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ZORKA PAVANOVA

Born in 1958 in Razlog, Bulgaria. She has a masters degree in History and Etnography from the University of Sofia. She also has a Ph. d. and doctorial degree in History.

Her field of science has evolved the national conflicts of the Balkan area, and since 2002 she has been a senior scientist at the Institute for Balkan Studies at the Bulgarian Science Academy (BAS).

She is the mother of two sons, and amongst her work as First Lady she has engaged in social and humanitarian work with with excluded groups and psysical and mentally disable children. She is an Honorary President in the National Youth Organisation, which fights drugs, and she is a member of the National Commitee for Women and Science, which works specifically for womens key issues - one being campains for breast cancer.
 
Beyond this Zorka Parvanova has been Honorary Patroness of many cultural events and festivals in Bulgaria.



Says Zorka Parnova:
"Andersen's fairy tales have left such a bright trace in my children's memories that, today, from the distance of time I find it very difficult to single out one of them without any hesitation. How can I choose between the Little Match-seller on the sidewalk or the Chimney Sweep on the roof, Thumbelina or Ida, the Little Mermaid or the Brave Tin Soldier?

Yet, when I now look back at my emotional experience of Andersen's tales, the first image that comes to my mind is that of Eliza, surrounded by her brothers changed to swans. I can still see her weaving deftly the coats of nettle with her delicate fingers, swallowing silently the malicious slanders and insults. I admire the incredible courage and moral stamina hidden in her slender girl's body.

I distinctly remember how each time I reread the Wild Swans I would feel  outraged by the unfair malice and cruelty of the crowd and how relieved I felt at the end, when at long last good triumphed over evil? Yes, this is my favourite Andersen's tale!"