Charles III awarded two Bulgarians with Orders of the British EmpireDiplomacy | April 14, 2023, Friday // 13:56| views
King Charles III
The British King Charles III awarded honorary degrees to two Bulgarian citizens in recognition of their significant contribution to the strengthening of relations between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Bulgaria, reported the British Embassy in Sofia.
Stefan Kitanov, creator and director of the international film festival Sofia Film Fest, receives the Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for his contribution to the presentation of British cinema in Bulgaria
Valentin Valjovski, gardener at the residence of the British Embassy in Sofia, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his contribution to strengthening British-Bulgarian relations.
Stefan Kitanov has made significant contributions to the promotion of British cinema in Bulgaria for more than 30 years, the British Embassy points out. In 1996, in cooperation with the British Council, Kitanov introduced Bulgarian viewers to Monty Python at a film festival dedicated to the British comedy group. More festivals followed with the participation of British films, which subsequently grew into the Sofia Film Fest - one of the most significant Bulgarian cultural events today and a leading film event in Central and Eastern Europe. Sofia Film Fest continues to showcase British cinema, including the British Council's Five Films for Freedom initiative.
The diplomatic mission states that for 30 years Valentin Valjovski developed and maintained the garden of the residence of the British Embassy in Sofia, which today many consider to be the best representative garden in Bulgaria. On an area of 1.5 acres, it grows 38 trees (13 species), 30 creeping roses (15 species in different colors) and 300 rose bushes (40 species), including typical English varieties such as Princess Charlotte and Rosa Glauca. In 1998, King Charles, then Prince of Wales, planted a walnut tree, which Valjovski made the centerpiece of the garden. Valjovski is a specialist in his field who shares experience with his colleagues at Kew Gardens and Hampton Court in the UK. He regularly shares his knowledge and helped a local school create its own garden, the British embassy also noted.
They inform that these honors are awarded to persons who are not British or Commonwealth citizens, but who have made a significant contribution to the relationship between the United Kingdom and their country. A Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is awarded for outstanding achievements or services to the community of long-term and substantial impact and which can serve as an example. The British Empire Medal is awarded for practical services to the local community.
These honors are awarded by the British King on the proposal of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Development, the statement said.
On the occasion of the awards, the British ambassador to Bulgaria, Dr. Rob Dixon, stated:
"I am very glad that His Majesty has decided to recognize the merits of Mr. Kitanov for presenting British cinema in Bulgaria for more than 30 years. As the creator of the Sofia Film Fest in 1997, after the highly successful festivals Rock Film Fest 1993, Rock Film Fest 1994 and Monty Python Fest 1996, realized in partnership with the British Council, Mr. Kitanov made a significant contribution to the development of cultural relations between United Kingdom and Bulgaria, offering excellent British films to Bulgarian viewers".
"His Majesty's decision to award Mr. Valentin Valjovski the British Empire Medal is a fitting and well-deserved recognition for his over 30 years of public service and for the dedication with which he develops and maintains one of the most beautiful gardens in Bulgaria. The combination between an English garden and Bulgarian roses, which Valentine created with a lot of work and patience, represents a magnificent example of the United Kingdom and of the close British-Bulgarian partnership", said Ambassador Rob Dixon, quoted in the press release.
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