Honorary Degree Recipients

2015
Name: 
Ambassador Ivan Stancioff 
Degree:
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 17, 2015

Read More

IVAN STANCIOFF

DOCTOR OF HUMANE LETTERS HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENT

Ivan Stancioff, born in Sofia in 1929, is a graduate of Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (BA in History). After serving in the US Army he worked for IBM World Trade Corporation in New York, in Brazil, and in Paris. In 1970 he was Director of the ITT-OTE computer Project, Athens. He was Vice President International for both ITEL Corp. and Storage Technology Corp., working from London and in 1980 he set up his own IT Company – Cresta Marketing S.A. in Geneva.

In 1990, following the political, social and economic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, he returned to Bulgaria for the first time in 47 years.

In 1991 Ivan Stancioff was appointed Ambassador to the Court of St. James and the first Bulgarian Ambassador to the Irish Republic. In 1994 he was appointed Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. After 1999 he was advisor to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria - first to President Stoyanov and then to President Parvanov. At present he holds the title of Ambassador at Large.

Since 1995 he has been actively involved in bringing foreign investments and know-how to Bulgaria. He represented Basalt AG, Linz, Germany till 2014.

Mr. Stancioff is the founding member of Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev’s Balkan Political Club (1999), President of the General Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (1993-1995), President of the General Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasburg (1994) and founder member of Atlantic Club - Sofia (1991).

He is a recipient of the Order of “Stara Planina” - highest level (2010), Bulgarian of the year (2009 - Vienna, Austria), Commander of the Italian Solidarity Star (2006), Grand Cross of the Order of Rio Branco (Brazil) (2002), Honorary Citizen of Svishtov (Bulgaria) (2000), Honorary Citizen of Varna (Bulgaria) (1999), Commander of the Legion of Honor (France) (1995).

Mr. Stancioff speaks Bulgarian, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese (Brazilian).

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program
booklet distributed at the ceremony 2015.

× 


2013
Name: Dr. Carl Djerassi (1923 - 2015) 
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date:
May 11, 2013

Read more

CARL DJERASSI
COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2013
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Carl Djerassi, who was born in Vienna, but spent part of his youth in Bulgaria, received all of his higher education in USA.  A writer and professor of chemistry emeritus at Stanford University, he is the author of over 1200 scientific publications and only one of two American chemists to have been awarded both of the two highest American scientific awards: the National Medal of Science (in 1973, for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive - ”the Pill”) and the National Medal of Technology (in 1991, for promoting new approaches to insect control). A member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Society (London), the Leopoldina (Germany), the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN), and many other foreign academies, Djerassi has received 30 honorary doctorates (including one from BAN) together with numerous other honors, such as the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the first Award for the Industrial Application of Science from the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society’s highest award, the Priestley Medal, and more recently, the Erasmus Medal of the Academia Europaea (2003), the Great Merit Cross of Germany (2003), the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists (2004), the Serono Prize in Literature (Rome, 2005), the Great Silver Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria (2008), and the Edinburgh Medal (2011). In 2005, the Austrian Post Office issued a stamp in his honor.

During the past 23 years, he has published short stories, poetry  and five novels that illustrate as “science-in-fiction” the human side of science and the personal conflicts faced by scientists, as well as an autobiography, a memoir, and nine plays, of which three had already been staged in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian premiere of his latest play, Insufficiency, was presented at the AUBG theater hall on May 10, 2013. Five of his plays have also been broadcast as radio plays in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and USA.

Djerassi is the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, California, which provides residencies and studio space for artists in the visual arts, literature, choreography and performing arts, and music. Over 2000 artists have passed through that program since its inception in 1982.

Djerassi lives in San Francisco, Vienna, and London.

(There is a website about Carl Djerassi’s writing at http://www.djerassi.com/)

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2013.

× 

2012
Name: Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 13, 2012

Read more

PRINCESS MARIA LUISA OF BULGARIA

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2012
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria to H.M.King Boris III and H.M. Queen Giovanna, Princess of Savoia, the fourth child of H.M. King Victor Emmanuel of Italy.

