Dancing with the Wind
She is blond and blue-eyed, with a smile that never leaves her face. She is elegant and lean. Did you picture her? Maybe she is a model?
No, she is a relentless engine that constantly draws public attention to environmental issues. Iliyana is the founder of surf school ‘Akasha’, where the social initiative for clean sea – WIND2WIN was born. Windsurfing and water sports training is her way of being herself and proving every hour that it’s us who need the sea and not the other way around.
In 2018, together with Yoan Kolev, she crossed the eastern border of Bulgaria by windsurfing with a mission – to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the Black Sea. The ability to dance with the wind is her strength, which she passes on to young and old, teaching water sports for ten years. Nominated for Woman of the Year 2019, and together with Yoan Kolev – for Awakener of the Year 2019.
‘In order to keep something safe, we must first love it. In order to love it, it is necessary to understand it. And in order to understand it, we must experience it’, says Iliyana.
Ocean rower, activist
Max broke the world record for the youngest person to row across any ocean
Without any prior boat building experience, Max together with his father Stefan built an ocean rowing boat in their garage and called it NEVEREST - meaning "You should never rest until you reach your Everest". In the summer of 2020, amid Covid lockdowns, without seafaring background, they took off to cross the Atlantic in their rowing boat during the most active hurricane season on record and succeeded in realizing an impossible dream.
Son and father set off from Portugal and after rowing 4,444 nautical miles (8,230km) in adverse conditions in 105 days made landfall in Barbados. Thus,
• Max became the “Youngest ocean rower" in the world to successfully cross an ocean
• NEVEREST became the "First ocean rowing boat to cross the Atlantic from east to west in the hurricane season"
• Max and Stefan realized the "First ocean rowing expedition for Bulgaria".
Their ocean crossing was dedicated to saving lives through organ donation for transplantation - in support of the campaign Yes! For life! of the Ministry of Health of Bulgaria (www.zajivot.bg).
A passionate activist and debater, Max, together with his debate teammates from St. George school in Sofia, has won numerous international debating competitions in the Hague, Netherlands and in Bucharest, Romania.
Prof. Dr. Momiana Guneva
Psycologically we are not created to live in constant fear
Momiana Guneva is a member of the Pardon Commission at the administration of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. As of 2020 she is an expert consultant to the Ministry of Economy and to Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court and its High Court of Justice.
She did her post-graduate work (doctorate and habilitation) in penal law at the Institute for State and Law Sciences at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and specialized in penal and penitentiary law at the most prestigious institutes in Europe.
In the last 15 years, she has been mostly involved in teaching. She is responsible for the full course of lectures in criminal law at the law faculty of Burgas Free University. Prof. Guneva’s monographs, studies, and articles in Bulgarian, Russian, German, and English in the field of criminal law focus on recently developed crimes, such as organized economic crime and internet crime.
To Listen Without Fear
Our next speaker is a family therapist and co-founder of ‘Nuance’ – a Family Happiness Center. Dr Valentina Dimitrova works intensively with individual clients, couples and families. She is the author of numerous articles, creator of the series ‘This is not talked about’, as well as a guest therapist in leading tv programs.
She constantly develops her professional competence by attending a number of seminars at home and abroad. She is also an associate member of the Bulgarian Association of Family Therapy and coordinator of their monthly meetings. Mentor and consultant for EMPROVE and SAVEHER - organizations helping women survivors of domestic violence.
Valentina’s mission is to overcome the stigma in Bulgaria regarding mental health and to show more people that there are no shameful problems – only unspoken ones. Changing attitudes in a sea of conflicting opinions in a Balkan country is no easy task, but Valentina welcomes the challenge with a smile and professionalism. She sees herself as a therapist of the modern person and, confident, Valentina will step on the TEDxVitosha stage with the desire to inspire more people to find their place in the world, following their inner compass regardless of other people’s expectations.
Fear is not an option
Gentle appearance with a fierce voice – an unsurpassed and victorious combination.
Victoria has been a weakness of ours for a long time. Not only because of the meaning of her name which does not even allow her to think retreating. She is one of the most promising music stars in Eastern Europe, close to winning the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest before it got cancelled. Her song ‘Tears Getting Sober’ conquered the most prestigious TV and radio charts in Europe.
In 2021 Victoria will represent Bulgaria at Eurovision in Rotterdam where she is going to perform on the spectacular stage in front of 200 million people from around the world.
At TEDxVitoshaWomen Victoria will share with us more about the process of creating her song ‘Tears Getting Sober’ and how her life has changed since her Eurovision announcement. On November 24th we are all going to find out what lies ahead for the young singer in the coming months.
Dr Girgina Stoyanova
Fight to Win!
Guirguina Stoyanova is a doctor, head of the gastroenterology department at the Fifth Hospital in Sofia, where she has worked for over 30 years. She specializes in gastroenterology and dietetics, as well as in laser endotherapy.
She is the founder and chairman of the ‘Children and Parents – Together Again’ Foundation, daily meeting with cases that no one else dares to solve. Dr Stoyanova organizes conferences and writes publications dedicated to the care of children of divorced parents. She has devoted her time to research, professional work and creating strong family ties.
In today’s unusual times, a new task arises – overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. The battle continuous despite the difficulties and often extreme physical exhaustion. Dr Stoyanova does not hold back, quietly and calmly following her path with faith in her own strength and love for the human kind.
Suzana P. Nikiforova
Тhe courage to be a change maker
If we had to choose just one word for Suzana, it would be “colorful”. When she speaks you could practically hear the numerous nuances in her voice and her life and experience so far are more than bright. She was born in Yugoslavia and says that in her home country she learned about leadership based on love and care for people, economy, nature and society. She defines herself as a passionate learner, who is constantly absorbing knowledge and then needs to teach the others.
Having passed through high job positions such as Marketing Director, Member of a Management Board, Regional Brand Manager, Branding Consultant, Suzana is now dedicated to ANIMAWAY: A Conscious Strategy for a Sustainable World.
“Do I have any fears? Sure! I do have fears, but I fear less when I am tuned into something meaningful. And this is like a life-saving belt for all of us”, she says.