site.btaUPDATED Vice President Iotova: Language Conveys Bulgarian Self-Awareness and Identity
Opening the 7th interschool Bulgarian language reading contest for first- and second-graders in Armagh, Northern Ireland, Vice President Iliana Iotova said language conveys something very important - Bulgarian self-awareness and identity. She was invited by the Ivan Vazov First Bulgarian School in that town.
Iotova thanked the teachers and noted that they are the modern awakeners. "You teach the children about Bulgarian traditions, about everything that makes us a nation with such an ancient history, and you are showing them how to be true patriots from a very young age. I am confident that when you teach our children the Bulgarian language, you get strong support from parents because without help from home, no teacher can achieve great results."
The Vice President noted that regardless of where Bulgarians live, they should speak their native language. The Bulgarian nation is one created by culture, writing and literature. There is no other such nation in the whole world, Iotova said. "We are united by the most important thing - love for Bulgaria and love for everything Bulgarian," she added.
Iotova noted that there are many great empires and great nations, glorious in their own right, but in most cases states and nations were formed by territorial conquests and wars. In contrast, the Bulgarian people, the Bulgarian nation, was born on the basis of letters and literature, of culture, which they spread all over the world.
Bulgaria's Ambassador to the UK, Marin Raykov, also addressed the participants in the competition. "We need to give children an identity, not just knowledge and skills. Children need to be given an identity, especially those who, due to various circumstances, have ended up abroad," he said.
The diplomat said the Bulgarian alphabet, adopted by all Slavs, is the first Christian alphabet created to give the Slavs access to the Holy Scriptures.
Rayna Mandzhukova, head of the Executive Agency for Bulgarians Abroad with the Foreign Ministry, sent an address read out by the Agency's Lili Spasova: "The sonorous, melodious and beautiful Bulgarian language, so sacred and perfect, helps us preserve ourselves as a nation and keep patriotism in our hearts. May the children of Bulgaria grow up inspired and filled with love in their hearts for the whole world through the beautiful, magical power of the written word."
The 7th Bulgarian language reading contest for pupils abroad is organized by the Bulgarian Culture and Education Association and the Ivan Vazov First Bulgarian School in Armagh in partnership with the Bulgarian Az Buki Vedi Sunday School in Cologne, under the auspices of Ambassador Marin Raykov. Pupils from 24 Bulgarian Sunday schools in nine countries are taking part.
The contest is held in three rounds. The first round involves reading a familiar text from the first- or second-grade reader respectively. The second round - reading an unfamiliar poem - is open to all participants. The top-performing participants go to the third round, which involves reading of an unfamiliar prose text.
After this round, the jury determines the winner, the King or Queen of Letters, in the first and the second grade, as well as one runner-up, the Lord of Letters, in each grade.
Vice President Iotova congratulated all the participants.
The jury named Andrey Iliev (1st grade) and Oliver Yankov (2nd grade) from the Bulgarian school in London "King of Letters". Two girls, Yana Yancheva (1st grade) and Christine Markovska (2nd grade) were named "Lady of Letters".
Ambassador Raykov also presented awards to four children from the Bulgarian schools in Paris, London and Armagh.
The Executive Agency for Bulgarians Abroad presented diplomas to the Bulgarian schools whose pupils entered the contest.