My earliest memories are associated with my family's involvement in the Eastern European Folklife Center, a nonprofit organization that celebrates and teaches folk music and dance. Through my active participation in this organization, I cultivated a passion for developing and sustaining communities through cultural arts. This passion led me to transfer to the American University in Bulgaria to complete my B.A. in International Relations/Political Science. While there, I actively pursued cultural immersion in addition to my daily interaction with peers from over 25 Eastern European, Central Asian, and Caucasian countries. Last year, I created a women's folk singing ensemble, Svetlina (light), due to a desire to increase on-campus awareness of the richness of Bulgarian folklore. As the director of the group, I am responsible for gathering source material, organizing workshops, and teaching traditional songs.
This commitment to cultural discovery that I cultivated over the years led me to apply for an internship with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Working in the Cultural Programs Division has given me the opportunity to share my diverse cultural experiences and be exposed to the Department of State's use of cultural diplomacy to improve mutual understanding between the United States and global audiences.
The continuity and sustainability of cultural exchange is reflected in Svetlina's continued study and improvement while I've been working in Washington, D.C. Most recently, the ensemble performed in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the American University in Bulgaria's 20th Anniversary Gala. Several staff members from the American Embassy attended the performance, including U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, James B. Warlick, Jr.
Please visit here for a sample performance of Svetlina.
Visit exchanges.state.gov for more information about the Cultural Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.