Ban Ki-moon in Sofia: You Should Be Proud of Being Bulgarian!Diplomacy | May 5, 2011, Thursday // 19:47| views
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a lecture at Sofia University Thursday in which he urged Bulgarians to be proud of their nation and heritage. Photo by BGNES
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started and ended his lecture in Bulgaria's Sofia with quotes from the greatest Bulgarian national hero, 19th century revolutionary Vasil Levski.
Ban, who is the first UN head to visit Bulgaria after the end of the communist regime in 1989, delivered a lecture entitled "The World in the Next 20 Years" hosted by the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria and Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski."
The UN Secretary-General defined the vision of Vasil Levski, also known as the "Apostle of Freedom", for a nation founded on brotherhood without regard to racial and ethnic differences as a great humanitarian project.
Bulgaria's national hero and revolutionary Vasil Levski (1837-1873) was the most important Bulgarian freedom-fighter against the Ottoman Turkish Empire; on top of his great organizational skills and courage, he is also known for his strong democratic views and calls for setting up a "pure and holy republic." Levski was hanged in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities in 1873, five years before Bulgaria's national liberation.
"I think that all of you have a great reason to be proud of being Bulgarian," Ban Ki-moon told the audience at Sofia University.
He declared that he is impressed with Bulgaria's history, of which he emphasized the inter-cultural tolerance and the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.
Ban further said he was delighted to have his lecture hosted by such a prestigious school like Sofia University, and gave the audience greetings from the Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO, one of the most important UN agencies, Irina Bokova.