Chicago Festival, June 20-25, 2011
The First Chicago Fest, co-organized by the Friends of Chicago Foundation, Sofia City Hall and the Embassy of the United States, will be held in Sofia from Monday, June 20, 2011 to Saturday, June 25, 2011 and will bring Chicago closer to Sofia and its citizens. Held just before the 4th of July, this Festival benefits from people-to-people diplomacy to promote Bulgarian-American friendship and cooperation and to provide public support for establishing a sister cities relationship between Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and Chicago.
Chicago has always been the America’s Architectural Capital. Ever since the 1880s, when the ‘Skyscraper’ has been born there, the architectural trends and structural achievements in Chicago have influenced the world architecture. The stress in this lecture is on the great architects’ buildings in Chicago, which have changed drastically not only its skyline – they have formed the image of the contemporary cities all over the world.
Mr. Dimitar Lyubomirov Andreychin, Architect, Associate Professor, has been teaching at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Architecture, Construction & Geodesy (UACG) in Sofia since 1975. He has established two courses of lectures: “Contemporary American Architecture” (since 1992) and “History of the High-Rise Buildings” (since 2003). Recently, he has been invited to lecture at other Bulgarian Universities. Prof. Andreychin has specialized Urban Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies in Baltimore, MD, USA, and has been a Fulbright Grantee and a Visiting Professor at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona (Los Angeles). Since 1982, Prof. Andreychin has been a member of the International Urban Fellows’ Association at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Аleko Konstantinov’s famous book “To Chicago and Back” has made this city part of every Bulgarian’s life. From the times the first skyscraper in the world was built in this city in 1885 to the dazzling Millennium Park officially opened in 2003, Chicago keeps stunning the world by its creativity and pragmatic approach. Among the numerous wonders of Chicago, however, the untamable spirit of Chicagoans is the most impressive wonder.
Ivan Sotirov is the first Consul General of Bulgaria in Chicago. Fascinated by the beauty and vitality of the city as well as by the openness and friendliness of Chicagoans, he established Friends of Chicago Foundation upon his return to Bulgaria in 2010. The Foundation’s goal is to initiate and facilitate direct contacts between common people from the two cities. Although the distance between Sofia and Chicago amounts to 5,190 miles, Ivan Sotirov believes that friendship could overcome any distance.
The winners in the Children Poetry Translation Competition for students from schools and universities, announced by the Friends of Chicago Foundation and the American Corner at the Sofia City Library, will be honored at an awarding ceremony. The magic of the Shel Silverstein children poetry will be revealed at this exciting event. Poems of the great Chicago author will be read by the winners in English as well as in Bulgarian.Sheldon Alan Silverstein, better known as Shel Silverstein, was born in Chicago. His first collection of poems, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was published in 1974 and became an instant classic. Translated into 20 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies. But Shel Silverstein was known not only as an author of children’s books. He was an American writer, cartoonist, singer-songwriter, musician and composer.
Chicago, known as the beautiful flower of the Prairie State of Illinois, has been the birthplace of many great American writers. An economic hub of modern America, Chicago is definitely one of the hubs of American literature. Ernest Hemingway, Michael Crichton, Theodore Dreiser, Saul Bellow, Ray Bradbury, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks and many more connect Chicago and America to the world and inspire their keen Bulgarian readers.
Yordan Kosturkov is a Bulgarian writer and university professor of American literature. He has dedicated his research on Willa Cather and American Modernism and has translated Cather’s work as well as some major American authors: Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and Cynthia Ozick.
Chicago has always been home of great politicians and exciting political ideas. What matters today, however, is not only its rich and, sometimes, controversial history. Like his famous predecessor Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, the 44th U.S. President, got started his political career serving the people of Illinois. Undoubtedly, the great city of Chicago has helped shaping Obama’s vision of he world and inspired him to aim high and make big plans.
Ms. Heather Conley serves as director and senior fellow of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. From 2001–2005, Ms. Conley served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, with responsibilities for U.S. bilateral relations for the 15 countries of northern and central Europe. Ms. Conley received her B.A. in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
In his documentary, Ivan Kozhuharov shares his excitement and respect for America. Arguably, America is not just another country; it is an absolutely different world. And everyone who happens to submerge into it discovers new dimensions and colors. Artists like Kozhuharov, however, have the unique ability to find out what has been considered incognizable. They have also the talent to translate what has been unknown into readable and lovable story. Therefore, after seeing Ivan Kozhuharov’s “Chicago Impression”, we feel Chicago like part of our own life memory.
Ivan Kozhuharov is an author, cameraman and director of lots of documentaries. He worked as an editor at the Bulgarian National Television. Lately, he has turned his camera towards ecological problems. His documentaries won prizes at international ecological film festivals. In 2009, he visited the United States as a Fulbright scholar and shot video about the ecological education of children in American national parks.
Two Projects of Two Famous Bulgarian-American Artists from Chicago
Two years ago a couple of projects for cooperation with Bulgarian institutions commenced.It is projected that they will both fully develop in a five-year period ahead.
Yasen Peyankov’s University Students Exchange Project
The first of them is an initiative of Yasen Peyankov, a Bulgarian artist, performing in Chicago and teaching classes as well. A cooperation agreement was signed between the University of Illinois in Chicago and the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. As a result, 16 art students from the University of Illinois in Chicago took part in a workshop in Bulgaria, taught by prof. Krikor Azarian and other distinguished Bulgarian directors.
Petar Iliev’s Dance Workshop
The other project, called “Dance Workshop” was an idea of Petar Iliev – a Bulgarian choreographer who settled in Chicago some three years ago. A total of 125 children from all over Bulgaria and 14 others from the U.S. spent two weeks at the State Choreography School in Sofia improving their dance skills, assisted by the prominent institution’s faculty. A contest was held following the workshop. The top 12 dancers were picked. They were subsequently provided with a six-week dance curriculum at a ballet school in Chicago. This form of cooperation is projected to improve over the years.