivid personalities who can contribute to the AUBG community. She said the interviews and portfolios provided by prospective
students have impressed the counselors. After filling out the online application form, the student can submit a portfolio. It can include things like artwork, a demonstration of video editing, or photographic ability. If the applicants don’t have a portfolio, many of their achievements can be summarized on their CV. Admissions counselors also urge prospective students to submit their extra-curricular work, too, because the typical AUBG student participates in a wide variety of activities during their college life. The next stage is interviews of all the qualified applicants. All students who qualify for admission based on TOEFL scores and high school GPA are invited to participate in an interview, either on campus or through Skype. The interview is conducted by two people. In order to make it as objective as possible, the interviewers receive only the name of the applicant. Admissions counselors are not allowed to interview people from the same region or country they’re responsible for. Most of the interviews happened online. The interviewers ask questions about their extracurricular achievements, favorite high school subjects, their friends and hobbies. In order to retain a level of spontaneity, the interviewers follow up on some questions by asking for specifics. “The interviews can tell you a lot,” Shalyavska said. “It’s a complement to everything else the students have presented in their application in addition to their test scores.” Following the new selection procedures, AUBG welcomed 225 high-achieving first-year students in fall 2015.
ADMISSIONS A VIBRANT COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS INTERNATIONAL WEEK 2015: JOY, TALENTS AND CULINARY TREASURES By Tsvetiana Zaharieva, Nikol Meshkova and Dimana Doneva
AUBG once again dived into a six-day diversity celebration marked with laughter, talented performances, fun games, and delicious food. The International Week, traditionally organized by the University Phi Beta Delta Honor Society, is the annual event honoring the atmosphere of respect and curiosity among AUBG’s multinational community. The week-long festivities started with “Country Presentations” on Monday, Feb.16. Students and faculty from 13 countries, including France, Greece, Mongolia, Tajikistan and the U.S., presented the most common stereotypes about their homeland. Professor Pierangelo Castagneto amused the public in BAC Auditorium by sharing the biases about Italy, confirming hand gestures make up a large part of the language and coffee is among the most underappreciated beverages as there are close to 50 ways to order a “coffee” in his homeland. The Quiz Game Jeopardy was another unforgettable part of the International Week. JMC professor and Fulbright scholar Dan Fellner hosted the game where three teams of students and professors competed. After an unpredictable and challenging contest, the team of Prof. John Mullen and AUBG students Liliya Gaisina, Elena Akhmetova and Boris Khodan, The Globe, got the golden medal. Pointe shoes, microphones, guitars and many smiles were all present in the “AUBG Got Talent” show, the next event on the agenda of the International Week on Feb. 19. This annual talent show brought the AUBG community together to celebrate the diversity of talent on campus. A total of 26 students performed in front of more than 300 students, faculty and staff who filled the seats of the ABF Theatre. Hosts Professor Diego Lucci and second-year student Tsvetiana Zaharieva made sure to keep the energy high 20
and the audience entertained, which also included Prof. Lucci giving an impromptu performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the theme song from “The Wizard Of Oz.” Responsible for the organization of the marvelous show were the Phi Beta Delta members Timur Huseynov, Artem E remin, Andrei Pavlenko, Liliya Fatykhova and AUBG events coordinator Radosveta Miltcheva. The series of events continued with a panel discussion that gathered students in ABF Student Center to discuss “Culture Shock.” The panel consisted of Prof. Ivelin Sardamov and Prof. Dannie Chalk, and students Aleksandar Cakic and Svetlana Koroleva. Koroleva and Cakic shared parts of their experience as exchange students in the U.S. The International Week culminated in the unquestionably most popular event – the “International Taste Fest.” On Saturday, Feb. 21, AUBG’s Sports Hall was bursting with excitement and anticipation as hundreds of hungry students awaited the crowning event of the diversity celebrations. This year, representatives from 19 countries treated everyone to the culinary treasures, traditional costumes and mesmerizing folk dances of their homelands. Those were Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. By giving one more chance to AUBGers to unite and celebrate their diversity by something as simple as homemade food and a chance to honor each other’s traditions, the Taste Fest completed the International Week with a truly wonderful ending filled with laughter, light-heartedness and eager anticipation for the next one.
SHOW ME HOW YOU “BURLESQUE!” By Tsvetiana Zaharieva The choreographers have a set schedule and tasks for each day that they follow closely. Late arrivals are not tolerated and result into punishments for the whole cast. Most of the time we do pushups, but the exercises vary depending on the mood of the choreographers.
The curtains closed for the last time for “Burlesque,” but its spirit continues to take over the campus and to live in the hearts of those who were part of it. My name is Tsvetiana Zaharieva and it was my second year as a member of the Broadway Performance Club. As a freshman, I played the role of Sylvia in “All Shook Up,” but this year I had a different experience. Besides dancing on stage and having a small role, I also served as one of the assistant-directors. It was quite a journey – challenging, rewarding, exhausting, enjoyable, empowering, stressful, entertaining, baring (it was “Burlesque” after all), but most of all - heartwarming. Seeing it all come together at the end was the best part, the proof that all the sleepless nights were worth it. “Burlesque” is the eighth project of the club and it’s based on the musical movie with the same title, which starred Christina Aguilera and Cher. Before the audience sees the final product there’s an extensive preparation process that goes on for most of two semesters. The rehearsals become a part of our weekly schedule and are the most fun. It’s the time we escape our hectic schedules and relish a higher form of art. It’s also our three-hour-long daily workout. Nevertheless, the rehearsals are a very serious and important process.
Approximately a month before the premiere, we enter the theatre and rehearse there. Just the sight of the red seats in front of us boosts our energy because we know soon there will be a huge crowd watching us. We also started working with props and costumes, which give us a sense of how big and real this project is going to be. As we get closer to the premiere, the theatre becomes our second home – we rehearse there, we study there, we take naps there, or we just hang out, breathing in the spirit of what’s about to come. When the curtain opens for the first time, that’s when the magic begins. The hall is packed. The smoke machine hisses. The music starts and the spotlight hits you. After that, it’s an adrenaline-fueled kick and you lose yourself completely. Before you know it, the first act is over. A couple of breaths later, you’re taking the final bow. Comments like “Brilliant and extremely emotional performance! You guys outdid yourselves once again!” and “It was the BEST thing ever” flood our social media news feeds. The buzz on campus is overwhelming. When the last performance is over, we have become a family. We make musical references in almost every sentence we hear. We celebrate each other’s birthdays by eating cake in the middle of the night. We have a bond that will last beyond our years at AUBG. To me, the musical is magic, a source of positive energy and a safe space. The Broadway Performance Club has ended up giving me more than I expected – friends for life, confidence in myself and my abilities, and an opportunity to take the stage in a large-scale production. I’ll always be thankful for that.
JOB FAIR 2015: JOINING STUDENTS AND EMPLOYERS By Aleksandar Cakic
Fifty registered corporate recruiters offering positions in IT, marketing and finance highlighted the 22nd annual Job Fair organized by the AUBG Career Center April 1 at the ABF Student Center. The companies attracted students to their booths with offers for full-time employment, internships or training programs. Representatives of Bright Consulting, CocaCola and Gameloft said that they were looking for highly motivated students fluent in business English and capable of working in a team environment. “What made AUBG students attractive was good knowledge on the companies as well as the ability to do a double major,” said a representative of Bright Consulting, Assia Marinova. As an example, she said that communication between fields such as IT and marketing can be difficult at times because of different communication styles and specialization. This is where AUBG students have an advantage, Marinova said, because they often have a double major that can help them bridge this gap and improve communication within the company.
Students also had a chance to study promotional material that the companies were giving away. For example, Telerik, a software company founded by AUBG alumni Vasil Terziev and Svetlozar Georgiev, gave out T-shirts with funny quotes: “Developer, only because code genius wasn’t a job title.” Many of the companies who were here for the first time enjoyed the fair and were surprised with the number of interested students and their approach. Students came prepared for the interviews and were interested not just in the positions but the working atmosphere as well. A representative from Coca-Cola said, “Students were well prepared for the interview and were asking me questions about my job and how I like the working atmosphere. This was interesting for me because usually students don’t come prepared or wouldn’t ask further than what we have to offer.” Some of the company representatives said they will expect students to contact them within a week. Others advised students to keep checking company websites for further opportunities.
STARTUP CONFERENCE 2015: HOW TO GET STARTED? JUMP IN! By Nikol Meshkova
Innovation, progress, success. Those are the goals every young entrepreneur pursues. But the path is rough and full of obstacles and it’s easy to get lost along the way. That’s where fourth annual StartUp Blagoevgrad conference comes in. 22
StartUP@Blagoevgrad is a student-run organization led by AUBGers that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and students who want to start their own business. Elvin Guri, an AUBG graduate, CEO of EMP Invest
and advisor to Empower Capital, set the tone of the event by tackling the subject of innovation. He touched upon the two types of innovation - disruptive and incremental and their use in entrepreneurship. Among the other prominent lecturers that shared advice during the first day of the conference were Rennie Popcheva, founder of the platform Embrioo.com, Ivaylo Hristov, who established the Bulgarian-Danish company Komfo, the CTO of Despark Stoyan Dipchikov, Petar Goryalov, CEO and founder of DreamersDo and Svetlin Nakov, most famous for founding Telerik Academy and the new Software University. The second day of the conference began with a short but inspiring video by the father of entrepreneurship -- Bob Dorf -- made specifically for the AUBG audience. He talked about the importance of events like the StartUp Conference and the key ingredients to succeeding in a new business. Boyan Benev, CMO of MammothDB, author of three books, television and radio host, as well as producer of the ethno-fusion band Oratnitza and one of the six members of the local panel of experts for The Venture, shared his expertise in social entrepreneurship. Delcho Delchev, another big name in the social entrepreneurship field in Bulgaria and founder of
the Transformatori Association, spoke about how impressive and rewarding the work can be. One of the speakers - Elena Marinova – president of Musala Soft and a member of the AUBG Board of Trustees, focused on smartly using what you already have in the best possible way. The most interactive part of the event included a demonstration of how to pitch a business idea in front of investors by six startups from Eleven, Sofia and later on, a discussion on the topic. Taking part in this portion of the conference were Zdravko Genchev from MAXCART, Natanail Stefanov from Kuknall, Iliyan Oprev from ARTery, Aleksandar Dimitrov from Novalogy and Silvija Renusa from B.Guard. These practical experience exercises were conducted under the guidance of Milena Stoycheva, the executive director of Junior Achievement Bulgaria, who gave some useful tips during the discussion. Facilitator of the talk was AUBG marketing professor Milena Nikolova. The last three speakers in this year’s conference were Alexandar Dourchev, CEO of All Channels Bulgaria and professor at AUBG, Olaf Guikema, one of the founders of TriplePro and Teodor Panayotov who registered his first company when he was 20 years old.
BEYOND AUBG AND BEYOND NATURAL: TEDX AUBG By Nikoleta Ilieva in education, press freedom, misunderstandings in intercultural communication, overcoming absence, and finding happiness. Part of the speakers included two students, Nikola Mladenovic and Kristiyan Dimitrov, one AUBG EMBA alum, Georgi Malchev, and one AUBG professor, Dr. Dannie Chalk. Mladenovic opened the first session of the event. He spoke about theatre as his passion and hobby and the way acting helped him cope with his speaking problems. “Allow yourself to show the world who you really are and what you are capable of,” Mladenovic said.
