Last year Bulgaria and Italy celebrated 130 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
History itself bears witness to the multifaceted co-operation between Bulgaria and Italy. Way back – in the second half of the 19th century – both Bulgarians and Italians set sail to achieve a shared goal – unity and independence.
Historians have long spoken of the ties between the leaders of the independence movements in both countries and their common endeavour. It should come as no surprise that the Italian ideologist Mazzini himself was the person who dubbed Vassil Levski the apostle of freedom. Furthermore, Bulgarian patriots took a notable role in the movement of Giuseppe Garibaldi, which had a significant overall contribution to the struggle for Bulgaria’s liberation. Captain Petko Voivoda stands out as one of those individuals. A commemoration plate honours him on the Gianicolo hill in Rome. A statue of Garibaldi is soon to be erected in one of Sofia’s central squares.
Yet another popular fact is that the grave of St Constantine Cyril the Philosopher is in Rome. As you know, in 2010, we mark the 30th anniversary since Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saints Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe. Suffice to say, the anniversary itself attests to the recognition of the two brothers’ role in the European Renaissance.
Bulgaria and Italy share the values and principles of the European community, striving for peace, security and global development. Relations between the two countries, beyond any doubt, have never been better over the past 130 years than they are now, owing primarily to the extensive, regular and pragmatic bilateral political dialogue. We have managed to add a new scope to bilateral relations, transforming them into privileged ties.
The record of the visits, exchanged between high-ranking Bulgarian and Italian officials, speaks for itself. We have agreed on, and signed, a number of treaties and agreements in different areas, so providing the strategic foundation for further development. Active and diverse forms of interaction bring real added value to both our countries, considering the contemporary challenges and opportunities.
For a number of years now, Italy ranks among the most significant trade partners of Bulgaria as well as one of the major FDI sources. Considering the detrimental effects of the global economic crisis, bilateral trade for last year stood at 2.4 billion euro. It is essential in times of economic hardship to preserve Italian investors’ interest in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Government is also determined to support and promote Italian investments in the country.
Culture and education constitute yet another important aspect of bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Italy. Bulgaria is no stranger to Italian culture and vice versa. Boris Christoff, Raina Kabaivanska, Nickolay Giaurov and Andrey Nikolov are just a few of the names both countries recognise and sincerely appreciate. Furthermore, cultural institutes in Rome and Sofia are keen on promoting Bulgarian and Italian culture in the respective countries.
Italian is one of the most popular foreign languages in Bulgaria. Italy provides annual scholarships for qualifications in different areas of science, while also providing teachers for Bulgarian schools and universities. What could possibly be a better way to exchange, learn and contribute to each other’s culture and everyday life?
As improper as it may seem, I would like to embed the emphasis of this whole article in its final paragraph. We have indeed achieved a lot through 130 years of diplomatic relations. I am inclined to believe, however, that we have merely laid down the foundation of what the future holds for us. There is plenty more to be done and – in my opinion – neither Sofia, nor Rome, should spare any efforts in the further development of their ties at both bilateral and multilateral levels.
The narrow focus of many euro zone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the jobs crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe, said the Director of the ILO Institute for International Labour Studies and lead author of the report, Raymond Torres.
Yassen Lyubenov is the new head of marketing at Bulgarian beer brewer Kamenitza. Lyubenov has 12 years of experience in marketing in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and has started his career as assistant brand manager at Kraft Foods Bulgaria. He later became brand manager at Wrigley Bulgaria, with responsibilities for Bulgaria and Macedonia. Prior to joining Kamenitza, he was senior marketing manager at Wrigley Russia, where he was in charge of brand expansion into Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Lyubenov has a bachelor's degree in international business administration from the University of Lincoln, UK.
Kamelia Lozanova has been appointed the executive director of the Employment Agency, a position she has held ad interim since September 2011, following the resignation of her predecessor Rossitsa Stelianova. Prior to that, Lozanova was the agency's deputy executive director in charge of international projects and European programmes. She has been with the agency for more than 20 years.
Lozanova has a degree in Slavonic philology from the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia.
Gloria Dimitrova has been appointed executive director and member of the managing board at Uniqa Life Insurance Bulgaria. Dimitrova began her career in 1998 at the insurance supervision directorate, but moved to the private sector and worked for professional services and insurance brokerage firm Marsh&McLennan and US insurer AIG, both in Bulgaria and the Middle East. She joined Uniqa as regional director for Sofia in 2010.
Dimitrova has a degree in economics from the University for National and World Economy in Sofia and a master's degree in insurance from the Business Academy in Svishtov.
Bedros Kalfayan, general manager of skin care and cosmetics company Beiersdorf Bulgaria, will oversee the parent's company units in Romania and Moldova starting April 1. Following company restructuring, Beiersdorf's subsidiaries in the three countries were merged and are now one unit, part of Beiersdorf Central and Eastern Europe. Kalfayan joined Beiersdorf in 2007 as sales manager and was promoted to general manager in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for Axxon Bulgaria, Ferrero and Rubella.
Kalfayan has a master's degree in industrial management from the Technical University in Sofia.
Sasha Bezuhanova has been appointed Hewlett-Packard public sector director for emerging markets, where she will oversee HP public sector activities in 63 countries, including Bulgaria. Bezuhanova will also be in charge of HP's relations with the European Union. Bezuhanova has been HP's public sector director for Central and Eastern Europe since 2008; before that she was general manager of HP Bulgaria since 1998.
Bezuhanova has a master's degree in electronics from the Technical University in Sofia and has completed a managment programme at INSEAD.
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