Report on the Accomplishments and Activities of the American Research Center in Sofia Foundation and its partner institution the American Research Center in Bulgaria, Inc. in 2017

During 2017, the American Research Center in Bulgaria (ARCB, Inc.) continued to fulfill its mission. ARCB, Inc. hired consultants and sponsored programs, projects, and events in the United States and provided grants to its partner organization in Bulgaria, the American Research Center in Sofia Foundation (ARCS). The following text is a brief description of both organizations' significant accomplishments:


ARCS Academic Program

With grants provided by ARCB, Inc., ARCS hosted several North American and Eastern European scholars and students at its facilities in Sofia, providing them with the logistical support necessary to conduct their research in Bulgaria. The 2017 Academic Program of ARCS (the ARCS Pre-doctoral and the ARCS Residential Fellowship for Southeast European Ph.D. Students and Junior Postdoctoral Scholars) accepted eight graduate students (four in the Spring and four in the Fall). Students attended lectures, presented their research, and participated in academic field trips around Bulgaria.



November 9-12, 2017. For the fifth consecutive year, our team (from ARCB, Inc. and ARCS) participated in the Annual Meeting of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), which was held in Chicago, IL with different activities and paper presentations. Publications sponsored by ARCS and ARCB, Inc. were displayed in the ASEEES exhibit hall, where researchers from North America and Europe viewed recent books in the field of Eastern European, Slavic, and Eurasian studies. On November 10, the historical date of the advent of democracy in Bulgaria in 1989, ARCB co-sponsored a conference panel, titled "Transgressing the Borders between the Public and the Private in State Socialist Bulgaria." Official guest and participant in the panel was the Consul General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Chicago, Dr. Ivan Anchev, who is also a scholar in the field of Political Studies. 


Public events

January 2017

Among the most important events organized by ARCS and ARCB Inc. last year was the premiere of the book "Shared Childhood: Behind the Iron Curtain," by the internationally recognized journalist and author Nassya Kralevska-Owens. This event, titled "Bulgarian-American Evening of the Arts," took place on January 21 at the Botev Academy, a Bulgarian school in the Washington, DC area, which promotes multicultural education and artistic events. The event concluded with a moving performance by the renowned Bulgarian pianist, Dr. Ani Gogova.


February 2017

On February 7, 2017, ARCS and ARCB Inc. co-organized and hosted the annual Eugene Schuyler Lecture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The honorary lecturer of the event was Dr. Andrew Bernstein (a visiting professor at the American University in Bulgaria), who spoke on The Nature of Heroism. The event attracted a diverse audience of international students, scholars, and members of the general public.


May 2017

On May 18, the premiere of Rumyana Ivanova's book "The Friendly Manhattan" was co-organized and co-sponsored by ARCB, Inc. and ARCS at the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York City. The event featured a moving piano performance by Dr. Ani Gogova.


June 2017

On June 29, ARCB coordinated and sponsored the premiere of the Cold War novel "A Dearth of Eagles" at the Stacy Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The author of the novel is the American philosopher and ARCS Eugene Schuyler honorary lecturer Dr. Andrew Bernstein. Dr. Ani Gogova performed select pieces by Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and other renowned composers. 


October 2017

On October 19, 2017, ARCS and ARCB co-sponsored the premiere of "Medieval Bulgarian Art and Letters in a Byzantine Context," a joint scholarly publication by U.S. and Bulgarian Byzantine historians, sponsored by ARCS. The event took place at the American Corner at the Sofia City Library in Bulgaria.

On October 27, ARCB sponsored and coordinated the premiere of the Smithsonian Folkways Recording Project, entitled "Sound Pictures from Bulgaria: Photographs and Recordings by Martin Koenig." The event was hosted at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Washington D.C. and attracted a large international audience.


November 2017

Due to popular demand, on November 25 ARCS and ARCB jointly presented the Cold War novel "A Dearth of Eagles" by Dr. Andrew Bernstein at the ARCS campus in Bulgaria.



In 2017, the ARCS supported the publication of three new books related to Bulgarian history and culture: A Dearth of Eagles by Andrew Bernstein; Medieval Bulgarian Art and Letters in a Byzantine Context, edited by E. Bakalova, M. Dimitrova, and M.A. Johnson; and Light of Men by Dr. Philip Dimitrov (forthcoming).


