The jury nominated four applicants for the prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science, organised by the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund. They are all young people with remarkable careers and heart-warming ideas for the future.
Curiously, one of the contenders—Ivalina Trendafilova—was among the six nominees in the previous competition, was close to winning the title of Prize Bearer. It seems the young lady is ambitious to win it this time. In her motivation letter, she listed her scientific achievements: ‘In 2018, I won a one-month internship at the National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia, where I began developing an alternative application for the materials I obtained, namely as catalysts for decomposing hazardous pollutants in waste water and volatile organic compounds resulting from industrial processes. After defending my doctoral degree at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry (IOCCP) at BAS, I applied and was approved for a postdoctoral internship at the same institute in Slovenia from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2020. At the beginning of 2020, after succeeding in a competition, I was appointed to the position of Chief Assistant in the laboratory studying Organic Reactions of Microporous Materials at IOCCP. At the end of that year, I won a 36-month postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Namur, Belgium, under the BEWARE Programme co-financed by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, where I continue to expand my knowledge in the synthesis and application of innovative porous silicate materials in the fields of pharmacy and green technologies.’
Ana Kostova is engaged in a diametrically different sphere: the fine arts. She has a Master’s Degree in Painting from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, in the studio of Prof. Zdravka Vasileva, M.A. This is how Ana described her further creative pursuits: ‘In April 2021, I began my Master’s Degree at the Muthesius Academy of Art, Kiel, Germany, in the class of Prof. Antje Majewski. I have always striven to develop and seek my artistic recognisability. At present, I continue to be principally engaged in painting, but I am also experimenting with new techniques and materials. I want my art to be seen by more people and NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ can make this possible.’
Victoria Zhelyazkova, the third lady nominated for the National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science, is an interdisciplinary researcher and photographer. She was born in Varna, lives in Brno, and is studying at Masaryk University in Czechia to become a Master of Cultural Sociology. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Culture from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. ‘In applying for this competition, I am trying to spread the idea of increasing the level of care and responsibility that we devote to the environment we inhabit, as well as to ourselves. If, in the uncertain times in which we live, only a small portion of our attention is focused on the concept of “care”, then my work aims to disclose areas, methods and ways through which, in appropriate language, we can approach the implementation of forms of care, both for ourselves and for our environment,’ Victoria wrote in her motivation letter.
Delyan Balev is the sole young gentleman among ‘The Magnificent Four’ nominees for the second edition of the competition. He stands out with his diverse and intense volunteer work and his dedication to foreign languages and the humanities. Delyan has variously been a delegate to the 2020 UN General Assembly in the United Nations’ Change the World Virtual Model, an intern at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg (the State Hermitage Museum) and the Volunteer Service, and a specialist in International Affairs and Diplomacy with the Russian Federation’s Youth Diplomacy Journal.
Balev was admitted to the University of Vienna’s Joint Master’s Programme in Cultural Differences and Transnational Processes, which he believes provides a closer academic focus on areas of research such as cultural anthropology, democratisation, and migration crises. ‘My dream is for Bulgaria to become a positive model for both Europe and the world,’ he wrote in his motivation letter.
In further articles, we shall present the nominees for the National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ in greater detail.
Who will be the next award holder?—that is for the jury to decide.