Boryana Raynova (2013 BSSRPL)

Boriana Rainova picture - cropBoriana Rainova has a BA degree in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”. Currently she is finishing her MA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Economics in Prague. During her studies she participated in different academic programs in University of Florence/Italy and Tischner European University in Krakow/Poland. Her main researches are in the field of ethnic conflicts and intercultural dialogue in Balkans. She was involved in different studies of conflict resolutions and peace building in Kosovo. At the moment she is working on the integration process of the European Union in Western Balkans and more precisely Visegrad foreign policies towards Kosovo.

Shaban Darakchi (2011 ISSRPL)

Shaban Darakchi (Shabby) was born in Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria and is a PhD student at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He is currently working on a project called “Dynamic in notions about gender and sexuality among Bulgarian Muslims” and has involved in projects for interethnic initiatives since high school. This had a huge influence on his professional development and in 2003 he chose to study Sociology. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, he got accepted in a Master program focused around issues of sociological research and public policies. In 2009 defended a Master thesis named “Sexuality as a sociological problem: Sexuality and Politics”. Two specializations in Spain and Sweden and publications devoted to gender issues and their relationship to religion and politics. He is a sworn sociologist and a big fan of a healthy lifestyle. “My job and my hobby are the same thing—it is my passion”

Adriana Lubenova (2011 ISSRPL)

Adriana Lubenova is director of ate-lie “Iconography” at the Holly Metropolitan Church of Plovdiv and scientific secretary at “University Center for Christian Art and Culture”, Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”. Graduated: bachelor’s degree in sculpture from George Mason University, USA; Master’s degree in Orthodox Painting from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv; Master’s degree in Theology at Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”. Post-Graduate Studies in: Iconography, Theology and Symbolism, Drawing, Technique and Technology in Orthodox painting. Intern for UNESCO specializing in restoration and conservation of cultural monuments. Member of the “Association of the Bulgarian Schools Abroad” and ICCM. Currently enrolled in the PhD program at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences/ Institute of Art Studies and completing Master’s program in Conservation and Restoration, at the Shumen University “Episkop Konstantin Preslavski”. Works in the area of iconographic and theological research of antique and medieval mosaics. Leader of segment ‘Iconography’ of the scientific project ‘The Christian cultural-historical heritage as a leading factor for establishing and preserving the national identity’.

Violeta Periclieva (2011 ISSRPL)

Violeta Periclieva is born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Bulgarian philology and Master’s degree in Ethnology and Cultural anthropology, both from Sofia University. Currently she is a PhD student at the Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies with National Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her PhD thesis is on folk religiousness in the Balkans, a comparative study of Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia. She has taken part in two projects of the Municipality of Petrich, Bulgaria – “Cross-border Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism: Integrated Approach for Development of Sustainable Tourism within the Cross-border Area of the Municipalities of Petrich, Bulgaria and of Serres, Greece” and “Cross-border Cultural Interactions for Common European Future – Petrich, Bulgaria and Strumica, Macedonia”. Her previous studies are on the holy places in the Municipality of Petrich and they are the basis for her Master’s thesis, recently published as a book (Holy Places in the Town of Petrich).

Lyubomir Pozharliev (2011 ISSRPL)

I have Bachelor’s degree on Sociology from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridksi”. In 2006 I got the Rector’s award for prominent student. During my studies I was elected as a chair of the Association of the Sociology Students at Sofia University (2006-2008). In 2008 I was elected as a chair of the European Sociology Students Association and I am holding this position still. I had been a human rights activist for the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee in the period 2007-2009 and have several publications in their journal “Objective”. Together with the Helsinki Committee and ASSSU we organized a conference dedicated on the memory of the renaming of the Bulgarian Turks in 1980s. After graduating I was working as an assistant researcher in qualitative methods in the Bulgarian office of the GFK Market Research Institute. I have three publications on social inequalities in Bulgarian academic journals. At the moment I am doing my MA in “Comparative History of Central and Eastern Europe” at Central European University, Budapest. My research interests include nationalism, human rights and rights of ethnic minorities and social inequalities.

Mariya Zhelyazkova (2011 ISSRPL)

Mariya Zhelyazkova holds a MA degree in English Philology from Sofia University, Bulgaria. After more than twenty years of teaching English to high school and university students she switched to social work and for four years was part of an international organization introducing alternative social services for institutionalized children. The training she received in this job made her sensitive to social, cultural and ethnic issues of whose existence she was not aware and confirmed her belief that education can be the answer to many problems. She believes in continuing education and life-long learning and is currently doing a training course in psychological and social counseling. Last year she switched back to education and now works as an in-service teacher trainer. She has a soft spot for cooperative learning and student empowering. She is particularly interested in what motivates and demotivates both students and teachers. Her other interests include books – reading them, owning them, sharing them, discussing them; and traveling. She lives in Stara Zagora, Central Bulgaria, and misses her two grown-up children who live abroad.