Anyone who has watched a TED Talk online is familiar with the adrenaline rush of sitting in front of the screen and breathing in the inspiration. On March 14, 100 people experienced the TEDx phenomenon in person with the fourth annual TEDxAUBG: “Beyond Natural.” This year’s event at the America for Bulgaria Student Center “Dr. Carl Djerassi Theater Hall” triggered imagination with talks that included gamification
Former chair of the Supervisory Group of AIESEC International Fernando Lanzer talked about the misunderstandings that appear in intercultural communication and the norms that guide people’s behavior. He compared the United States, Bulgaria and the Netherlands when talking about the differences in hierarchical structures of societies. “You need to understand a culture and in the meantime realize that changing a culture is very difficult,” Lanzer said. Georgi Malchev, a business advisor, professor at New
Bulgarian University in Sofia, and AUBG EMBA graduate was also among the TEDxAUBG speakers. He talked about integrating games into learning.
culture,” said AUBG student Martin Georgiev. “At TEDx, you always learn something new, expose yourself to new ideas and experiences.”
AUBG student and TEDxAUBG speaker Krisityan Dimitrov said he was honored to be a part of the event. “I really can’t believe it is over, it was simply amazing,” he said.
The event’s success is not only thanks to the 11 amazing speakers, and the responsive audience but also to the organizing team.
Other speakers at the event were AUBG professor of literature Dannie Chalk, painter, book illustrator and sculptor Iva Sasheva, Bulgarian young artist Thea Denoljubova, journalist and media consultant Veselin Dimitrov who has worked for Forbes and DER SPIEGEL, CERN particle physicist Clara Nellist, Harvard graduate and Woman of the Year in the Community category in 2012 Evgenia Peeva, and Portuguese entrepreneur Filipe Castro Matos. “I liked the lineup for the event, the speakers covered many subjects that interest me such as media and
TEDxAUBG becomes more and more popular every year among AUBG students, faculty and staff. According to Vlad Muntean, president of TEDxAUBG 2015, the event helps the AUBG community expand its knowledge in different fields. There are many TEDx events that are organized with the help of an advisor, teacher or mentor. TEDxAUBG is different because it is organized entirely by students who select the speakers and the audience. The result is a hall full of creative and different people who share the same passion: ideas worth spreading.
AUBG OLYMPICS CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY By Tatyana Ten
AUBG students followed the flame of the 10th annual AUBG Olympics on Sunday, April 19 to Blagoevgrad’s Porter Baseball Field for another chance to show their athletic skill in competition with other students, alumni and faculty. The event was split into three days starting with the opening ceremony on Friday evening when people gathered in front the ABF Student Center for a small picnic that was hosted by the Olympics crew. AUBG Dance Crew and Reverie Sound singers Angelina Markova and Desislava Nikolova performed in a concert dedicated to the anniversary of the club. After 24
the concert, the Olympic fire was lit, signifying the opening of the Games. Saturday was devoted to marathon runners. All the major events and competitions were held Sunday, though the morning greeted participants with clouds, rain and fears that the day would be washed out. But the skies cleared and the sun shined and the air was warm for most of the day. Students could participate in 15 different disciplines ranging from volleyball to soccer, tennis to dodgeball and wrestling to the traditional tug of war. Olympics
crew members sold T-shirts for a charity campaign to collect money for organizers of the Paralympic Games in Bulgaria. All attendees had the chance to participate in a free lottery to win special prizes. AUBG student Tsvetiana Zaharieva won the biggest prize – a trip for two to Istanbul. At the end of the day, winners were awarded medals, certificates of participation and prizes by a celebrity guest – Rumyana Neykova. Neykova is a famous Bulgarian rower who participated in the Summer Olympics of 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. She won a gold medal in single sculls rowing in 2008 (Beijing), a silver medal in 2000 (Sydney) and a bronze medal in 2004 (Athens). The AUGB Olympics attracted around 800 people including current students, alumni, sponsors and
Blagoevgrad residents. However, the event was most interesting to those who have never seen it before – freshmen. “I participated only in arm wrestling, skills challenge and tug of war, but it was a lot of fun and a very good atmosphere,” said AUBG first year student Karina Barambayeva. Olympics president for 2015 Kaloyan Vasilev believes that the team is at its best right now and the club will grow bigger and stronger in the years to come. “For me, it’s more than an extra-curricular activity, more than a club, even more than a family,” Vasilev said. “It is a way to express my creativity, my motivation and hard work while being a part of highly dedicated and devoted company of friends.”
STUDENT RADIO AURA TURNS 22 By Tsvetiana Zaharieva
A three-day-long birthday bonanza took over AUBG last week to celebrate the student-run Radio AURA’s 22nd anniversary.
screening proved to me what a great team are the people in AURA and inspired me by the spirit that they built together.”
The first event was on March 11, when Radio AURA in cooperation with the AUBG Documentary Club hosted a screening of the documentary “The Voices Behind the Mike: The History of Radio AURA.” The movie was the Capstone project of Nevena Dragoshinova (‘14), who is also an alumna of the radio station. The event was attended both by club members as well as devoted fans all of whom at the end were moved by what they had just seen.
Radio AURA was founded by Christo Grozev in 1993 and was the first private radio station in Bulgaria. For the past 22 years, it has been through periods of uncertainty, change, ups and downs, but it has never lost its spirit.
“The movie about radio AURA was really touching,” said AUBG student Mina Dobreva. “The movie
In 2011, AURA went through its toughest period when it lost its frequency due to financial reasons. For that academic year, they went on air for the first time in March for their birthday. However, the members of the club persevered and continued spreading the AURA spirit among the AUBG community and beyond. Ever
since, AURA has been an online radio station.
outs on Facebook,” Pirkuliyeva said.
The movie also revealed what a special place AURA holds in its past and current members. It is also where many popular voices that are currently on air had their beginning such as Simeon Kolev, a radio host at BG radio, as well as Nikolay Yanchovicin, who is the general manager of Communicorp, which is responsible for some of the major radio stations in Bulgaria.
The next part of the celebrations continued on March 13, and started off with the traditional yard party in front of Skaptopara 1. Later, there was an official cocktail for the past and current members of the radio station, as well as faculty, administration and all the club presidents.
On March 12, AURA opened its doors to all the curious minds to see what it is actually like in the studio itself. Ayna Pirkuliyeva, a co-director of the DJs department, showed the visitors around, invited them to co-host Decaff and then asked them for feedback and comments. “The idea of the open house was to let people know that AURA is more than just parties with free beer and endless ‘tune in!’ shout-
“The cocktail party is a very special event for AURA because we celebrate not only our birthday, but the AUBG culture, that all clubs contribute to,” said Mirela Dineva, the AURA general manager for 2015. “It is important that we collaborate with each other in order to maintain the vibrance of life at AUBG.” The birthday celebration concluded in a local club, where there were special performances by current Bulgarian artists.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE AUBG TALKS CLUB By Anu Molor
The people who are usually behind the cameras of AUBGTalks stepped into the spotlight to share a bit of knowledge about the group that has recorded and published more than 100 university-related videos since it was formed in 2012. “Since we were established, we have always recorded events organized by others and never did one by ourselves,” said AUBGTalks executive director Katalina Dimitrova. “That’s why we decided to do it. We also made it educational because we wanted to follow our mission and share knowledge.” AUBGTalks records guest lecturers who come to campus so the students who are unable to attend can watch them later. The videos also serve as an archive of the interesting, thought-provoking and educational activity that happens at the university. The event on April 6 was intended to be an inside 26
look at the club and its processes, but it was also a workshop for the students who wanted to learn more about shooting, editing and publishing videos. For instance, video editors showed visitors how to edit videos to the standards that AUBGTalks requires. The design team showed others how to use Photoshop to make thumbnails and posters. Web masters described how they maintain the website, while the communications manager talked about her work promoting videos through different media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The videographers shot the whole event while the published videos of AUBGTalks were playing in the background. “I think the team was happy to help and show what they do,” Dimitrova said. “In that way, they realized their skills are important and interesting to others.”
STUDENTS GO GREEN DURING ENVIRONMENTAL WEEK By Tatyana Ten environment and what we do with our planet,” AUBG student Munir Dorgabekov said. The event culminated in a concert during “Earth Hour.” Members of the AUBG Rock Jamming Club, PTPI Better Community Club, beatboxers and singers performed. Organizers of the event handed out little candles to help create a cozy and friendly atmosphere. Turning trash into artistic treasures was one of the many activities that launched AUBG’s campus into environmental awareness March 22-28. The university’s Green Campus Committee sponsored the event, the seventh annual Environmental Week at AUBG, with the goal of reminding students of the importance of protecting our planet. Participants during the week collaborated in a variety of eco-friendly events: an Olympics kick-off game, T-shirt workshop, environmental quiz, flower planting and the annual “treasure from Trash” workshop. That last event was an artistic reminder of how anyone can create something amazing out of materials that would usually go to the garbage bin. “I’d like to thank all the clubs that organize this because this does actually raise awareness about the
Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 as an effort to get people to turn off non-essential lights for one hour every year. Since then it has become a global environmental awareness movement. Aita Romanova, an AUBG student and a member of the Better Community Club, has helped to organize the event in past years but this year was the first time she was able to perform on stage. “It was a challenge because of the weather; my fingers were cold,” she said. “But at the same time, it was really heartwarming to see smiley faces and positive reaction of people.” Margita Kolcheva, president of PTPI Better Community Club for 2015 and organizer of the Environment Week, said she believes that the event just keeps getting better every year and is an essential part of the campus community’s effort to raise awareness of environmental problems.
AN INNOVATIVE INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN HISTORY: THE BLACK LIGHT SHOW By Aliaksandra Salanevich
The history of life on Earth played out over 45 minutes in an innovative black light show that featured music, dance and special effects that wowed a packed theater in the America for Bulgaria Foundation Student Center.
major and graduating senior Kristiyan Dimitrov two years ago.
The idea of creating a black light show – called “The Story of Life” -- first visited business and mathematics
But not until professor Veneta Andonova urged him to turn the idea into a Strategic Management class
“I started thinking seriously about the project last semester while I was taking Theory and Experiment, a physics course,” Dimitrov said.
project did it come to life, he said. Dimitrov first needed to recruit talented people to join the project. It took him about three weeks, but he was able to gather a team: AUBG Dance Crew, the Rock Jamming Club, theater assistants, and Strategic Management classmates Stoil Stoilov and Nare Avetisyan. Literature professor Dannie Chalk narrated the show. As more and more people became aware of the project, others started to volunteer to help. Professor in Spanish Yavor Gueorguiev, for instance, suggested adding live music to the show. “Playing guitar has been my hobby for around 20 years, and I had the pleasure to gig around Bulgaria with several bands,” Gueorguiev said. “I perfectly know that nice push that a live band gives on stage.”