The princess, the older sister of King Simeon II of the Bulgarians and their mother Queen Giovanna left Bulgaria in 1946 after the Communist-staged referendum which abolished the Monarchy and proclaimed the People's Republic of Bulgaria.

While in exile, the Princess has lived in Egypt, Spain, Canada and since 1974, the United States of America. She was the first member of the Royal Family to visit Bulgaria after the fall of the communist regime, in 1991.

The Princess was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Alexandria, Egypt and concluded her education with her nursing Diploma in Madrid, Spain. She speaks fluently six languages: Bulgarian, Italian, French, Spanish, German and English.

In working for charitable causes in the United States the Princess served for twenty years on the Local Board of Directors of the American Red Cross. As an expatriate Bulgarian she has supported Bulgarian causes in the United States in the fields of music, art and education.

From l999 till 2009 the Princess served as a Trustee of The American University in Bulgaria and now is a rnember of the University Council. At the same time she has worked on behalf of various hospital and orphanage charities within Bulgaria.

Princess Maria Luisa is married to Mr. Bronislaw Chrobok, born in Poland, educated at the Jesuit run Stonyhurst College in England and at the University of London. He made his career in the financial markets.

The family numbers three sons and a daughter and nine grand Children, so far.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2012.

× 

2010
Name: Dr. Michael Bar-Zohar, Historian
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 16, 2010

Read more

MICHAEL BAR-ZOHAR

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2010

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2010
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 30, 1938.

Immigrated to Israel in 1948, where he grew up. He subsequently did his military service in Air Force Intelligence and Paratroopers. As a soldier, he participated in four of Israel’s wars.   Bar-Zohar obtained a B.A. degree in Political Science from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Paris, France. He was a professor at Haifa University and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

A member of a Labor party, Bar-Zohar served two terms in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. He represented Israel at the Council of Europe and served as President of the France-Israel friendship league.

Bar-Zohar has had a distinguished career as a writer and has won many awards among which  the Ben-Gurion award; Knight of the Legion d’Honneur, France; Order of Madara, Bulgaria; Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Sofia; French Academy Award; Israel Sokolov Award [The Israeli Pulitzer]; Laureate of the International Migration Award.

A world renowned author, Bar-Zohar is the official biographer of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father. He recently published an extensive biography of Shimon Peres, Israel's current President. Bar-Zohar is the author of many books of history and fiction, based on his own intensive research. Among them are the following: Suez Top Secret; The Hunt for German Scientists; The Avengers; Embassies in Crisis; The Paratroopers; Beyond Hitler’s Grasp: The Heroic Rescue of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews. He has also published several novels in the U.S. and many other countries throughout the world, some under the pen-names Michael Barak and Michael Hastings.

Bar-Zohar also wrote the screenplays for a full-length documentary film Ben-Gurion Remembers, for a documentary based on his book Beyond Hitler’s Grasp, and for a feature film Court Martial.

Bar-Zohar is one of the most popular Israeli speakers in the U.S. today. When he is in the U.S., he speaks almost daily throughout the country for the United Jewish Appeal, Israel Bonds, The Israeli government, Foreign Affairs associations, Universities, Book Clubs and Christian groups.

Bar-Zohar lives in Tel Aviv with his wife Galila, and their son Gil. He spends six months a year speaking and lecturing in the United States and Europe.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2010.

× 

2009
Name: Ms. Slavenka  Drakulic, Author and Journalist
Degree: Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 17, 2009

Read more

SLAVENKA DRAKULIC

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2009

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2009
Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Slavenka Drakulic, born in Croatia  (former Yugoslavia) in 1949, is an author and journalist whose books are translated in over twenty languages. In the US she published five novels: Holograms of Fear;  Marble Skin;  The Taste of a Man; S. - A Novel About the Balkans, and Frida’s Bed.

She also published four non-fiction books: How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed; The Balkan Express; Cafe Europa, and They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague.

Her essays appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Times magazine and The New York Review of Books. She contributes to Suddeutsche Zeitung  (Germany), Internazionale (Italy),  Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) and Politiken (Denmark). She is also a contributing editor to The Nation magazine (US).

Slavenka Drakulic is the recipient of the 2004 Leipzig Bookfair Award "for the European understanding.”

