KYIV – The former president of Bulgaria spoke at the American Councils office in Ukraine, this week, as part of a special envoy promoting educational opportunities between the two countries.

The American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) organized “The Future of Leadership” event, which featured an address by former President Rosen Plevneliev, who pointed out proudly that AUBG is located in his hometown of Blagoevgrad. Mr. Plevneliev’s time in office saw major foreign investments in Bulgaria and the opening of Communist-era secret police archives. In his address, he underscored the need for a new generation of young leaders who are well-educated, critical thinkers, who are ready to take responsibility for the future of their countries. He encouraged young Ukrainians to start by learning their country’s history.

In closing, he said that Ukraine, as well as Bulgaria and other countries in the region, should double down on quality education as the true key to economic development and prosperity, as wisdom is more important than strength. 

Following his remarks, Mr. Plevneliev, along with five ambassadors from the European Union, fielded questions from the dozens of high school students, parents, current and future AUBG students, and Future Leaders Exchange program alumni in attendance.

Yarema Bachynsky, the country director in Ukraine for American Councils, said his staff was thrilled to host the former Bulgarian leader and the numerous ambassadors.

“Hosting a recent, successful and vibrant former president of a country of significance in Eastern Europe was a big honor,” he said. “Knowing too, that his visit came with five other EU country ambassadors in tow, only made it more gratifying.”

Also in the envoy were: Ambassador Krasimir Minchev, of Bulgaria; Ambassador Ernst Wolfgang Reichel, of Germany; Ambassador Cornel Ionescu, of Romania; Ambassador Georgios Poukamissas, of Greece; and Ambassador Jan Pieklo, of Poland.