After weeks of preparations and rehearsals, the show launched to a theater filled with both AUBG students, faculty and staff, and also local Blagoevgrad students and their families. During the show, audience members – bathed in darkness save for the UV lights directed toward the stage -experienced the technical wonders of life before humans and were guided through an exhilarating sensory journey that glided through the present time and into the future. The show was a great success among the public. “I loved the show,” said AUBG student Olga Kvak. “It was something absolutely new for AUBG and I hope that such projects will be developed in future.”
Once the creative team was gathered together, the script, the music and the performance started to take shape.
Dimitrov suggested that might be possible. He planned to gather all the necessary materials and leave them at AUBG as a sample for future enthusiasts.
Dimitrov was creative director and was responsible for the script. The AUBG Dance Crew choreographed the stage show. The theater staff helped with technical aspects and decorations. Stoilov was responsible for the sound effects. And Avetisyan was working on the organization and the funding of the project.
“I was on stage and I know that Kristiyan’s ‘Story of Life’ has the potential to become something even bigger,” Gueorguiev said. “I would encourage everyone who has been involved in it to don´t quit the project and continue working on it in Fall 2015.”
Teodor Dimitrov (’14): “I would forever and ever advise AUBG students to do an exchange” By Dimana Doneva and more than 300 American institutions. They also could choose whether to spend a semester or a whole year abroad. All this without any increase in the tuition they pay at AUBG. Those in need of financial help were eligible to receive a Travel Fund provided by the university. One of the AUBG students who dared to cross the globe and gain an unforgettable academic and cultural experience in the U.S. is Teodor Dimitrov (’14). Dimitrov spent a semester of his junior year at the Miami University of Ohio. Providing an enriching and diverse international experience to its students is a long-established priority of the American University in Bulgaria. This is why the university administration works hard to ensure students have the chance to embrace new cultures and explore the world while studying at AUBG.
The university encourages all AUBG students to take part in an exchange program in Europe or the U.S., and students from other universities are welcomed on campus every semester. In the past academic year, 30 AUBG students went on exchange. Those students could select from among more than 50 schools across Europe
“I went on exchange because I had heard great stories from other ISEP-ers and I felt like I needed a change of pace,” Dimitrov said. “Also, I always wanted to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in a full American environment.” Dimitrov is a business administration and political science major who has demonstrated both academic excellence and diverse interests ranging from entrepreneurship to theater. He stayed true to himself in the States where he took classes such as Shakespeare and Introduction to Leadership. Dimitrov wanted to explore the university beyond the curriculum and joined different student political
clubs on campus. He was especially active with the Model United Nations and was even elected his dorm’s General Assembly representative. While Dimitrov kept up with his academic and personal interests at Miami University, leaving his hometown of Blagoevgrad also helped him acquire new skills, he said. “I definitely got more confident,” Dimitrov said. “Also, I had to learn to deal with living in my own dorm room, budget appropriately, adapt to a different culture.”
“I would forever and ever advise other AUBG students to do an exchange,” Dimitrov said. “You’ll make great friends, create eternal memories, see and meet people from every part of the globe - from Brazil to China and South Korea.” After he graduated, Dimitrov established his own renewable energy company, which is constructing solar parks in Europe and Turkey. His plans for the future? To return to the U.S. for an MBA degree in an Ivy League school.
THEY MAKE US PROUD AUBG AWARDS THREE TCHAPRACHIKOFF SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2015 Tchaprachikoff Scholar Rostislava Ivanova (’07): “Being an AUBG graduate opens doors as a ‘secret password’” By Dimana Doneva the AUBG Business Club. As an alumna, she continues to contribute to the AUBG community and is currently the vice president of the “AUBG Alumni Association”.
Many AUBG graduates land jobs at top international companies and continue their studies in the best graduate programs in the world. Committed to supporting its alumni on their journey to academic and career success, AUBG awards the Tchaprachikoff scholarship to graduates of Bulgarian descent who are admitted in a top 20 U.S. school. AUBG alumna Rostislava Ivanova (‘07) recently became one of the 27 graduates in the history of AUBG to receive this honor. Ivanova was accepted to the MBA program at the University of Virginia-Darden School of Business, one of the most prestigious graduate programs in the United States. In the years after graduation, Ivanova has become a successful professional in brand marketing. Her leadership skills and dedication to excellence were already apparent while she was a student at AUBG. In addition to completing a major in business administration and a minor in economics, she began the process of opening an AIESEC chapter in Blagoevgrad. Ivanova also was an active member of
The university has supported Ivanova in her development in more than one way, she said. “AUBG provided me with a whole new perspective on the world and prepared me for the challenging and dynamic business environment after graduation,” she said. “The ‘learning-by-doing’ approach of most of my professors gave me perspective on real business cases and practical hands-on experience. All the teamwork projects I had really helped me shape an open mind and learn how to build upon and develop good ideas.” AUBG’s close-knit community and vivid campus life helped her build lifelong friendships and valuable networks, Ivanova said. “As an alumna now I realize how big of an impact this unique environment has had on my life not only while a student, but also after graduation,” she said. “As we are everywhere, being an AUBG graduate truly opens doors as a ‘secret password.’” AUBG’s powerful alumni network was actually one of the reasons Ivanova chose to continue her specialization in marketing in the Darden School of Business. In addition to it being a top-10 MBA program, it has a very dynamic, strong and practical style of education. Ivanova had an AUBG friend at Darden who gave her information on “the exciting Darden experience from first hand,” she said. “I would like to note that without the Tchaprachikoff scholarship, I wouldn’t be sharing with you all this information,” Ivanova said. “I want to say ‘Thank you’ once more to AUBG and the executor of the will of Anna Tchaprachikoff.”
Tchaprachikoff Scholar Ani Gesheva (’07): At AUBG, “it feels like everyone is invested in your academic and personal success” By Dimana Doneva look outward, embrace adventure and curiosity,” Gesheva said. “The education in the tradition of the liberal arts along with the promotion of independent and critical thinking, the incredibly diverse and intelligent students and the outstanding faculty at AUBG had a tremendous impact on my personality and career path.” AUBG also provides an environment that encourages students to push their own boundaries, Gesheva said. “I think that there is something very constructive and propelling in the energy on the AUBG campus,” she said. “It feels like everyone is invested in your academic and personal success, from professors to members of the administration.”
Whether they reach new academic heights, embark on remarkable professional journeys or exercise strong ethical leadership, AUBG alumni are always a source of pride for the university. In the years after graduation, Ani Gesheva (’07) has succeeded in combining her academic and business aspirations and her desire to bring positive change to the society through her knowledge in economics. Gesheva obtained an MA in economics from the New York University, became a successful analyst, and is now ready for her newest adventure: acquiring an MBA from the Columbia Business School. AUBG has awarded Gesheva the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship, which will support her during her studies at the Ivy League institution. Proactive and determined, Gesheva sought many opportunities for personal and professional development while at AUBG. In addition to double-majoring in Business Administration and Economics, she attended summer schools in Berlin and Madrid, participated in an exchange program for a year in Orono, Maine, worked as a newscaster for the student-run radio AURA and as a peer educator with the AUBG Counseling Center, and spent two summers in the U.S. under the Work & Travel program. “I certainly obtained a solid foundation in economics and finance at AUBG, but more importantly, AUBG empowered me to follow my own path, to 30
Upon completing her Bachelor’s degree, Gesheva was awarded a scholarship to spend a year in a liberal arts environment in Bard College Berlin where she explored European intellectual history and probed some of the fundamental assumptions of economics through philosophical inquiry. In 2008, she went to New York University as a Fulbright Scholar. While in the States, Gesheva landed a job in a New Yorkbased asset management firm. Gesheva then returned to Bulgaria where she joined Entrea Capital, an AUBG alumni-led boutique investment bank. “At Entrea Capital, I worked on a number of meaningful advisory projects for the Bulgarian government,” Gesheva said. “I later joined a high-profile financial stability team at the Bulgarian National Bank, which gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge of the financial institutions industry while also using my skills to contribute to the greater good.” Wishing to further enhance her expertise in the financial services industry and realizing the value of a rigorous EMBA program, Gesheva opted to pursue a degree from the Columbia Business School, an institution consistently ranked among the top five in the U.S. “I think that such experience will prepare me for the role I am eager to play in the economy of Bulgaria once I have gained valuable experience, and would enable me to become a better contributor to the AUBG and the Bulgarian community,” she said. “Largely owing to the generosity of the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship fund, I am looking forward for my time at Columbia Business School and New York to be at least as transforming an experience as my time at AUBG was.”
Tchaprachikoff Scholar Daniella Gruwell (’07): “AUBG has a great reputation not only in the Balkans but also in the United States” By Dimana Doneva One of the AUBG faculty members, Les Townsend, who taught Business Law, played an important role in nurturing Gruwell’s desire to continue her studies in a law school. After graduating from AUBG, Gruwell completed an accounting internship in a web development firm in Iowa that brought her closer to the goal of pursuing graduate education in the U.S. She then completed a paralegal program offered by a local college and began a career as a paralegal first in a personal injury law firm and then in a large insurance company. Currently, Gruwell is employed as a workers’ compensation paralegal in the largest law firm in Iowa, Nyemaster Goode, PC. During her time in the U.S., Gruwell realized that the local professional and academic community is aware of the strong potential that AUBG graduates possess. Passionate, hard-working and determined, AUBG graduate Daniella Gruwell (’07) has already established herself as a paralegal in the United States and now has been accepted for a Juris Doctor Degree at the prestigious school of law at the University of Texas at Austin. Gruwell graduated from AUBG with majors in business and economics. The time spent at the university was a key factor in her personal and professional development, she said. “The greatest benefit I derived from AUBG is the great friendships with students from all parts of the world and an alumni network of amazing people whose accomplishments make me proud to be an AUBG graduate and motivate me to set higher goals for myself because their experiences have shown me year after year that anything is achievable through hard work and determination,” Gruwell said.
“I discovered that AUBG has a great reputation not only in the Balkans but also in the United States, where most major companies and top graduate schools are familiar with the exceptional performance, skills and work ethic of AUBG alumni,” she said. “In fact, during my law school application cycle last year, I received unsolicited letters from a number of top universities encouraging me to apply and stating that my undergraduate school (AUBG) was one of the schools whose graduates they were specifically seeking.” Gruwell’s professional experience in law paired with her solid academic foundation and strong application got her accepted with a merit scholarship to the University of Texas School of Law, an institution that ranks first among the top 15 law schools in the U.S. for biggest return on investment after graduation.