Slavenka Drakulic lives in Sweden and Croatia.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2009.

× 

2008
Name: Ambassador John R. Beyrle, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of  Bulgaria
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) Date:  May 18, 2008 

Read more

H.E. MR. JOHN R. BEYRLE

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2008

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2008
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

John Beyrle presented his credentials to President Parvanov as U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria on September 8, 2005.  A career officer in the senior Foreign Service at the rank of Minister-Counselor, Ambassador Beyrle has held policy positions and foreign assignments with an emphasis on U.S. relations with Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and the USSR since joining the State Department in 1983. 

Ambassador Beyrle’s overseas service has included two tours at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, most recently as Deputy Chief of Mission.  He was Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, and a member of the U.S. Delegation to the CFE Negotiations in Vienna.  He served an earlier tour at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria 1985-87.  His Washington assignments include Acting Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States, and Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council.  He served as a staff officer to Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker, and as a Pearson Fellow and foreign policy adviser to the late Senator Paul Simon.

Ambassador Beyrle is the recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Baker-Wilkins Award as the State Department’s Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, and the Sinclaire Award for excellence in hard language study.  He has been awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for outstanding performance four times. 

A native of Muskegon, Michigan, Ambassador Beyrle received a B.A. degree with honors from Grand Valley State University, and an M.S. degree as a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, where he later taught as a Visiting Professor of National Security Studies.  His foreign languages are Bulgarian, Czech, French, German and Russian.  He is married to Jocelyn Greene, a fellow Foreign Service Officer; they have two daughters, Alison and Caroline. 

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2008.

× 

2005
Name: The Honorable Martti Ahtisaari, Chairman of Crisis Management Initiative, Finnish NGO
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 8, 2005

Read More

THE HONORABLE MARTTI AHTISAARI

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2005

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2005
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

President Martti Ahtisaari, b. 1937, was the President of the Republic of Finland 1994-2000. Before his election as President, Mr Ahtisaari forged a prestigious career as a diplomat, working for both Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations. Between 1965-1972, Mr Ahtisaari held various posts in the Bureau for Technical Co-operation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and as Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and was also accredited to Zambia, Somalia and Mozambique between 1973-1976. Between 1977-1994 he was Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Under-Secretary General for Administration and Management in the UN, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Namibia, and Secretary of State in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Ahtisaari is founder and chairman of Crisis Management Initiative, a Finnish NGO aiming to enhance the crisis prevention, active crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation capacity of the international community. He also serves in leadership roles in several international institutions and foundations. He is co-chairman of the EastWest Institute and serves as a member of the joint advisors’ group for the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundation. He chairs the Balkan Youth and Children Foundation and the Global Commission of the International Youth Foundation, as well as the international board of the War-Torn Societies Project.

Other post-presidential assignments have included chairing an independent panel on the security and safety of UN personnel in Iraq and appointments as an independent inspector of the IRA’s arms dumps, as a member of the committee assessing the Austrian government’s human rights record, as a Personal Envoy of the Chairman in Office of the OSCE in Central Asia and as a UN Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa.  Currently he mediates the talks between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) about the future status of the province of Aceh, Indonesia.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2005.

× 

2004
Name: Mr. Misha Glenny, Managing Director of South East Europe
Change 2004
Degree: Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 9, 2004

Read more

MISHA GLENNY

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2004

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2004
Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Misha Glenny was born in 1958 and educated at Bristol University and Charles University in Prague. His coverage of the fall of Communism in 1989-90 was widely acclaimed, and led to the writing of his first book, The Rebirth of History. During the Yugoslav crisis of the early 1990s he was the Central Europe correspondent for the BBC World Service. In 1993 he won a Sony Award for his coverage of Yugoslavia. The Fall of Yugoslavia was published in 1992 and has been in print ever since. The Balkans, 1804-1999 was published by Granta Books in November 1999.

Misha Glenny is an award-winning journalist and historian who has covered Eastern Europe and the Balkans since the mid-1980s. He has lectured on these subjects at universities throughout the United States and Europe.  Misha Glenny was recently appointed Managing Director of SEE Change 2004, a UK based charity that supports economic and political reforms in South Eastern Europe.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2004.

