The Chairperson of the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre “Bosilegrad” Ivan Nikolov and the teacher Mariana Pencheva were presented with the European Parliament’s Citizen’s Prize for 2016 at a ceremony in the National Assembly.
Mariana Pencheva is a teacher and was nominated by the deputy Georgi Pirinski. After the closing down of Primary School “Vasil Aprilov” with a functioning boarding facility in the village of Gostilitsa, she raised and brought up in her home nine children from poor families. Ivan Nikolov, nominated by the EP member Andrey Kovachev, is a poet, publicist and activist. He is the Chairman of the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre “Bosilegrad”.
The Deputy President of the National Assembly Dimitar Glavchev congratulated the awarded Bulgarians and noted that the prize was a message of selfless, noble and patriotic activity for bold promotion of causes. I believe that Europe is a place of eternal universal values, solidarity and humanism, and in the difficult times we live they are the source of inspiration for the young generation of Bulgarians and Europeans, Dimitar Glavchev added.
He thanked the Bulgarian members of the European Parliament for their efforts, for the strength and noble energy of the civil society in Bulgaria to appreciate them on their merit.
The EP member Georgi Pirinski presented the honorary medal to Mariana Pencheva. He noted that the Citizen’s Prize of the European Parliament should be understood as recognition of prominent acts which symbolize European values. In his words, the young teacher is a remarkable example of solidarity and human compassion displayed towards children who need support, environment and care to become better citizens.
What motivates and inspires me are the children, because they deserve all the care, attention and patience, they deserve to have education and equal opportunities, Mariana Pencheva said.
The EP member Andrey Kovachev presented the honorary medal to his nominee the publicist and activist Ivan Nikolov and said that with his activity as a leader of the Bulgarian minority in the Western Outlands he not only upheld values such as freedom of thought, conscience and religion but worked in the name of safeguarding the Bulgarian spirit and the Bulgarian cultural heritage.
Ivan Nikolov thanked for the award and added that it legimised nationally and Europe-wide the dedicated work of the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre “Bosilegrad” towards the cause, rights and interests of the Bulgarian minority in the past 18 years.
In 2016, 50 winners will receive the honorary medal of the Prize and will be invited to a joint event on 12 and 13 October 2016 in Brussels to be presented with honorary diplomas as well. The Bulgarian national jury comprising Vladimir Uruchev, Iliana Yotova, Ilhan Kyuchuk and Angel Dzhambazki ranked the two Bulgarian nominations. They were proposed to the European jury, headed by Deputy President of EP Sylvie Guillaume, which approved their participation.
The Citizen’s Prize of the European Parliament
Since 2008 the European Citizen’s Prize has been awarded to citizens and organisations which have contributed to promoting the better understanding and closer integration of EU citizens or facilitating cross-border and trans-national cooperation in the EU. It is in the form of honorary medal and has symbolic value.
Before that the awarded Bulgarian citizens met with the Deputy President of the National Assembly Dimitar Glavchev and were welcomed in the plenary hall.
Among the guests at the official ceremony organized by EP Information Office in Bulgaria in partnership with the National Assembly were deputies, Bulgarian EP members, ambassadors of EU Member States, representatives of institutions, non-governmental organizations and journalists.