Tania Reytan-Marincheshka (2009, 2010 ISSRPL)

ReytaTania Reytan-Marincheshka, was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She lived and studied in Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, USA and Israel. She holds an MA in International Relations from the MGIMO University, Moscow, and a PhD in Political Philosophy from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and has specialized in International Law, Philosophy of Law, Social Anthropology and Human Rights. In the 1980’s and 1990’s she was a human rights activist. From 1993 till 2001 she created and directed a joint UNHCR/BHC program and network on “Refugees’ and Migrants’ Legal Protection”. In 1998-2000 Tania created and is still involved with the inter-religious and intercultural network ‘Association on Refugees and Migrants-BG’. Since 2000 till today, she performs anthropological and scholarly research and publishes in the field of political philosophy, migration, urban studies, communication and civil participation. In 2001-2002, she was a scholar-in-residence at HBI, Brandeis University, MA, USA. From 2003 till 2007 she taught Human Rights & International Relations at Sofia University. From January 2008 till July 2008, she was a visiting professor at Utica College, NY, USA. Since 2003 she is a member of the European Bet Debora movement and organized the Fifth Bet Debora Conference of European Women Rabbis, Jewish Community Politicians, Activists and Scholars on ”Migration, Communication & Home: Jewish Tradition, Change & Gender in a Global Context”, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, June 25-28, 2009. Currently she works in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Tania has two daughters and a grandson and lives in Sofia.

Nayden Yotov (2009 ISSRPL)

My name is Nayden Yotov. I am an Orthodox Bulgarian believer. Currently I am a PhD student of semiotics in the New Bulgarian University, specializing in visual and cognitive studies. I have a MA degree in Philosophy, language and communication and BA in Marketing and Advertising. My university educational background also includes Faculty of Theology, English Language Philosophy at Sofia University and National College of Ancient Languages and Cultures. My mission is to travel around the world and make bridges between differences in cultures and to explore and understand the very nature of humanity. In my homeland I organize regular meetings and performances, where people are sharing their intellectual and artistic potential in all known forms. My Interests include music, religion, cultural dialogue, mythology, poetry, philosophy, semiotics, cinema, psychology, ethics, art theory, dancing, theatre, and rhetoric.

Elitsa Markova (2008 ISSRPL)

Mrs. Elitsa Markova is an analyst to the European Policies and Civic Participation Program of the Open Society Institute – Sofia and leads the Project Design Unit of the institute. She holds MA in International Relations form the University of Sofia and is currently PhD student at the faculty of political science. She holds an internship at the International Relations Department of the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany (2003) and fellowship at the European Foreign Policy, Research Institute of the German Council of Foreign Relations, Berlin, (2002). Some of the publications of which she is co-author include: The European Debates in 2003: Foreign Policy and Constitutional Aspects, Open Society Foundation, Sofia, 2004; Turkey’s long way to EU accession – facts and challenges, Open Society Foundation, Sofia, 2006; EU Funds Absorption – measuring the impact on the infrastructure, economy and social sphere, OSI- Sofia, 2007. Author of: Ensuring Democracy and Effective Human Rights Protection in the Black Sea Region briefing paper to the Directorate General External Policies of the Union of the European Parliament, November 2007.

Zahari Konkyov (2007 ISSRPL)

I graduated in theology from Sofia University in 1997. Then I was accepted in Pontifical Gregorian University and from 2005 I am doctoral student in Byzantology and I work on a topic related with Bulgarian external church relations in 13-th century. My interests concern also Christian art and contemporary external relations of Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Radko Popov (2006 ISSRPL)

Radko Popov is Bulgarian Orthodox Christian. He is theologian very much interested in Christian-Muslim dialogue. The publication of his book Jesus Christ in the Qur’an is forthcoming. It will be the first book on the subject in the Bulgarian language. At the moment he is doing research for a PhD. The provisional title of his research is Aspects of Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Second Half of the XX Century. Radko is also coordinator of the project Centre of Interreligious and Intercultural Studies in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. He has produced a great number of programs for the BBC World service and written several articles on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations for Bulgarian and international publications.