× 

2003
Name: The Honorable Petar Stoyanov, President of the Republic of Bulgaria from 1997-2001
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 11, 2003

Read More

THE HONORABLE PETAR STOYANOV

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2003
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Petar Stoyanov served as President of the Republic of Bulgaria from 1997-2002.  Under his leadership, Bulgaria ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe, applied for NATO membership, began accession negotiations with the European Union, and joined the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member.  President Stoyanov’s election in 1996 came after the introduction of Europe’s first presidential primary system.

As President, Petar Stoyanov was appointed a member of the Policy Advisory Commission of the World Intellectual Property Organization.  He was the year 2000 recipient of the Annual Award of Crans Montana World Economic Summit for his contribution to the development of democracy and free market economy.  In 1999, he was awarded the Annual Award of the Association of Russian Lawyers.  He received the 1998 Annual Award of the American Bar Association and that same year, the Anti-Defamation League’s Courage to Care Award.

In 2002, as a fellow of The German Marshall Fund, Petar Stoyanov delivered lectures in the USA at Northwestern University (Chicago), Georgetown University (Washington, DC), John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Boston), New York University (New York), Arizona State University (Phoenix), American Bar Association (Washington, DC). During his stay in the United States, President Stoyanov has been asked for his participation in several international projects. He has accepted the invitation to join the Board of President Clinton's Initiative on Global Opportunity, Fairness and Growth, the Advisory Council of Secretary William Cohen's Leaders Project, and the International Advisory Committee of the Journal of Democracy of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Petar Stoyanov was a Member of the Bulgarian National Assembly from 1994-1997.  In the Assembly, he served as Deputy Chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) parliamentary group.  Previously, Mr. Stoyanov served as Deputy Minister of Justice responsible for human rights and worked to secure Bulgaria’s ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1992.  Holding a law degree from the University of Sofia, Mr. Stoyanov practiced civil law from 1977-1992.  President Stoyanov, who was born in 1952 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, speaks German, English, and Russian.  He is married to Antonina Stoyanova.  They have two children.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2003.

× 

2002
Name: Mr. Stephane Groueff (1922-2006), Journalist, Author and Member of AUBG University Council
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 12, 2002

Read More

STEPHANE GROUEFF (1922-2006)

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2002
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Stephane GROUEFF, journalist and author, was born in Sofia, Bulgaria (May 26, 1922).  His father was Chief of Cabinet of King Boris III.  He studied Law in Switzerland, licentiate from University of Geneva.  A political refugee since his student years in Geneva, he has been actively involved in Bulgarian exile activities since the Communist takeover in September 1944, returning to Bulgaria for the first time in September 1990.

After University, he lived in Paris, and after traveling extensively as a reporter for the Paris Match he became the magazine’s Bureau Chief in New York from 1957 to 1977.  He has written and published four books in French and two in English, Manhattan Project and Crown of Thorns, both translated into Bulgarian.  His memoirs, My Odyssey, have just been published in Bulgaria.

Co-founder of the Free Bulgarians organization and an editor of its monthly Vazrazhdan; he later was one of the five directors of the “Free Bulgarian Center.”  Worked with Radio Free Europe in Munich and New York in the early 1950s.  An active contributor to the Bulgarian Review, published in Rio de Janeiro.  Collaborated briefly with the Bulgarian Service of Radio BBC from Paris and New York.  Was the first Bulgarian to visit Antarctica, and is still the only Bulgarian who has set foot on the South Pole.  In 1991, he was one of the founding Directors of American the University in Bulgaria.

Naturalized US citizen since 1963.  Married to an American-born wife, one son, two grandchildren.  Lives in New York and Southampton (Long Island).

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2002.

× 

2002
Name: Ambassador Sol Polansky (1926-2016), Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria and Founding Chairman of AUBG’s Board of Directors
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 12, 2002

Read More

AMBASSADOR SOL POLANSKY (1926-2016)

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Sol Polansky joined the US Diplomatic Service in 1952.  He served twice at the American Embassy in Moscow, Russia; and also in Poznan, Poland; and West Berlin, West Germany.  He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, East Berlin, East Germany 1976-79; Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Vienna, Austria 1979-83; State Department Representative on the US Delegation to the START negotiations 1983-85.  In 1987, he was named Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria, where he served until August 1990.  He was named Executive Director of the Citizens Democracy Corps in 1991, and retired from the Diplomatic Service in 1993.