In addition to the peer network of ambitious and talented people, Gruwell also found inspiration in the professors at AUBG. “The rigorous curriculum, taught by exceptional faculty with degrees from some of the best universities in the world, gave me an outstanding preparation for a successful career in an Englishspeaking professional environment,” Gruwell said. 31
NEW YORK AREA ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP LOOKS TO BUILD A LEGACY By Dimana Doneva and Nelly Ovcharova
Years after they have completed graduate studies and started successful careers, many AUBG alumni have found ways to show their gratitude to the university. Such is the story of the U.S.-based graduates who established the New York Area Alumni Scholarship, which continues to support some of the university’s brightest students. Early in 2013, six successful and highly motivated AUBG alumni decided to give back to AUBG community after an inspiring alumni meeting with then-president Michael Easton in New York. They organized and managed the fundraising process, and in a few weeks’ time managed to involve 19 other alumni from the Tri-state area (NY, NJ and CT) to raise $8,400. The money that they raised was divided into four scholarships of $2,100 each, covering University-related expenses of the recipients for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters. The members of the Magnificent Six behind this generous initiative are Varbin Staykoff (’96), Dessi Nikolova (’96), Alec Oliver (’01), Elena Krumova (’95), Nikolai Dimitrov (’99) and Ana Milicevic (’01). All of them have outstanding professional backgrounds in companies such as JP Morgan, American Express, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Deloitte, and all of them consider AUBG a milestone in their personal and professional development. “We were all incredibly proud of our institution and what it’s done for our own lives and professional development,” Milicevic said. “We wanted to make sure that we are paying it forward for students that are coming on board.” Milicevic, Staykoff and Dimitrov – the core team 32
behind the NY Area Alumni Scholarship today – have begun building it into an endowed scholarship, a permanent funding source that will grow and support deserving students today and in the future. To the question why they decided to start this scholarship, the alumni explain that it was their way to support the AUBG fundraising efforts in a more visible way, by recognizing the importance and the need of “solid alumni participation.” Furthermore, they stress that this scholarship sets an example for the current students and promotes a culture of “giving back.” Alumni participation in the fundraising process is not necessarily related to substantial donations, but it should be constant and it should start right after graduation. “For me the purpose of the scholarship goes beyond showing our gratitude to AUBG,” Staykoff said. “It also supports AUBG’s mission and founding values, which I find now as relevant as when I was at the school in the early ‘90s.” Milicevic said starting the scholarship was the best way to “energize our alumni community.” “Initially the goal was to support one scholarship as a start, but we succeeded in raising enough funds to support four,” she said. Since its start only two years ago, the NY Area Alumni Scholarship has already supported nine AUBG students who have pursued a variety majors. What unites them all, donors and recipients, is the determination to be part of the positive change in their region and the world.
THE AUBG ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFERS A SCHOLARSHIP FOR SOPHOMORE STUDENTS By Martin Georgiev
organizing is the annual meeting with graduating seniors where they introduce them to the association and talk about life after AUBG. They will also continue their presence at the Job Fair in the spring semester. “It’s an opportunity for connecting with alumni for internship opportunities and getting inside information about any industry that you might be interested in,” said Eftim Eftimov, the treasurer of AAA. After a successful fundraising campaign at the Mega Alumni Reunion in the spring of 2015, the AUBG Alumni Association (AAA) continues to give back to its alma mater. The association recently announced two $2,500 scholarships will be available to all current sophomore students. The students who receive this aid will also get the chance to work closely with the AAA. They will help with organizing alumni events on campus and be the bridge between the association and the student body. “Actually, it’s a great opportunity to meet very interesting people who have more or less the same experience as you,” said Ivan Gramatikov, president of AAA. “It’s a great connection and networking tool.” Among the events the alumni wish to continue
The association also plans to bring in graduates from different business fields to help students decide what area they may find interesting. The alumni hope that they will continue to offer financial help to current students. “So far this is the first (money) that we have raised and it is because we had a lot of alumni on campus and even small donations per person resulted in this amount,” Eftimov said. The AAA plans to do a similar fundraising effort for AUBG’s upcoming 25-year anniversary and other similar events. “This should definitely not be a one-time thing,” Eftimov said. “Alumni are one of the keys” to future fund-raising efforts for scholarships.
KOSOVO ALUMNI ESTABLISH A NEW SCHOLARSHIP By Dimana Doneva
members were there to share all things AUBG and to learn of the scholarship that will support future generations of Kosovar students. Marenglen Berisha (’06), an AUBG professor and alumnus from Kosovo, is one of the three initiators of the new Kosovo Alumni Scholarship. The scholarship will support one first-year student from Kosovo in spring 2016. Berisha was joined by Alban Pruthi (‘05) and Nita Gojani (‘07) during the AUBG Mega Alumni Reunion April 2015, where they discussed the scholarship with AUBG’s Admissions and Development offices. The announcement of a new scholarship created with donations from Kosovo alumni was the highlight of an Oct. 30 event for prospective students in Pristina. Current AUBG students, alumni, professors and staff
The alumni wished to create a named scholarship and had to collect $2,500. They sent emails to AUBG graduates from Kosovo asking them to donate and soon reached the requirement to create the scholarship. 33
“I was surprised at how fast we collected the money,” Berisha said. “There are 80 alumni from Kosovo, and at least 30 gave. Most of the donations came as soon as we sent the email. Hopefully, we can continue doing it every year.” Gojani and Pruthi, both presidential medalists of their classes at AUBG, have established successful careers after graduation. Gojani is currently working at the UN Women in Pristina and Pruthi is employed at the World Bank Group in Washington. AUBG admissions counselor Tracy Minard said the event in Kosovo was designed to introduce prospective students to the university. “The [recruitment] events are getting stronger each year with more interest and
more support,” she said. “It’s a lot of word of mouth and lots of people come because they have heard the buzz about AUBG.” Minard hosted a panel where members of the AUBG community talked about academics, student life and life after graduation at AUBG. “The professors and current students took time out of their fall break to attend,” Minard said. Berisha said the event was a huge success. “A lot of prospective students were there,” he said. “And they were really prospective students. They were not just there for an event, most of the people I talked to really wanted to apply.”
Google Anita Borg Scholar Sindi Shkodrani (’15): “AUBG may be small, but it is full of great minds” By Dimana Doneva Shkodrani’s potential was soon noticed outside the university as well. She was honored with the prestigious Google Anita Borg Scholarship, which aims to support the education of women in computer science. Academic achievements were not Shkodrani’s only advantage to other applicants. “AUBG gave me the opportunity to do much more,” she said. In addition to the number of extracurricular activities, she completed a senior project in COS. Shkodrani’s project consisted of a software solution that helps rescue teams find people during natural disasters by sending a drone to patrol the affected area and to localize smartphones. “The members of the [scholarship] jury believed the solution could really have an impact on the world and encouraged me to start marketing it as a product,” Shkodrani said. AUBG graduate Sindi Shkodrani (2015) is one of those students who perfectly exemplify the values of the university. Socially committed, hard-working and passionate for knowledge, Shkodrani achieved remarkable results during her four years at AUBG. In addition to excelling academically, Shkodrani, a computer science (COS) and information systems major, was an active member of the university community. She was the president of the Computer Science Student Union, one of the founders of the Engineering Club, coorganizer of the 2012 TEDxAUBG event and senator in the AUBG Student Government. Shkodrani was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in Computer Science at 2015 AUBG Honors Convocation and graduated summa cum laude. 34
Shkodrani, together with AUBG students Kristo Prifti, Aurel Roci and Marilind Maksuti, submitted the drone project to the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition and the idea was selected to take part in the Bulgarian National Finals in the Citizenship category. The Google Anita Borg Scholarship has enabled Shkodrani to pursue a master’s degree in artificial intelligence at the University of Amsterdam, a program that has been her first choice for years. “Artificial intelligence (AI) has always been inspiring to me due to its approach to problem-solving and potential to make an impact on the future,” Shkodrani said. “I am mostly interested in research that tries to apply AI techniques to medicine and I would also love to do AI for gaming.”
In addition to the financial help provided to the finalists, Google also covered their expenses for a “Scholars Retreat”, a four-day event at Google’s offices in London at the end of June. The event was not only a meeting place for successful women in computer science but also a kickoff of Google’s program for scholars that includes professional development and community impact-related activities. Shkodrani said she will continue to be involved with Google’s programs in Europe that encourage women in technology while completing her graduate
studies. She said she plans to launch a campaign with the same goal in her home country Albania with Google’s support. “Stand out, make an impact on the community,” Shkodrani advised current students at AUBG. “Use your AUBG years wisely. Use the time and dedication of your professors. Forget about procrastination, find what you love and do it every day. Think big. Use what you can do best to change the things around you. AUBG may be small, but it is full of great minds.”
Lachezar Atanasov (‘10): “I would not be where I am without the knowledge and support that I received from AUBG” By Dimana Doneva AUBG has left him with lifelong friendships and dear memories. One of the highlights of his four years at the university was when he and two colleagues took part in the nationwide Renault&Nissan competition and won. Atanasov, together with Atanas Dyulgerov (‘10) and Veliko Markov(‘10) were the team who proposed the fastest and most efficient way to penetrate the electric vehicles market in Bulgaria. “Overall there is no other university in Bulgaria that can give the experience of Skaptopara that we all so dearly miss,” he said. Atanasov said he believes his education at AUBG played an important role in his career development.
AUBG alumnus Lachezar Atanasov (’10) has reached remarkable heights during the years after graduation, developing broad expertise in sales and marketing and landing a job as an ads specialist at Google in Mountain View, California. Back at AUBG, Atanasov majored in Business Administration and had two minors: Computer Science and Information Systems. He was also one of the founding members of AIESEC Blagoevgrad and served as vice president of communication for two years there. Being part of an extracurricular activity further enhanced the knowledge and skills he acquired at AUBG, Atanasov said. “There was nothing better than getting great education from the courses that were taught at AUBG and putting the knowledge in practice through AIESEC,” he said.
“AUBG was not only a stepping stone but an elevator toward the next chapter of my life,” he said. “With the acquired skills I was able to get sponsored for H-1B visa and work for great companies like AT&T and currently at Google. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am without the knowledge and support that I received from AUBG.” In addition to working at Google, Atanasov is also performing part-time real estate management in San Francisco. His next career step, he said, is acquiring the three years of required professional experience to get accepted at Stanford and become a data scientist. Atanasov shared his advice on how to get the best out of the education at AUBG. “That would be the advice I give to my own nephew, who will be studying at AUBG,” he said. “Four years will pass in the blink of an eye. If you haven’t yet, write a list of things to accomplish and look at it and improve it every single day. 35
EMBA NEWS THE EMBA PROGRAM: DEDICATION, PERSEVERANCE AND GROWTH, ONE WEEKEND AT A TIME By Tsvetiana Zaharieva
It’s a sunny Sunday morning. It’s a few minutes before 9 a.m. and a group of people wearing smart clothes approaches the Elieff Center in Sofia. These are the 22 students in AUBG’s Executive MBA program. Among them are business people, doctors, lawyers and PR specialists, and they’re headed to room 301 where the Managerial Accounting class is about to begin. It’s been a familiar routine for these students over the past year or so. They have dedicated every other weekend to professional growth. In the end, they know it’ll pay off. Before this first class, though, some in the group gather to enjoy a cup of coffee and a nice talk on the balcony in the sun. Once it’s time to start, they quickly take their seats and diligently open their laptops and notebooks – ready to make the best out of the next two hours. The desks in the room form a U-shape and everyone has a name plate in front of them. Everybody has a fair chance of being called on to answer a question. Yet, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. That is until professor Marenglen Berisha, or Len as they call him, distributes the exam problems covering several of the past topics. The stress level rises noticeably. An hour later, though, the group has moved to discussing accounting problems such as whether they should buy a new truck or repair the old one or how to calculate the internal rate of return. Everyone relaxes when they get a break and step outside for some fresh air. But 15 minutes later, 36
they’re back in class because there’s so much to learn and so little time to do that. Managerial accounting might not seem to some like an exciting topic, but the students say Berisha “makes it interesting.” The sun is already high up in the sky, which means only one thing – it’s time to have lunch, rest their minds and get ready for the next class. An hour later, the EMBA students are back in the classroom. All the laptops are now closed, but everyone has a stack of papers in front of them. It’s the study case for professor Stephen McGuire’s Organizational Design and Management class. Before the case discussion, the professor offered pointers on how to deliver a presentation properly. Later, the group engaged in a high-paced talk about the newly appointed CEO of a museum in the U.S. and her attempts to improve its financial stability among other things. “It was not a regular case, but that’s why it’s so useful, because no one would really think about how non-profit organizations work nowadays and what struggles regarding their organizational performance they face on a daily basis,” said Pavlina Pavlova, an AUBG Executive MBA student who is employed in the software industry. In the late afternoon, the students pack up their laptops and papers and call it a day, leaving the Elieff Center with lots of new information, new assignments and new projects. This is the path to personal and professional growth and they’re all taking it, one weekend at a time.
