On May 8th, in the Presidency of the Republic of Bulgaria forty-five youths who achieved the gold and silver level of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award were accorded.

President Rumen Radev, a patron of the prestigious youth program, personally handed the badges to the young people from Sofia, Pleven, Kozloduy, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Svishtov, Plovdiv and Oryahovo who have gone through the program and developed key life and leadership skills. H. E. Ms. Emma Hopkins, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, gave them the certificates. Among the official guests of the event were Mrs. Lubomira Velcheva, Executive Director of the International Duke of Edinburgh Foundation – Bulgaria, and Mr. Svetlozar Petrov, Chairman of the Honorary Trust of the Prize in Bulgaria.

"I support this programme because it is entirely in the interest of society as with the knowledge and skills that the young people acquire, they are getting ready for tomorrow. They prepare to be useful, effective and honest citizens of our society. The last two stages of the program, silver and gold, have a very important goal - to develop the leadership skills of these young people. And I am convinced that you will continue to contribute with your already established leadership qualities to the development of the communities in which you live. Be proud of the path you have gone through and the challenges you have overcome; proud of building up skills and knowledge that will benefit you tomorrow. To you, dear young people, I would like to thank and to welcome the courage to declare yourself, to openly state your goals, ambitions and not to pity your labour in order to achieve them." - said President Rumen Radev in his address to the rewarded young people.

H. E. Mrs. Emma Hopkins also congratulated the young people on their success: "28 years ago I also took part in the Award and this was a valuable experience for me. The participation brings more confidence, new skills, and bigger dreams for the future. This is why the Award is so important - it provokes the formation of values ​​through practice and develops character. I congratulate all of you who receive the award today - this is a real achievement. You should be proud of it. You are the future because it is in your hands. I believe that you will be socially responsible and will work actively for the good future of Bulgaria."

Ms. Antoaneta Kalenderova, Academic Director of Drita School, coordinator and leader in the Award and a member of the English department of our team, also addressed the young people. "In the time of rapid satisfaction of every need, of rapid stimulation, when information is a click away, it is the Award that teaches young people self-knowledge and setting goals, it teaches them that they have the right to dream, but that every dream needs hard work to be accomplished; it teaches them to pursue their goals with consistency ... And I will finish with a thought of Art Williams, with which I usually start talking with the young people I work with. It sounds like this: "I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." And that's true!"

Hosts of the event were Diana Dimitrova - Leader of theAward and Tino Penchev, one of the first seven Bulgarians to achieve the golden level of the programme. The ceremony gathered more than a hundred guests: young people, teachers, heads of schools, representatives of the business, the non-governmental sector and others.

More about the Award:

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a leading international personal development and achievement programme for young people between the ages of 14 and 24. Since its start in 1956, more than 8 million young people from more than 130 countries have undertaken a number of voluntary and challenging activities within the framework of the Award. At present, more than 1.3 million programme participants around the world are setting stimulating personal goals, and with perseverance, guidance and support from experienced leaders work to achieve the three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold. They choose activities in the areas of Skills, Physical Activity and Volunteerism and go through the experience of an Adventure Trip. Among the greatest benefits of the programme are the development of life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, confidence, sustainability and determination, communication skills, teamwork, empathy, adaptability, intercultural and civic engagement.

In Bulgaria, the Award was officially launched at the beginning of 2014, receiving the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, H. E. Ms. Emma Hopkins, and of numerous institutions and business organizations. President Rumen Radev, patron of the program, in early January 2018, awarded over 120 young people achieved different levels.

At present over 750 young people from 56 licensed organizations actively achieve their goals in their individual programme in 21 cities in Bulgaria. And in order not to lose direction along the way, 300 trained leaders support them during their growth.

Photos: The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - Bulgaria and "Diplomatic Spectrum"

President Rumen Radev, patron of the program, and H. E. Ms. Emma Hopkins, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, handing out the badges and certificates of the awarded young people; Mrs. Antoaneta Kalenderova addressing them on behalf of the programme leaders.