Sol Polansky graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950.  He attended the Russian Institute at Columbia University 1950-52, and the National War College, Washington, DC, 1972-73.

Ambassador Polansky was founding chairman and member of the Board of Directors of AUBG 1991-2000.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2002.

× 

2001
Name: Ambassador William D. Montgomery, U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 13, 2001

Read More

AMBASSADOR WILLIAM D. MONTGOMERY

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2001
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

William D. Montgomery was selected as Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia upon the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in November 17, 2000.  His previous assignment was as US Ambassador to Croatia from January 1998 until he assumed his present position. He has been a career Foreign Service Officer since 1974. He was Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Bosnian Peace Implementation from January 1996 to September 1997. He served as Ambassador to Bulgaria from October, 1993 to January 1996. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sofia from June, 1989 to May, 1991. His other assignments have included Economic-Commercial Officer in Belgrade, Commercial Officer in Moscow, Political Officer in Moscow, Deputy Chief of Mission in Dar Es Salaam, as well as assignments in Washington. He was Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and then Deputy Secretary of State Clifton Wharton. He speaks Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian.

While in Croatia, he received the Order of Prince Trpimir from the Government of Croatia. At the end of his tour as Ambassador to Bulgaria, he was awarded the Order of the Stara Planina, First Class, by the Government of Bulgaria. At the end of his tour as Deputy Chief of Mission, the Bulgarian Government awarded him the Order of the Madara Horseman, First Class. He has one Distinguished Honor Award, two individual and two group Senior Honor Awards, and one Meritorious Honor Award from the Department of State. He is also a recipient of an ABA—CEELI award for his efforts in promotion the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe.

Ambassador Montgomery has a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University and a Masters of Business Administration in International Business from George Washington University. While working for the Department of State, he attended the National War College for its one-year program in 1986-1987.  He served in the U. S. Army from 1967 to 1970, including one year of service in Vietnam. His army decorations included the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with “V”, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachute Badge, and Vietnam Service Medal.

He is married to the former Lynne Germaine.  They have three children, Alexander, age 18, Amelia, age 15 and Katarina, age 13.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2001.

× 

2001
Name: Mr. John Dimitri Panitza (1930-2011), Member of AUBG’s Board of Trustees
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 13, 2001

Read More

J. DIMITRY PANITZA (1930-2011)

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2001
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

A native Bulgarian, Dimi Panitza left his country in 1948 and spent all of his adult life abroad, between Western Europe and the United States.  After a brief spell working as a bank clerk in Paris, he moved to the US and in 1952 joined as a trainee the Reader’s Digest Editorial department. In the mid sixties he became head of the European Editorial Office of Reader’s Digest, responsible for the editorial reporting from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Over the years he moved through the magazine’s hierarchy, retiring from Reader’s Digest on June 1st, 1994 as Managing Editor.  During his service Reader’s Digest’s monthly circulation grew to 30 million and its foreign language editions expanded to include Russian, Hungarian, Czech and Polish.  His principal regret in his entire career is that he did not see the creation of a Bulgarian-language edition of the Digest.

In 1991 Mr. Panitza and his wife Yvonne decided to establish the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation (FDBF) in Sofia, whose purpose is to facilitate the process of democratization of Bulgarian society through: pluralism, free press, free markets, tolerance, educated youth, open dialogue.  Its activities include:  Bulgaria’s first Street Children Program which was recently expanded to include over 16-year-olds, Civil Society Programs, including the establishment of Junior Achievement-Bulgaria, the sponsorship of student debates in universities, annual Excellence in Journalism Prizes, donations and scholarships.

He is an Honorary Member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, a long-time member of the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris, of the French Foundation for the Future, of the Institute for Market Economics in Sofia, of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) in Washington, DC.  He is Honorary Chairman of Junior Achievement - Bulgaria and has been a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American University in Bulgaria since 1991. He is on the advisory council for the annual Civil Courage Prize in New York and a member of the board of the newly established Balkan Children and Youth Foundation.