AUBG HOSTS THE FIRST EXECUTIVE MBA ALUMNI DINNER By Dimana Doneva
AUBG Executive MBA graduates reunited with their colleagues and professors June 9 in a first of its kind EMBA Alumni Dinner in Sofia. All agreed the event featured a cheerful mood and inspiring presentations celebrating the EMBA program at Elieff Center. “We believe that tonight’s event is going to set the start of an initiative that every one of us was waiting for with anticipation,” said EMBA alumna Dimitrina Dobreva (2015), corporate sales manager at Toyota Balkans and host of the event. “And we believe it is going to evolve into a successful, long-term tradition.” Lucia Miree, AUBG dean of faculty and a professor of business, signaled her delight about the event. “I remember interviewing for the very first cohort as a faculty member,” she said. “I am committed to directing the program and to interacting with you.” Executive coach and EMBA professor Vladimir Borachev discussed the importance of leadership on innovation in business. “Don’t be afraid to open a door which is unknown to you,” he said. The acceptance of change as a means of improvement, practicing constantly and empowering employees by living and preaching one’s beliefs is what makes a person a leader that can drive progress, Borachev said. After AUBG’s faculty and administration, it was EMBA graduates’ turn to talk about the significance of the program. Slaveyko Djambazov (2010), co-founder of a number of healthcare companies and startups, gave a talk titled “How AUBG Woke Up My Brain.”
Having graduated medicine, Djambazov began his career in a very hierarchical organization. Despite the fact that at the age of 28 he was promoted to CEO of a company that grew to be a multimillion-leva business, Djambazov was not satisfied with the values of the company. “The most valued thing was profit,” Djambazov said. “I decided that I need something else. I didn’t feel comfortable with it. So I joined AUBG.” Djambazov said he underestimated the importance of the program at first. “But at AUBG, for the first time I learned about teamwork,” he said. “I also got a lot of friends. And we are still family friends and even we have common businesses with some of my co-students.” In addition, AUBG left him “a vault of not only textbooks but also concepts on how to get knowledge or how to get an advice,” Djambazov said. “I also changed my values. So on the top of my values is my family and health, and after that comes sharing and helping people.” Graduates of the bachelor program at AUBG also did not miss the chance to say a few words about the importance of the EMBA program. Eftim Eftimov (2008), treasurer of the AUBG Alumni Association (AAA), said AAA has been continuously working on getting the EMBA graduates more involved with the AUBG community and has recently invited EMBA graduates Georgi Malchev (2004) and Nina Thong (2014) to the board of the alumni association. The festive dinner concluded with a cocktail for all at the Elieff Center garden. 37
EMBA GRADUATES REVEAL THE SECRETS OF COGNITIVE BIASES By Dimana Doneva Why do we fear snake bites more than smoking? Why do we stay in unsatisfying relationships? And how can we tell confident from competent? These were just a few of the questions that AUBG Executive MBA graduates Stoyan Nedin (2014) and Dr. Slaveyko Djambazov (2010) answered at the leadership seminar “Cognitive Biases in Business.” More than 100 guests gathered at Elieff Center in Sofia on May 28 to learn how understanding cognitive errors can lead to better organization management and wiser business decisions. The interactive seminar began with Djambazov, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder and investor in several companies, discussing behavioral economics, a new science that proved economics can be irrational. “We are going to talk about things that are around since mankind is around but they found explanation very recently,” Djambazov said. “After tonight you are not going to be immune against irrationality. You will be the same irrational people you were this morning, but at least you will be able in some of the cases to recognize irrationality and maybe prevent it.” One common cognitive bias is the way people selectively perceive information, said Nedin, CEO and co-founder of Nexpur and Partner at Teres Capital. People tend to ignore the unavailable data and decide based only on what they know, he said. Yet another flaw of decision-making is the inability to correctly measure scale and scope. People tend to succumb to irrational fears like the fear of a plane crash or a snake bite, Nedin said, and disregard real dangers like the harm of smoking. Group thinking is also among the popular cognitive errors. Experiments proved that people are likely to give an obviously wrong answer to a question that was
wrongly answered by others before them. “One thing distinguishes successful entrepreneurs,” Nedin said. “They are able to isolate themselves from this group thinking and create their own reality.” The reluctance to admit failure can negatively affect one’s personal and professional life as well. People dislike losing and have trouble letting go of bad relationships or unsatisfactory jobs. Moreover, people tend to idealize their future selves, expecting they would have the strength to improve in the future, Nedin said. At the end of his presentation, Nedin summarized the key benefits of understanding our own cognitive biases. “First, it would be good to understand the faults of our brain and being able to play with them would make us a more evolved human being,” he said. “Second, the time to be happy is today for whatever you do. And third, make sure you spread the right beliefs in your organization because they become self-fulfilling prophecies.” After Nedin outlined the major types of cognitive biases, Djambazov took the floor to prove the notions in practice. Two groups of people from the audience were selected to choose between an expensive and a generic type of wine. The first group was unaware of the fact that there was vinegar in the glasses with expensive wine while the second knew, leading to different outcomes in the choices of the two groups. “This has its business implications,” said Djambazov, a member of the Medical University Sofia and coauthor of textbooks and scientific papers. “It is very important how you present your services, product, business or ideas.” “Great event, great content,” said AUBG alum Georgi Manolov (‘14). “I would seriously consider including cognitive biases in the university curriculum -- as part of the exposition/persuasion classes or even a separate class in the economics department.”
FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS THE ABF THEATER BECOMES THE DR. CARL DJERASSI THEATER HALL By Martin Georgiev
In 2013, legendary scientist Dr. Carl Djerassi saw a performance of his play “Insufficiency” at the then brand-new America for Bulgaria Student Center. The play was among the first few productions to be performed in AUBG’s new theater hall. It is only fitting, then, that the theater now bears Dr. Djerassi’s name. “This is a very special occasion for the Djerassi family,” said his son Dale at the Oct. 17 naming ceremony. He remembered his father’s great impressions of AUBG and its students during his visit and noted how “deep and highly appropriate” the naming felt. Students, faculty and staff gathered to commemorate and honor Djerassi. Among the special guests were members of the doctor’s family, the AUBG Board of Trustees and former Bulgarian Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov. Djerassi, who died in late January of this year at the age of 91, made a large contribution to AUBG in his will. In his long and distinguished life, he wrote books, scientific articles and plays, making the theater
naming particularly appropriate. Dierassi’s deep connection to the school culminated in 2013 when he spoke in front of the graduating class and was awarded AUBG’s Doctor of Humane Letters degree. “It would have been impossible for us to fulfill [the university’s] mission had it not been for the generous support of people like the late Dr. Carl Djerassi,” said Ivan Manev, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Manev thanked the Djerassi family and assured them that AUBG’s outstanding students will put this contribution to good use. Filip Dimitrov, former Prime Minister and AUBG professor, also spoke highly of Djerassi. He said the accomplished scientist and author is a role model to AUBG students. “What we expect from our students and what most students expect from themselves is at some point of time to do something meaningful that can make a difference,” Dimitrov said. “I think when his name 39
is at the door of this hall it will be inspiring for the students of this university.” The evening included a screening of an interview with Djerassi from the documentary “49,172”, which chronicles the survival of Bulgarian Jews during World War II. Later, students presented a sneak preview of their production of “An Immaculate Misconception”, one of several plays Djerassi wrote. Directed by professor Nedyalko Delchev and Denitsa Pashova, it will premiere in March 2016. Djerassi was born in Vienna in 1923 to an Austrian
mother and Bulgarian father. He spent his childhood between Sofia and Vienna until the events of World War II forced him and his mother to move to the United States. He earned a PhD in chemistry and went on to make numerous advances in the field, most notably the oral contraceptive pill. After a successful science career, he devoted his last years to writing novels and plays. “He lived a very large and long life,” Dale Djerassi said. “He died on his own terms and his lesson to us was how to live a very long and productive life.”
TRUSTEE ILIYA LINGORSKI: AUBG IS “LIVING UP TO ITS MISSION” By Dimana Doneva
AUBG’s 22nd Honors Convocation, an annual event that commemorates academic excellence at the university, welcomed a special guest for the April 8 ceremony. AUBG Board of Trustees member Iliya Lingorski visited the campus and attended the official ceremony. “I love to be as often as I possibly can be here,” Lingorski said. “We have a very wonderful occasion tonight; we’ll be celebrating the best achievers among all our students.” Being a member of AUBG Board of Trustees is “a great honor,” Lingorski said. “It is really an institution living up to its mission. It’s a university offering a new example in our country and in the region of ethical leadership and a positive enthusiastic vision of excellence.” Lingorski also said the dynamic pace of social and technological change, while challenging, is an opportunity to develop and excel. The key to progress, he said, is having students, faculty and administration thinking together and integrating their ideas. The experience and feedback of AUBG’s alumni are also a major driving force for the university, Lingorski said. “We have for the last 20 years alumni that are already in excellent positions in business, in government, in media, in many walks of life all over this region,” he said. “We might have a new era of capacity to contribute to our society and to our students.” In addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees, Lingorski is also a parent of a current AUBG student. “We have this special sentimental emotional link to this place which we have very happily chosen for our daughter to spend some of the best years of 40
her life and take directions for her future,” he said. Lingorski is currently the regional director of eCORP International, Sofia, a former chairman of the supervisory board of Bulgarian Development Bank and former first deputy minister of finance, head of the state treasury and IMF alternate governor for Bulgaria.
