The Road Ahead
Bulgaria contains the tremendous potential for building sustainable cultural tourism products that are competitive in the international tourism market. Yet through our experiences, we have witnessed barriers that prevent many of the organizations working in this sector from achieving a product that is sustainable, high-quality, and competitive.
The first session of The Road Ahead, a 3-day forum on cultural tourism took place in September 2003 at the Pamporovo Resort. FAF brought together two important industries in the country: culture and tourism, with the goal of combining their power in order to advance sustainable development by encouraging a coherent, national marketing strategy aimed at promoting Bulgaria’s cultural tourism products to the international tourism community. The second session of the initiative is now in the planning phase.
Feel the Music!
Feel the Music! presented a truly rare opportunity: for children and teens to learn from and be inspired by some of the best musicians and music educators in the country.
A cooperation between the World Foundation for Music & Healing and Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Feel the Music! was an interactive music program for children and teens who lost a parent or close family member on September 11th. Designed to be fun and inspiring, Feel the Music! offered workshops taught by renowned professional musicians who love teaching.
Feel the Music! was designed to assist in the emotional recovery of children who lost a parent or close family member on September 11th, building resilience in bereaved children through educational and cultural music workshops and wellness programs for their parents.
Finding New Hope – Healing through Arts
Finding New Hope was an umbrella of projects that aspired to bring healing in the face of natural and human-inflicted disasters, using the power of arts to affect transformation.
It utilized various disciplines of arts and creativity, supplemented by structured intercultural exposure, as catalysts for healing – for growth, empowerment and change. Using creativity and culture, grief, rage, anxiety or fear can be released on the path to inner peace and harmony. New relationships can be built to regain the trust lost by the devastation – to see the world as a friendly place again.
Finding New Hope (FNH) events involved pageantry, drama, dance and music sessions, relaxing and inspiring indoor and outdoor activities, and on-hands intercultural experiences to support the healing of participants.
A Universal Hug for Peace
“A Universal Hug for Peace” was a project created for young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, sharing the loss of a loved one on September 11th, 2001.
Two arts-based retreats welcomed participants to offer consolation and healing; first in December 2003, in New York, and second: in the beautiful mountain resort of Borovetz, just one hour from Sofia (capital of Bulgaria), in April 2004.
An extension of the Finding New Hope program, “A Universal Hug for Peace” targeted specifically at the international community of 9/11, this program was created with generous support from the Rotary Clubs around the world, to offer support in the young victims’ healing.
Summer Peace Camps with the World Children’s Choir
The World Children’s Choir and FAF facilitated an international arts/peace camp in the summer of 2006 in Romania. The choral program was run by the World Children’s Choir, based in the Washington D.C. area, and included the US and local children.
The medium is music and the message is friendship.
Balkan Youth Reconciliation Seminars
The Balkan Youth Reconciliation Seminar Series (BYRSS) was created shortly after the bombings were over in Kosovo in 1999.
It brought together young people from the warring nations and their neighbors in an endeavor to seek a new path to peace, understanding, and compassion through art and culture. It was an attempt to build peace from the roots, right where it springs from: the heart of people; and it was a place for these young people to share their concerns and fears, their hopes and visions with others from this troubled region.
The series comprised of three subsequent sessions over the span of two years, in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Budapest (Hungary) and Timisoara (Romania), during which participants explored their common heritage and learned to respect their differences through the similarities they share.
Festival of Light
The Festival of Light was an annual music and dance festival taking place at several locations in Bulgaria. It brought together performing groups of many genres from the region and the United States to share their art and grow by the experience, and to build bridges of friendships over the geographical and cultural distance.