In December 2000 he was awarded Bulgaria’s highest civilian decoration, the order of the Stara Planina, First Class.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2001.

× 

2001
Name: Ms. Ralitsa Vassileva, Anchor for CNN International, Atlanta, USA Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 13, 2001

Read More

RALITSA VASSILEVA

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 2001
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

Ralitsa Vassileva is an anchor for CNN International (CNNI). Based in CNNI's Atlanta headquarters, Vassileva anchors "World News."

Since she assumed her duties at CNNI in 1992, Vassileva has anchored coverage of many major international news stories. She was on the air during CNNI's coverage of the conflicts in Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina. Vassileva helped anchor the twists and turns of the Middle East peace process and Russia's transition to democracy, Northern Ireland's peace agreement, the fall of Indonesia's President Suharto, East Timor's struggle for independence, the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the UN weapons inspection crisis in Iraq and Rwanda's civil war.

Through the years Ralitsa has interviewed many dignitaries, analysts and personalities to shed light on the news of the day, among them: former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez, NATO Secretary General George Robertson, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, entrepreneur Richard Branson and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Ralitsa previously anchored CNN World Report, the world's only forum for international broadcasters to present news from their country before CNN's global audience.

Before assuming her position at CNNI, Vassileva anchored and reported for Bulgarian Television. In just two months as a national Bulgarian news anchor, she became the country's second highest rated anchor. Vassileva joined Bulgarian Television in 1988 as an English-language reporter preparing CNN World Report stories and became a reporter for the country's domestic broadcasts in 1989.

In 1990, Vassileva participated in the CNN World Report International Professional Program - a professional internship for contributing broadcasters. While in Atlanta, she co-anchored the program with regular anchor Ralph Wenge which led to a permanent anchoring position with Bulgarian TV and CNNI World News a year later.

Vassileva's interest in journalism began after she joined Bulgarian Radio's English language service in 1987 as an English translator and announcer. Later she added reporting to her duties.

Vassileva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and was educated at English language schools in Sofia and New Delhi, India. She graduated from Sofia University with a major in English and literature and a minor in Bulgarian and literature.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2001.

× 

2000
Name:
Mr. John Tennant, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID, Washington, DC, USA
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 7, 2000

Read More

JOHN TENNANT

AUBG Commencement Speaker 2000

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

John Tennant is currently Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, responsible for the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) European Programs.  In this current role, Mr. Tennant overseas US technical assistance programs in Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. 

Mr. Tennant has worked with USAID for 30 years, serving overseas in Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Philippines, Jamaica and, most recently, 1994 - 1998, as Director for USAID's mission in Sofia. Under his leadership, USAID was able to provide critical assistance to Bulgaria during the economic crisis in 1997 and its subsequent stabilization.  In October 1998, President Stoyanov recognized Mr. Tennant's dedication and leadership during this critical juncture by awarding him the Order of the Madara Horseman, 2nd Class. 

Prior to joining USAID, Mr. Tennant worked with the US Department of Treasury and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.

Mr. Tennant earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and completed graduate studies in Economics at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 2000.

× 

1999
Name: The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States of America
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: November 22, 1999


1998
Name:
Mr. William Meredith (1919-2007), Distinguished Poet and Writer Degree: Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 10, 1998

Read More

WILLIAM MEREDITH (1919-2007)

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 1998
Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

William Meredith was born in New York City in 1919. He graduated from Princeton University in 1940 and served as a naval aviator during the Second World War and the Korean Conflict. His firs book of poems, Love Letter From an Impossible Land, was chose by Archibald MacLeish, in 1944, for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Mr. Meredith was published a number of books over the years including Ships and Other Figures (Princeton, 1948), Poets of Bulgaria (Unicorn Press, 1986), The Cheer (Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), Effort At Speech, Selected Poems (Orpheus House, Sofia and Paris, 1994). Mr. Meredith has translated the works of a number of Bulgarian poets, as well as Guillaume Appolllinaire’s Alcools: Poems 1898-1913.