A SUCCESSFUL AUBG ALUMNUS MEETS WITH SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS By Emanuil Dimitrov
Whether as a speaker, board member, university benefactor, or proud alumnus, Elvin Guri continues to be devoted to AUBG’s liberal arts mission. That devotion brought him back to campus to speak at a conference and to meet with students. Guri, from Albania, enrolled in AUBG shortly after the rise of democracy in the region. He majored in economics and history and his first work experiences included positions in PricewaterhouseCoopers and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Later, he co-founded several successful finance-focused start-ups and he is now recognized for his successful track record in entrepreneurship and finance. Guri leads Empower Capital, an investment fund implemented under the EU’s JEREMIE Program, which has already funded more than 20 undertakings. Guri firmly believes that education is a powerful tool that can advance development in the region, and he said he fervently supports several educational initiatives and institutions like the American University in Bulgaria and Teach for Bulgaria. Guri visited AUBG at the StartUp conference in Blagoevgrad 2015. The first speaker introduced at the event, he was warmly welcomed by the audience. “Thank you very much for the introduction and the opportunity,” he said at the beginning of his speech. “Thank you for the most important cause that I support- which is the American University in Bulgaria” Guri used the occasion to meet with some of the students who were awarded the Vehip and Natasha Guri Scholarship, a merit-based grant generously provided by him and offered to outstanding students of Albanian or Bulgarian origin. During a short meeting with scholarship recipients, he reminded them that no matter how successful they become, they cannot be truly happy unless they give back to the society they live in. He further emphasized that one cannot live comfortably in a society in which others are not doing well. Guri said that helping others is the prime motivation underlying all his business, voluntary, and benevolent activities. Following his short speech and a discussion, Guri talked with each scholarship recipient. He listened carefully, offered advice, and shared his experience. He recalled his experience as
a scholarship student during his study at AUBG and managed to communicate and connect with students in an informal manner. “Elvin Guri is a person who the Albanian and Bulgarian communities will be forever grateful to because of his constant investment in educating the youth,” said AUBG senior Ina Gjika, summarizing the meeting and discussion. “However, every time I have the chance to meet Mr. Guri, I cannot help but notice his humbleness, which makes him even more respected as a figure.” Guri said that he is always open to hear students’ opinions, both as an individual and as an AUBG board member. He encouraged students to be more proactive and urged them to contact him after the meeting. Finally, he stressed that AUBG is an institution with a great potential that should continue to attract the best talent in the region. 41
ALBANIAN AMBASSADOR: AUBG EDUCATION IS A ‘GOOD INVESTMENT’ By Dimana Doneva
Albania’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Qirjako Kureta and Counselor and Consul Anita Shaqiri visited AUBG on March 17 and offered congratulations for the success of Albanian students and promised to build upon the strong relationship that exists between the school and the country. Then AUBG President Kevin Aspegren and Kureta also discussed the prospects ahead for graduating Albanian students, and admissions counselor and recruitment coordinator Tracy Minard shared stories of AUBG’s visit to Albania last October. The ambassador said he hoped to stay informed of the students’ initiatives and offered his desire to support them in any way possible. Kureta also said he is excited that AUBG prepares students from his country to become citizens of Europe and the world. After meeting with the president, Kureta and Shaquiri met with Albanian students in the BAC Auditorium. Appointed only four months ago, Kureta arrived at AUBG eager to get to know the Albanian students and create a long-term relationship with the community. “I saw the Albanian students are very satisfied, and that they make a very good progress here,” Kureta said. “I told the students that the education at AUBG is a very good investment for the future.” The students and guests from the Albanian embassy discussed opportunities for organizing events that 42
will gather all the Albanians in Bulgaria, potential internships in the embassy and cultural projects such as festivals that will introduce the AUBG community to the Albanian traditions, language, food and culture. Ina Gjika, an AUBG student from Albania and the moderator of the discussion, said the meeting “transmitted optimism” among the Albanian community. Another Albanian student, Alboren Hasanbelliu, said he was pleased with the show of support from the embassy. “This is the first step towards some successful events in the future,” he said. Shaquiri said the Albanian embassy is eager to support the Albanian students at AUBG and to work on easing the challenges students face when attaining Bulgarian IDs and work permits. “We appreciated the fact that Mr. Kureta came to see us,” AUBG student Klajdi Sallaku said. “The ambassador and the council of the embassy exchanged their contact information, therefore they guaranteed collaboration for the future and this is a positive note from the ambassador’s work so far.” Kureta also toured AUBG’s facilities. “I saw wonderful conditions on campus,” he said. The Albanian ambassador encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities at AUBG, actively engage with the Bulgarian culture, and try to learn the Bulgarian language.
COMMUNITY NEWS TEDXBlagoevgradWomen 2015 SHOWCASES THE POWER OF WOMEN TO DRIVE CHANGE By Dimana Doneva
importance and satisfaction of helping others and the power of shared happiness. Race car driver Diana Stoyanova shared her insights on how a woman can excel in a sport dominated by men. The musician and pedagogue Simona Genkova, ref lected on how closeness to nature and arts education can unravel children’s potential. “Observing children and how wonderful they are, you can’t help but ask yourself why life is not equally wonderful,” Genkova said. “When a person is born, he has different opportunities.” A child can grow up to become a great artist or end up behind prison bars, depending on how they are brought up, she said. “This is why I suggest we bring the piano to the forest,” Genkova said. “Of course, this is a symbol of the activities that my long professional experience has taught me are the best ways to create a harmonious person who will in turn create the harmonious society we all dream of.”
Six successful women from Blagoevgrad and the region shared knowledge and inspiration at the TEDxBlagoevgradWomen 2015 conference. The independently organized TED event gathered the Blagoevgrad community at AUBG’s BAC Auditorium on May 29. Led by AUBG alumna Despina Koleva-Hristova (2005), the event in Blagoevgrad is part of an initiative held across 68 countries and dedicated to the power of women and girls to be creators and change-makers. “We have gathered to hear the ideas of the women of Blagoevgrad,” Koleva-Hristova said. “These women possess the power to change the way we think, live and work.” The coordinator of the NGO “Conception,” Nikolita Asenova, began the series of talks with a speech on the necessity of eliminating the prejudices against infertility. The young poet and founder of the “Give a Book” initiative, Blagovesta Pugyova, spoke about the
Milena Andreeva, a former youth delegate to the United Nations and founder of the “Association for Bulgarian-Korean Cultural Harmony,” talked about the ability to express gratitude in the context of the Korean culture as a key to success. Bilyana Todorova, PhD in Linguistics and a professor at the Southwestern University, took the f loor to speak about the benefits of natural feeding for babies. The event concluded with AUBG professor in business Veneta Andonova’s speech on entrepreneurship as an agent of positive change in the society. “Never in the history of humankind has it been easier to begin and conclude the business resolving of a problem,” Andonova said. “We have all the necessary information on internet, the technologies become less and less expensive and easily accessible, and we have the financial channels to finance those ideas.” The conference was followed by a cocktail reception in the BAC foyer, where guests and speakers continued the discussion on the power of women to contribute to the betterment of the society. 43
BRIGHT MINDS FROM 29 COUNTRIES ARRIVE AT AUBG FOR THE 13TH INTERNATIONAL LINGUISTICS OLYMPIAD By Teodora Georgieva High school students from 29 countries gathered for the 13th International Linguistics Olympiad hosted at the American University in Bulgaria July 20-24. The opening ceremony took place on Monday, July 20 at the ABF Student Center Theater Hall where it brought together competitors, organizers and guests. The International Linguistics Olympiad is one of 12 International Science Olympiads for high school students. Each year more than 100 students from around the world compete with each other in solving tasks in language and linguistics. Elena Marinova, a member of AUBG’s Board of Trustees, president of Musala Soft and a member of the Olympiad’s Board of Trustees, congratulated the contestants and the guests. She encouraged them to continue to develop themselves, to enjoy the time at the Olympiad, and hopefully to become students at AUBG. “You will make great careers and you will be very successful,” Marinova said. “Before being very successful, you should go to very good universities. One of the very good universities is the one that you are at now – the American University in Bulgaria. It’s a great place to be, so consider it as a university where you want to study.” The week of the 13th IOL was full of surprises and events so the participants had the opportunity to interact between the competitions. “I’ve met lots of cool people from the other teams who I share this weird interest with,” said James Hyett, a competitor from the Canadian team. “Not a lot of people from my city know even what linguistics is and suddenly I came here and there are so many people who not only know what it is, but also are interested in it.” The individual competition took place on July 21. After the long day of problem-solving, the participants enjoyed a party at the AUBG Campus.
The organizers surprised them with a fire show and karaoke. Next came the team competition. Contestants from all participating countries combined their linguistics skills and talent and solved problems, this time as teams. The best in team problem-solving was the UK team, followed by the USA, Poland and the Netherlands. The awards presentation and closing ceremony were held on July 24 at the AFB Student Center Theater Hall. The AUBG President awarded the seven gold medalists to the seven individual contest winners -- three from the USA, two from the UK, one from Bulgaria and one from Ukraine. Along with the seven individual gold medals, 7 gold, 17 silver and 23 bronze medals were also awarded to the best contestants in the Individual competition. A special recognition was given to the AUBG student Lora Dineva, who was a member of the organizing team. She was invited to take part in the 14th International Linguistics Olympiad in India. “I feel awesome, because I never managed to go to an Olympiad while I was a student at high school,” she said. “So now I’ve organized and I can be here in such an awesome place. Having the opportunity to go again to this event, it’s just unbelievable.”
THE FRANCOFOLIES FESTIVAL, A PIECE OF FRANCE By Sorin Petrov
A traveling festival celebrating French culture, language, values and music made a three-day stop in Blagoevgrad Sept. 24-26 that featured big crowds on Georgi Izmirliev Square in the city’s center. “We were asked to organize a festival here and we thought, ‘why not?’” said Gérard Pont, one of the festival’s organizers. The festival, called Francofolies, is touring worldwide from New York to Buenos Aires to Berlin and now Blagoevgrad. Pont, a film producer, journalist, cohead of the Morgan group and the patron of the Francofolies organization, said the visit to a place like Bulgaria is a perfect fit for the festival that promotes French culture around the world. “Twenty years ago, Bulgaria was one of the first countries to open its doors to the Western culture,” he said. “We had a festival back then and it was amazing.”
