Two weeks ago, the city of Boston became intimately acquainted with the country of Bulgaria. On March 6th, undergraduates from the Harvard Bulgarian Club hosted a Gala Night, as part of the photo exhibit Bulgaria: Europe’s Secret Treasure, entirely devoted to raising awareness about the culture and history of their country and the potential those offer for its future development. The event was held at the site of the exhibit, the International Terminal E of Boston’s Logan Airport, and attracted over 150 guests from diverse backgrounds.
The main focus of the evening was the photo exhibit displayed on the walls of the terminal that portrayed various aspects of life in Bulgaria. The photographs, most of them taken by the acclaimed photographer Ivo Hadjimishev, were grouped into seven categories: History, Arts and Crafts, Culture and Traditions, Nature, Industry, People, and Lifestyle.
The Gala Night began with keynote speakers Ambassador Elena Poptodorova, Honorary Consul Frank Bailey, and Ernst and Young representative Bryan Pearce, who presented general information about Bulgaria, the positive effects of events like this exhibit, and the benefits of investing in the country. In addition to the speeches and photos, the guests enjoyed traditional Bulgarian food and wine along with two unique performances. Bulgarian singer Maria Alexieva mesmerized the crowd with a traditional a cappella Bulgarian song featuring typical wide range in pitch. Members of the Harvard Bulgarian Club’s dance group, dressed in traditional attire, performed two folk dances.
The student organizers were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the Gala Night guests, because they felt they had achieved their goal of raising cross-cultural awareness about their country. People from all walks of life came to learn something new about this hidden treasure of Europe; the attendees represented academic, business, military, diplomatic, and artistic backgrounds, among others. The Harvard Bulgarian Club received overwhelmingly positive feedback after the event, and its members were confident that the guests had expanded their knowledge about what Bulgaria and its people are like. The photo exhibit will be on display in Logan’s International Terminal until March 31st.
After its end, the Harvard Bulgarian Club plans to continue its auspicious partnership with the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington D.C. to send the exhibit to other cities across the U.S. In addition, members of the club continue organizing cultural events about Bulgaria at Harvard and promote. Apart from cultural awareness, since last year the Club has launched an educational summer volunteer program in Bulgaria. Through STEP Bulgaria, international and Bulgarian volunteers teach them valuable skills to facilitate their integration to adult life in society once they leave the orphanage at age 18. *
* This article was kindly submitted by Evgenia Peeva of the Harvard Bulgarian Club.