Mr. Meredith’s book Partial Accounts, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 1988. His new and selected poems, also entitled Effort at Speech, (Northwestern University Press, 1997) won America’s highest literary recognition, the National Book Award, in 1998. He has won three of Poetry’s annual prizes and the Loines Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became a member in 1968. He is a Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets where he has served since 1964. From 1978 through 1980 he was the Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. In 1980 he was awarded the International Vaptsarov Prize in Poetry, and in 1984 he was awarded a senior fellowship the National endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Meredith has taught at Princeton University, the University of Hawaii, Middlebury College, Breadloaf, and Carnegie-Mellon University, but he has been primarily associated with Connecticut College since 1955. He retied from Connecticut College in 1984 after a stroke but continues to read his work and teach at poetry conferences and colleges across the United States. In 1994 he was presented with the Westport, Connecticut Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature.

Mt. Meredith lives in Uncansville, Connecticut with his companion of thirty years, Richard Harteisk but travels frequently to Bulgaria, where he was made a citizen by Presidential decree in 1996. On January 11, 1998, the Board of Directors of the American University in Bulgaria choose to award Mr. Meredith the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters. This degree is conferred upon individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of creative writing.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 1998.

The following poem is dedicated to the graduates of the class of 1998 and their parents, with gratitude for the honor they bestow on me and from their friendship.

PARENTS
by William Meredith

What it must be like to be an angel
or a squirrel, we can imagine sooner.

The last time we go to bed good,
they are there, lying about darkness.

They dandle us once too often,
these friends who become our enemies.

Suddenly one day, their juniors
are as old as we yearn to be.

They get wrinkles where it is better
smooth, odd coughs, and smells.

It is grotesque how they go on
loving us, we go on loving them.

The effrontery, barely imaginable,
of having caused us. And of how.

Their lives: surely
we can do better than that.

This goes on for a long time. Everything
they do is wrong, and the worst  thing,

they all do it, is to die,
taking with them the last explanation,

how we came out of the wet sea
or wherever they got us from,

taking the last link
of that chain with them.

Father, mother, we cry, wrinkling,
to our uncomprehending children and grandchildren.

× 

1997
Name: Ambassador John K. Menzies,  Former U.S. Ambassador to
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Degree: Doctor Honoris Causa
Date: May 4, 1997

Read More

JOHN K. MENZIES

AUBG Commencement Speaker 1997

AUBG Honorary Degree Recipient 1997
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)

John K. Menzies was the United States Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina from October 1995 until December 1996. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in German and History from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1971, he earned a graduate degree in German at the same university in 1974. In November 1978 John K. Menzies became Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate Division at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1981 he earned his doctorate in German from U.C. Berkeley.

Ambassador Menzies started his diplomatic career in 1982 when, after studying Hungarian for one year, he served successively as Junior Officer Trainee, Cultural Affairs Officer and as Deputy Public Affairs Officer in Budapest, Hungary. In July 1985 he became Deputy Public Affairs Officer in East Berlin and remained in this position until July 1987. In July 1988, after one year of Bulgarian language training, Ambassador Menzies became Public Affairs Officer with the United States Mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he stayed until June 1991.

From 1991 until 1993, he served first as Special Assistant for East European Assistance to the Deputy Secretary of State and then as Counselor for Press and Public Affairs with the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. From December 1993 until October 1994 he served as Acting Deputy Coordinator of East European Assistance.

In October 1994 John K. Menzies became Deputy Chief of Mission in Sarajevo, and after serving as Chief of Mission from April until October 1995, he became the United States Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he served until December 1996.

Ambassador Menzies holds a Meritorious Honor Award (1988), a Group Superior Honor Award (1991), and the Rivkin Award for “constructive dissent” (1994), all from the American Service Association. In 1991 Ambassador Menzies was awarded the Order of the Madarsky Konek (Second Class) of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The American University in Bulgaria is proud to confer upon Ambassador Menzies the degree Doctor Honoris Causa for his distinguished contributions to Central and Eastern Europe.

Excerpts from the short biography included in the commencement program booklet distributed at the ceremony 1997.

× 

1995
Name: The Honorable Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev,  President of the
Republic Bulgaria (1935 - 2015)
Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Date: May 7, 1995

We are Social