Pont said bringing artists together on a mission such as this one is always a positive experience because they always generate good stories. The open stage on the square featured artists such as Patricia Kaas, Deep Zone Project, Bob Sinclar and Patrick Bruel. Among the thousands of people who visited the plaza for the festival were people from all over Bulgaria and its neighboring countries. “I was excited to see the performances of famous French artists such as Patricia Kaas and Bob Sinclar,” said AUBG sophomore Diana Elagina. “I was standing very close to the scene and was charged with a great energy.” That’s likely a sentiment shared by many who took a small piece of French culture home with them after the event while Francofolies took a bit of Bulgaria with it when it left. 45
2014 HONOR ROLL OF CONTRIBUTORS 2015 HONOR OF CONTRIBUTORS AUBGROLL ANNUAL GIVING AUBG ANNUAL GIVING
DONORS IN FISCAL YEAR 2014 DONORS IN FISCAL YEAR 2015 (1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014) (1 JULYthe 2014 – 30individuals JUNE 2015) The American University in Bulgaria gratefully acknowledges following and organizations for their generosity. Please note that the The American University in Bulgaria gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and organizations for their generosity. that the list reflects only gifts received during fiscaland year 2015. Foundation Transformation Gifts Please noteValues Ivan Manev* Alexandra
Albanian - American Transformation Gifts Development Foundation Marianne M. Keler* Development and Michael Albanian-American Kershow Foundation Open Society Foundation America for Bulgaria Foundation Philippe Bertherat ** Anonymous Telerik AD Carl Djerassi Leadership Gifts Albanian-American Leadership Gifts Development Foundation Chris von Christierson * Anonymous US Embassy of Turkmenistan Sustainability Gifts Sustainability Gifts Anonymous American Foundation for Anonymous B ulgariaBulgaria AD Aurubis Carl Djerassi Anonymous Claude Janssen ** Anonymous David & Kathleen Flanagan Aurubis Bulgaria AD Eurobank Bulgaria AD Bojana Galabova ’00, in memory of Fondation de France Lyuben Petrunov Gerard van der Sluys** Claude Janssen ** Luisa of HRH Princess Maria Bulgaria Audit OOD Deloitte Jan Protogerov Evelyn Auth Bulgaria Foundation Fabio Lopez Ceron * Lumina Foundation for Education Lyubomir Minchev Michael & Louise Easton + Nellie &McGoldrick Robert Gipson Michael Pavel Ezekiev Stephen Auth** Richard Ramsden **memory of Ellen Steve Sullivan +, in Robert and Nellie Gipson Greenberg Salgo - Noren Foundation Stratsimir Kulinski ‘95 Stephen & Evelyn Auth * US Embassy in Sofia Steven Sullivan + Stratsimir Kulinski ‘95 Susan & Joel Morse * Tianaderrah Foundation Turkmenistan Youth & Civic
Development Gifts Youlia Berberian-Maleeva ** Yvonne Panitza ** Andon Ichev ’95, in honor of Development Gifts Stratsimir Kulinski ‘95 Alexander Ann FerrenDourtchev EMBA ‘10 Alexander Tsachev ‘95 Anna Nikolova Ambassador John Menzies * A. N. Yakimov, in memory of Lyuben Ana Milicevic ‘01 Petrunov Andon Ichev ’95, in memory of Ballistic Cell Ltd Richard Woolfe BogdanBachvarov Cosmaciuc‘01 ‘99 Andrey Andrey ‘95 Boston Kuljiev Foundation Andrew Norman CERGE-EI Foundation Anguel Anguelov ‘00 Charles Fagan III ** Ann Ferren Dan Chalk Asen Kalenderski ‘09 DavidMadjarova Reich Assya ‘95 Asya EMBA ’07 & Alex Elena’02, Fernandez-Bollo *, in Alexandrov ’96, EMBA ’05 memory of Margarita Avus Capital OOD Elena Krumova ‘95 Boian Kalchev ‘96 Elena Marinova * Borislav Stefanov ‘01 Frank Popoff Christo Angelov ‘95 Gates Hawn, in honor of Mark Cornpauw Foundation ColemanKissova ‘96, in memory of Daniela Dimi Panitza George Gueorgiev ’99, in memory
David Reich of Lyuben Petrunov Dessislava & Tancho ’00 Fingarov, Gerard van der Sluys * in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Iliya Lingorski * Diane Love Ivan Manev Dilyan Pavlov* ‘95 Ivan Vargoulev Ervin Luga ‘00 ‘95 Gates IvayloHawn Vatev ‘95 George Gueorgiev ‘99 James L. Coffin + Georgi Y. Georgiev ‘95 Kathleen Flanagan George Manahilov Knight Malchev – Staneva Foundation Georgi ‘04 LeonidZahariev Oknyansky Georgi ‘95‘97, in memory of Viorica Ursu‘95 Ivaylo Vatev Ivan Gramatikov ‘07
*Member, AUBG Board of Trustees
** Member, University Council
Todorova LuciaVargoulev Miree +, in memory of Ellen Ivan ‘95 Greenberg Ivanka Lakova ‘96 John LydiaGulliver Krise + * Karen ** Foundation Maine Boucias Community Ladies Forum Manol Peykov ‘95 Lora Atanasoff ‘95 Mary memory of Mr. & Lee Mrs.Herbster, LyubomirinMinchev ‘95 William Herbster Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Tomov ‘97 Miroslav Yanev’06 ‘98& Mois Mariya Mitova in memory of Marcella Moshev ’06,Daniel Mr. & Mrs. ’97 & Rene Mosheva & Blaga Mitova of Lyuben in memory Tomov ’00,
Mihail PetrunovLambrinov Mihaylov ‘97 Milena ‘05 ‘01, in memNatalyaStefanova Chernyshova Ministry of Education, Bulgaria ory of Viorica Ursu Miroslav Mateev + Nelson Shaenen Jr. Nikola Trifunovic ‘04 Pauline Porter Nikolay Arnaudov ‘00 Pavel Pavlov, in memory Nikolay Georgiev ‘03 of Lyuben Petrunov Nora Georgieva ’95 & Dimiter Gurdjilov ‘95 ** Penyo Hadjiev in memory of Pauline Porter, Sdrujenie Tennis Club – Maleevi William Porter
Slavi Slavov Petar Sogindolski ‘06 Spas Dimitrov ** ’95 Hadjiev Petia ’96 & Rossen Ambassador Sol Polansky, in PricewaterhouseCoopers memory ofJohnson Dimi Panitza Rachael ‘10 Ralitza Nikolaevain‘96 Stefan Petrunov, memory of LyuRobert Phillips Jr. + ben Petrunov Ronald Vanden Dorpel * Stefan Vatchev ’00, in memory of Elena & Rossen ’00 Ivanov Lyuben Petrunov Rossen Petkov ‘04 Svetoslav Nikov ‘95 Sergey Koinov ‘96 SvetozarGeorgiev Georgiev‘07 ’00, in memory Simeon of Lyuben Petrunov Slavi Slavov Thomas Celli *** Spas Dimitrov Stoianka Rousseva Thomas Higgins * ‘99 Svetozar Georgiev ‘00 Tracey & Thomas Bird ** Svetlozar Petrov * US Commission for Preservation Sylvain Payou EMBA ’12, in honor of of America’s Heritage Abroad
+ Member, Faculty or Staff
Vladimir Borachev ’95
Peter Damianov ‘00
Vicky Politova-Lukanova ‘95
Grigory Ananiev ’00, in memory of
Victoria Entwistle **
Gueorgui Nikolov ‘95
Rossen Petkov ‘04
Herzog Franz von Bayern
Rossitza Stoykova ’00, in memory
Albena Markova ‘96
H.R.H. Princess Maria-Luisa of Bulgaria **
of Lyuben Petrunov
Hydroenergy Company LTD
Alexandrina Trendafilova, in
Sofia Auto Bulgaria EAD
Ilian Komitski, in memory of Lyuben
Sophia Katsarska +
Stela Vlahova, in memory of Lyuben
memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Andrey Donov ’01
Iliana Paskova, in memory of Lyuben
Andrey Gurov +
Anguel Anguelov ‘00 Barbara Brittingham
Internet Corporated Networks Ltd.
Boriana ‘97 & Jordan Alexiev, in
James & Kathy Pardew
memory of Lyuben Petrunov
John & Julia Mahon
memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Catherine McGufficke, in memory
John Gulliver **
of Lyuben Petrunov
Valentin Angelkov ’98, in memory
Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
of Lyuben Petrunov
Charles F. Rauch Jr. Christo Angelov ‘95
Junior Achievement Bulgaria
Vesselina Komitska ’95, in memory
Citizens Charitable Foundation
Kevin Aspegren +
of Lyuben Petrunov
Kyle Wynne, in memory of Lyuben
Vladimir Rusev ‘97
Cyrus Capital Partners, L.P.
Claire Jones, in memory of Lyuben
Leon Selig **
Wilson Family, in memory of Lyuben
Deyan Vassilev ‘95
Lyubomira Trendafilova, in memo-
Yoto Yotov **
Diliana Deltcheva ‘99, in memory
ry of Lyuben Petrunov
Zlaten Lev Holding PLC
of Lyuben Petrunov and Viorica Ursu
Marenglen Berisha ‘06
Elena Ivanova, in memory of Viorica
Maria Kartcheva ’01, in memory of
Elena Poptodorova *
Maya Abadjieva, in memory of Lyu-
Elitza Kehayova, in memory of Lyu-
Nagla Nagiub Sadik, in memory of
Evgenia Koleva ’00 & George Lilianon ’00, in memory of Lyuben
Albina & Peter Velikin, in memory
Nicholas Halpern, in memory of
of Lyuben Petrunov
Aleksandar Stanojevic ‘00
Nikolai Dimitrov ‘99
Aleksandar Vasilev ‘04
Georgi Kalchev ‘99, in honor of Cyrus Reed
Alexander Danchev ‘97
Pavel Ezekiev *
Alexander Ganchev +
Georgi Karaghiozov ’01 & Vera Alexandrova, in memory of Lyuben
Pentagon Interactive Bulgaria EOOD
Alexandra Nurgaliyeva ‘14
*Member, AUBG Board of Trustees
HONOR ROLL OF CONTRIBUTORS
** Member, University Council
Stefan Ganchev Stefan Kantardjieff, in memory of Dimi Panitza
Vassilios Theodorakopoulos, in
Varbin Staykoff ‘96
Friends of AUBG Alan G. Kirk II, in memory of Ralph Davidson
Albena Kehayova +
Alexandra Zasheva + + Member, Faculty or Staff
Alita Liteva EMBA ‘11
Dimiter Dimitrov ‘96
Iveta Gigova **
Aliya Beissova ’00, in memory of
Dimitar Nachkov ‘95
John Galletly +
Dimiter Pakov, in memory of Lyuben
Julien Reber, in memory of Lyuben
Anastassiy Chalakov, in memory of
Dimitrina Dobreva EMBA ‘15
Andrey Andreev ‘00
Don Wallace Jr.