Other Supported Projects 

In the summer of 2017, ARCB supported Martin Koenig's research project "Sound Pictures from Bulgaria." Martin Koenig is an international folklorist recognized for his photographic, audio,and video work capturing life in the Balkans in the 1960s and 1970s, most notably folk music and dance. In this particular project, Mr. Koenig partnered with Smithsonian Folkways Records to issue "Sound Pictures from Bulgaria," presenting unique recordings of authentic performances of music and dance from remote Bulgarian villages over several decades.



Over the past year, ARCS and ARCB, Inc. continued to actively develop and enrich the content of "The Immigrant's Suitcase: Virtual Museum of the Bulgarians in North America"( New exciting stories were published on the website by Bulgarian immigrants in the United States. The first online art exhibit on the website was launched in February, featuring Bulgarian art and artists in Chicago. This virtual museum has received substantial TV and radio coverage in both Bulgaria and the United States.

ARCB continued to provide support for the online portal "Victims of Communism in Bulgaria" (, launched by ARCS in 2009. The goal of the project is to prepare a complete database of the affected individuals and their biographical information, thus filling a significant gap in our historical knowledge. The information from the website has been shared with the Bulgarian State Archives and will result in an official publication of the records.


Archaeological Program

ARCS Field School and Summer Archaeology Program

With the support of grants by ARCB, Inc., ARCS organized its sixth Archaeological Field School, during which the ARCS team conducted a third season of excavations at the Roman town of Parthicopolis, located beneath the modern town of Sandanski in southwestern Bulgaria. The ARCS team trained four North American and Bulgarian students at the field school.


Prepared by Dr. Dilyana Ivanova with the assistance of ARCB, Inc. and ARCS staff members.








Another productive year for the American Research Center in Sofia is coming to an end. In 2016 ARCS supported the publication of four new books dedicated to Bulgarian history and culture. Several more books are scheduled to appear shortly. We will be happy to send you copies of our publications: CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE ARCS' PUBLICATIONS CATALOG. In November, an exhibition of rare books from the U.S. Library of Congress Bulgarian collection included several of ARCS’S publications donated to the library, displayed alongside iconic editions like The Fish Primer by Petar Beron.

For the eighth consecutive year, ARCS hosted a number of North American and Eastern European scholars and students at its facilities in Sofia, providing them with the logistical support necessary to conduct their research in Bulgaria andenabling them to reach libraries, museums, universities, and laboratories and present academic lectures in Bulgaria. The 2016 academic program of ARCS accepted 11 graduate students who studied at the premises of the Center, attended lectures, presented their research, and participated in academic field trips around Bulgaria. ARCS organized its fifth Archaeological Field School, during which the ARCS team conducted a second season of excavations at the Roman town of Parthicopolis, located beneath the modern town of Sandanski (pictured below) in southwestern Bulgaria. The ARCS team trained a total of 8 North American and Bulgarian students at the field school.
Over the past year ARCS has continued actively developing “The Immigrant’s Suitcase: Virtual Museum of the Bulgarians in North America” ( and enriching its content with new exciting stories about Bulgarian immigrants living in the U.S. There is strong public interest in “The Immigrant’s Suitcase”: the project’s Facebook page has more than 900 members, and the virtual museum has received substantial TV and radio coverage in both Bulgaria and the U.S.
Since 2009, ARCS has been developing the online portal “Victims of Communism in Bulgaria,” with the goal of preparing a complete database of individuals and their biographical information, thus filling a significant gap in our historical knowledge. Last year our team successfully upgraded the website to a more user-friendly and efficient digital platform that now hosts various data about more than 23,000 victims of the communist regime, including oral histories, documents, photographs, video documentaries, and links to bibliography, news articles, and related events. We are collaborating with the Bulgarian State Archives in their recent initiative to collect historical records about Bulgarian victims of Communism.
Last but not least, ARCS provided support for conferences such as the 9th Joint North American and Bulgarian Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the annual convention of the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies in Washington, D.C. in November. Among the most important events this year was the October premiere of the book Allied Deliberations on Bulgaria: World War II at the National Palace of Culture under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev. In December the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, D.C. hosted another outstanding presentation of the same book, along with talks on modern history delivered by prominent international lecturers and a piano performance by the acclaimed Bulgarian-American musician Ani Gogova. Allied Deliberations on Bulgaria: World War II received much interest and high praise by Bulgarian and American academics and dignitaries and has been nominated for the Thomas Jefferson Prize of the Society for History of the Federal Government.