“There are staff, there is interest in Slavic studies and Bulgarian studies, but there are not enough places. I have taught in several departments in my career, but they are gone, they don’t exist anymore,” Dutch Professor of Slavic linguistics William Veder told BTA. The eminent Dutch specialist in the field was speaking on the sidelines of the Ninth International Colloquium on Old Bulgarian Studies, which opened Monday.
The current edition of the scientific forum is part of a series of events under the auspices of Vice President Iliana Iotova and is included in a national scientific programme for the development and promotion of Bulgarian studies abroad. It is taking place in the conference hall of the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia’s conference hall.
Years ago, says Prof. Veber, he donated his library to the Biship Constantine of Preslav Shumen University, because then there were not many manuals there, unlike Sofia, where there was almost everything. He added that there was a strong Preslav School of Literature in that region, and now the university has a solid journal of the same name to which he regularly contributes.
Prof. Veder is one of the top researchers of the Preslav Literary School’s heritage who began his career as a scholar at the University of Utrecht 60 years ago. He finally retired from a department at the University of Chicago.
Sofia University Rector Prof. Anastas Gerdzhikov addressed the numerous participants from over 15 scientific institutions and universities from all over Europe. He wished success to the forum and expressed his hope that such forums will contribute to the development of Bulgarian studies around the world. and wished the forum success.
of the opening ceremony the chairman of the organizing committee prof. Anna-Maria Totomanova shared her joy that the colloquium has gone through so many difficulties, including a hybrid form of hosting in 2021 because of the pandemic, but continues to bring together like-minded paleoslavists from around the world to share new scientific knowledge. Prof. Prof. Totomanova informed the participants that in July 2024, Sofia University will host one of the most preeminent scholarly events in the field of religious studies, the annual conference of the European Association for Biblical Studies. She also invited the colloquium participants to apply for participation in this prestigious international event.
“There are 20 foreign participants in the colloquium and some of them are Bulgarians or are related to Bulgaria. There are also 15-16 Bulgarian participants. The colloquium traditionally does not have a common theme and this distinguishes it from the conferences that are organized on a certain issue,” Prof. Anna-Maria Totomanova told BTA.
Consequently, they decided that Prof. Riccardo Picchio will be one of the focuses of the colloquium as there is a massive Italian presence at the colloquium, and not only because Slavic Italian Studies is strong, but also because of Prof. Riccardo Picchio himself, a famous scholar of Slavic studies and friend of Bulgaria. Colleagues from Italy will participate in a commemorative evening for Prof. Picchio, which will be on Thursday. This is a joint event between the University of Sofia and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,” explained Prof. Totomanova. Tuesday was also dedicated to the centenary of Picchio’s birth.
The Colloquium on Old Bulgarian Studies was held for the first time in 1978 and was conceived as a palaeoslavicist forum where scholars from Bulgaria and abroad could exchange ideas and experiences from which not only future collaboration but also new knowledge could be born. By 1994, six colloquia had been held, organized by Sofia University under the leadership of the eminent paleoslavicists Kuyo Kuev and Ivan Buyukliev, establishing Bulgaria’s place and role as a classical country of Cyril and Methodius’ heritage and an authoritative Old Bulgarian scholarly center. The Seventh and Eighth colloquia were held in 2019 and 2021, respectively, with the support of the National Scientific Programme “Cultural and Historical Heritage, National Memory and Social Development”.