Kazimierz Dadak, in memory of
Anelia Kasterlieva ’00, in memory
Elena Bikova +
of Lyuben Petrunov
Elena Bozhkova ‘95
Kevork Marashlyan ’00, in
Elena Shtonova ‘00
memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Ani Gesheva ‘07 Anka Zlatkova +
Elitza ’96 & Marc Goudemand, in
Annie Rusinova ‘00
memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Krum Hadjigeorgiev ‘00
Elka Bogusheva +
Laura Good, in memory of Lyuben
Antoniya Dimitrova ‘15
Artyom Stetsenko ‘11
Asen ’11 & Viktor Dimitrov
Evelina Terzieva +
Asya ’02 & Alex ’96 Alexandrovi
Evgenia MacDonald +
Avis Bohlen Calleo
Gary Notley, in memory of Lyuben
Aylin Pehlivanova ‘09
Azamat Erikov ‘11 Barbara Snowadzky
Gergana Murtova +, in honor of Antoni Murtov
Gergana Tsvetanova ‘00
Bonka Popovska +
Glenna Dod Meyer, in honor of Dr. Lyndell Grey
Boris Ivanov + Borislav Tyulekov + Borislava Gabrovska ‘00 Camelia Stoitsova + Christina Jordanova ‘03 Dane & Judith Gordon Daniyar Abenov ‘09
Laura Shiels Lina Angelov, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Ljuben Mutafchiev + Lucia Miree +, in memory of Ellen Greenberg
Ludmilla Wightman Lyubomir Damyanov ‘10 Lyudmila Dzakova + Lyudmila Sanina ‘08
Gueorgui Koutzarov ‘98, in memo-
Maria Dimitrova +
ry of Lyuben Petrunov
Maria Mehandzhiyska +
Maria Nacheva, in memory of Lyu-
Hristo Chernev ‘99, in memory of
Maria Sotirova +
Iliana Varadzhakova ‘99, in memo-
ry of Lyuben Petrunov
Daniela Gruwell ‘07
Iliyana Vishanova ‘05
Daniela Kostova +
Mark Stefanovich +, in memory of
Ilko Vangelov +
Markus Wien +
Mr. & Mrs. David Marlin, in honor of Sol Polansky
Zaharieva EMBA ‘14
Martin Petrov +
Irina Yonova-Anderson, in memo-
Martina Vezenkova +
ry of Lyuben Petrunov
Maya Parmakova +
Ivan Batachki ‘05
Maya & Georgi Smilkovi +
Dimana Doneva ‘14
Ivan Evstatiev ’08, in honor of Monika Evstatieva
Dimitar Christozov +, in memory of
Ivelin Sardamov +
Dessislava Stefanova ’96, in memory of Dida Stefanova
Diego Lucci +
*Member, AUBG Board of Trustees
** Member, University Council
Mikhail Morozov ‘10 Miroslava Angelova ‘00 + Member, Faculty or Staff
Mr. & Mrs. Elitsa ‘10 and Kamen ‘10 Trendafilovi
Redmond MaConnell, In honor of Janet E. Connolly
Virginia Lawton, in memory of Dimi
Mr. & Mrs. Theo & Christina Hatzipetros, in memory of Lyuben
Reneta Trendafilova ‘10
Vladimir Elezov ‘00
Vladimir & Gigi Ossenov
Rositsa Deshova EMBA ‘15
Volin Karagiozov +
Rossana & Dentcho Ivanov
Rumyana Boshkilova +
Yana Simeonova ‘00
Ruslana Georgieva, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Yanko Yankov, in honor of Petia Yankova
Mr. & Mrs. Petar Svarc ‘02 Nadegda Mitevska ‘95, in honor of AUBG Nadejda Michkova + Nadezhda Boboshevska + Nadezhda Peneva EMBA ‘15
Natalie Farah ‘05
Safeya Al Jaffari, in memory of Lyu-
Yordanka Noneva +
Nataliya Dimitrova - Popova ‘99,
Yulia Pechanova +
Serik Shapirov ‘08
in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Slava Popova +
Zlatina Elezova +
Slaveyko Djambazov EMBA ‘10
Zlatina Stancheva, in memory of
Snezhka Bangacheva +
Sofiya Toteva EMBA’11
Zulfiia Harring ‘08
Nestle Bulgaria AD Nestor Dinkov ‘97 Nikita Bukreyev ‘10 Nikolay Arnaudov ‘00 Nikolay Totov, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Nikolay Trifonov ‘03 Nikolay Tzonov EMBA ‘15 Nino Gugushvili ‘06 Nisreen AlBassam, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Nuriya Atazhanova ’99, in memory of Viorica Ursu
Olivier Pilot, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Olga Draganova Panagiotis Papanastasiou, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Pavlina Atke + Petar Angelov ‘08 Petya Yovcheva EMBA ‘11 Philip Tilney Radu Colonescu ‘07 Rafi Tahtakran EMBA ‘15 Ralitsa Ermencheva EMBA ‘15 Ralph Earle II
Stoyan Kurtev ‘95 Svetlozar Petrov * Svetoslav Georgiev ‘05 Tamara Todorova +, in memory of Ellen Greenberg
Tanya Markova + Tanya Papzova + Ted Schwalbe Thomas Roncevic, in memory of Hristo Kyurkiev
Toshka Borisova + Valia Guerdjikova ’02, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Vanya Grancharova ‘97, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Vasil Strelkov ‘05 Vassil Stoitsev ‘10 Venelin Angelov ‘11 Veselka Ilieva EMBA ‘15 Vessela Margaritova ‘95 Victoria Jansen, in memory of Lyuben Petrunov
Victoria Lazarova ’01, in memory of *Member, AUBG Board of Trustees
HONOR ROLL OF CONTRIBUTORS
** Member, University Council
+ Member, Faculty or Staff
AUBG Annual Giving Levels Transformation Gifts from $100,000 Sustainability Gifts from $5,000 and below $30,000 from $250 and below $1,000 Support Gifts
Leadership Gifts Development Gifts Friends of AUBG
from $30,000 and below $100,000 from $1,000 and below $5,000 below $250
SPECIAL GIFTS In Memoriam Cyrus Reed Ellen Greenberg Dida Stefanova Hristo Kyurkiev J. Dimitri Panitza Lyben Petrunov
Margarita Ralph Davidson Viorica Ursu William Herbster In Honor Antoni Murtov
AUBG Janet E. Connolly Lyndell Grey Mark Coleman Monika Evstatieva Petia Yankova Sol Polansky Stratsimir Kulinski
ALUMNI GIVING Class of 1995
Class of 1996
Class of 1999
Andon Ichev Christo Angelov Deyan Vassilev Dimitar Nachkov Elena Bozhkova Elena Krumova Gueorgui Nikolov Ivan Vargoulev Ivaylo Vatev Manol Peykov Nadegda Mitevska Stoyan Kurtev Stratsimir Kulinski Svetoslav Nikov Vessela Margaritova Vesselina Komitska Vladimir Borachev Vicky Politova-Lukanova
Albena Markova Alexander Alexandrov Elitza Goudemand Dessislava Stefanova Dimiter Dimitrov Varbin Staykoff
Bogdan Cosmaciuc Diliana Deltcheva George Gueorgiev Georgi Kalchev Hristo Chernev Iliana Varadzhakova Nataliya Dimitrova â€“ Popova Nikolai Dimitrov Nuriya Atazhanova
Class of 1997 Alexander Danchev Boriana Alexiev Daniel Tomov Leonid Oknyansky Nestor Dinkov Vanya Grancharova Vladimir Rusev Class of 1998 Gueorgui Koutzarov Miroslav Yanev Valentin Angelkov
Class of 2000 Aleksandar Stanojevic Aliya Beissova Andrey Andreev Anelia Kasterlieva Anguel Anguelov Annie Rusinova Bojana Galabova Borislava Gabrovska Elena Shtonova Evgenia Koleva George Lilianon Gergana Tsvetanova
Grigory Ananiev Kevork Marashlyan Krum Hadjigeorgiev Miroslava Angelova Nikolay Arnaudov Peter Damianov Rene Tomova Rossitza Stoykova Stefan Vatchev Svetozar Georgiev Vladimir Elezov Yana Simeonova
Class of 2004
Class of 2009
Aleksandar Vasilev Rossen Petkov
Aylin Pehlivanova Daniyar Abenov
Class of 2005
Class of 2010
Iliyana Vishanova Ivan Batachki Natalie Farah Svetoslav Georgiev Vasil Strelkov
Elitsa Trendafilova Kamen Trendafilov Lyubomir Damyanov Mikhail Morozov Nikita Bukreyev Reneta Trendafilova Vassil Stoitsev
Class of 2001
Marenglen Berisha Nino Gugushvili
Class of 2011
Class of 2007
Artyom Stetsenko Azamat Erikov Venelin Angelov
Andrey Donov Georgi Karaghiozov Maria Kartcheva Natalya Chernyshova Victoria Lazarova
Class of 2006
Ani Gesheva Daniela Gruwell Radu Colonescu
Class of 2002 Asya Alexandrova Petar Svarc Valia Guerdjikova Class of 2003 Christina Jordanova Nikolay Trifonov
Class of 2008 Ivan Evstatiev Lyudmila Sanina Petar Angelov Serik Shapirov Zulfiia Harring
HONOR ROLL OF CONTRIBUTORS
Class of 2014 Alexandra Nurgaliyeva Dimana Doneva Class of 2015 Antoniya Dimitrova
AUBG SOCIETY OF FELLOWS The AUBG Society of Fellows recognizes private cumulative giving, since 1991, in support of AUBG University Benefactors
America for Bulgaria Foundation
George Soros - Open Society Institute
Chris von Christierson
Thomas W. Bird
Gordon E. Cadwgan
Duke Franz Foundation
David T. Flanagan
Norris Darrell Jr. Nellie & Robert Gipson
Ann S. Ferren and Jonathan D. Fife
William J. Hume
Lumina Foundation for Education
Mary Lee Herbster
Charlotte S. Metcalf
ING Bank – Sofia Branch
Jules T. Kortenhorst
Nancy R. Newhouse-Iovenko Telerik AD
HRH Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria
The Nando Peretti Foundation
The Starr Foundation
Representation of the European
Panitza Fellows Anonymous Alex Balkanski Minko Balkanski Philippe Bertherat Brother’s Brother Foundation Eliot Elieff The International Media Fund Marianne M. Keler The Salgo-Noren Foundation Davidson Fellows
Commission in Bulgaria Harrison Richardson
Albanian – American Development Foundation
Leon M. Selig
Ralph P. Davidson Elvin Guri J. Dimitri Panitza Richard J. Ramsden John C. Whitehead The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation The Pew Charitable Trusts The Sallie Mae Fund AUBG Society of Fellows University Benefactors from $1m Panitza Fellows from $500k
Davidson Fellows Presidential Fellows
from $250k from $100k
ENDOWMENTS Endowments are permanent legacies that support AUBG in perpetuity
2002 USAID Endowment 2007 Anna K. Tchaprachikoff Endowed Scholarship Michael & Louise Easton Endowed Scholarship Ann S. Ferren and Jonathan D. Fife Scholarship for Community Service 2008
Michael Iovenko Endowed Scholarship Athanas A. Zamphiroff Endowed Scholarship Ilya V. and Katherine K. Talev Endowed Scholarship David Huwiler and Svetlana Khamatova Endowed Scholarship Fund
2009 Metcalf/Ramsden Endowed Scholarship Stephane Groueff Distinguished Endowed Scholarship 2010 Robert L. Woodbury Endowed Scholarship 2012 Eugenia Shudtz Brechka and Roberta Louise Nilsen Memorial Scholarship 2013 Stratsimir Kulinski â€™95 Endowed Scholarship 2014 Dimi Panitza Memorial Professorship 2015 Lyuben Petrunov Memorial Scholarship The Class of 1995 Endowed Scholarship Note: Every effort has been made to make this listing 100% accurate. If, however, your name has been omitted, misspelled, or misplaced, we sincerely apologize. Please let us correct our mistake by contacting the AUBG Development Office at email@example.com
HONOR ROLL OF CONTRIBUTORS
American University in Bulgaria Main Building 1 Georgi Izmirliev Sq. Blagoevgrad 2700, Bulgaria Presidentâ€™s Office: (+359 73) 888 307 Development: (+359 73) 888 366 Fax: (+359 73) 883 227 Admissions Office America for Bulgaria Student Center 12 Svoboda Bachvarova St. Blagoevgrad 2700, Bulgaria Phone: (+359 73) 888 111 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Elieff Center for Education and Culture 1 Universitetski Park St., Studentski Grad Sofia 1700, Bulgaria Switchboard: (+359 2) 960 7910 Fax: (+359 2) 961 6010 www.aubg.edu