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New Academic Building to Be Named Balkanski Academic Center

May 12, 2010

The American University in Bulgaria received a generous donation from celebrated physicist Professor Minko Balkanski. AUBG’s New Academic Building will bear the scientist’s family name in recognition of the distinguished family’s support. The dedication ceremony for the Balkanski Academic Center will take place at 3 pm on May 15, 2010 on the Skaptopara campus.

In AUBG, Professor Balkanski found a worthy partner whose values reflect his personal commitment. The University’s mission is “to educate students of outstanding potential in a community of academic excellence, diversity, and respect and to prepare them for democratic and ethical leadership in serving the needs of the region and the world.” Professor Balkanski’s faith and support will help the University continue to be a leader in offering high-quality liberal arts education in Southeastern Europe. Furthermore, philanthropists’ contributions like Professor Balkanski’s represent sustaining gifts that enable AUBG to grow and become a model of academic excellence in the 21st century.

“Professor Balkanski’s gift endorses yet again AUBG’s reputation for academic excellence. Thanks to supporters like him, we can offer one of a kind academic and residential experience to our students. Home to 1,100 students from 37 countries, the University’s residential campus is an integral part of the AUBG education, which aims at nurturing socially responsible leaders capable of cross-cultural communication,” said AUBG President David Huwiler.

Professor Balkanski’s biography includes many impressive accomplishments. Born in 1927 in Oryahovitsa, Bulgaria, he emigrated to France in 1945. At 28, he became a professor of physics at the Sorbonne and the world’s youngest professor at the time. Throughout his life, Professor Balkanski has been actively involved with research and academic activities. For his contributions to science, Professor Balkanski received France’s highest distinction, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France, as well as Chevalier of the National Order of Merit of France.

He is also the recipient of Poland’s Commander Cross with Star of the Order of Merit, the prestigious Von Hippel prize, Bulgaria’s highest distinction, the Order of Merit Stara Planina, and India’s highest honor for service to the country by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Currently, Professor Balkanski is a professor emeritus at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and a visiting professor at the University of California. 

Since 1993 Professor Balkanski has focused most of his efforts on educational projects in Bulgaria. He is the founder of the Minu Balkanski Foundation, which is dedicated to his father. The organization works for the betterment of Bulgarian education and helps talented young Bulgarians develop and receive quality education at prestigious universities. Professor Balkanski’s entire range of activities centers on the goal of cultivating an elite of educated young Bulgarians who will spearhead Bulgaria’s transformation.

Story by Albena Kehayova & Sylvia Zareva

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