Project: “United in Diversity”

Project status: ongoing

Implemented in: Sofia, Ihtiman, Aprilovo village (Gorna Malina municipality), Reykjavik (Iceland)

Program: Cultural entrepreneurship, heritage and cooperation

Implementation period: 16.02.2023 – 30.04.2024

Project Promoter: St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library

Partners: Narodno chitalishte – Slantse – 1879; New Opportunities Association; Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding

The project focuses on the cultural heritage of the Roma ethnic minority, interweaving the participation of two other minority groups – Jews and Armenians, in order to show the “coexistence” of minority cultures alongside that of the majority – Bulgarian culture. To achieve these goals, the project foresees a series of events at the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”, which aim, on the one hand, to promote the cultures of the covered minorities (with a focus on Roma) and, on the other hand, to involve their representatives in cultural and educational activities.

The project integrates a Bulgarian-Icelandic partnership with the Vigdís International Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Understanding at the University of Iceland, which supports the Roma at the Center initiative, bringing together a series of projects related to Roma studies over the years. Two Bulgarian partners also participate in the project. Narodno chitalishte – Slantse – 1879 Community Center in the city of Ihtiman unites the efforts of a group of students from the local Roma community around an initiative to study the Roma cultural presence in the homeland and increase public awareness of the topic on the territory of the municipality. Association “New Opportunities” presents the diversity of Roma culture in a three-day festival “Days of Roma Culture” in a remote area with a Roma population.

In the Vigdís Center at the University of Iceland, Sofia Zakhova works – a Bulgarian, a long-time researcher and author on issues of Roma cultural heritage. Sofia has published a publication “History of Roma Literature” in English (Brill Publishing | Schöningh – Germany), which will be translated and published in Bulgarian by a Bulgarian publishing house as part of the “Unity in Difference” project.

Grant amount: 74,480.88 EUR

Contact: Valentina Aksentieva, Deputy Director of the Bulgarian National Library
phone: +359 2 918 31 67
address: Sofia, 1504, Vasil Levski blvd. 88


In the fourth event of the activity “Ethnocafe” (June 5, 2023) the joint book of prof. Dr. Hristo Kyuchukov and Maria Kasimova-Moase “The Romani Woman and the Second World War” was presented. Video is available in Bulgarian on the Bulgarian version of the site.

On April 12, the second event of the new format for culture and ethnicities took place at the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” under the project “United in Diversity” – “Ethno Cafe”. Georgi Georgiev was invited to meet the audience. This is the first public appearance of the intellectual of Roma origin, who at the beginning of the evening shared that instead of “Roma” he will call himself “gypsy” because he was born as a gypsy and is not bothered by this definition. He told about the gypsy quarter in Byala Slatina, as he remembered it from his childhood, about the name Gunter, with which he was born and which was changed during the “renaissance process”, he recalled interesting and indicative events of his personal formation youth. Video is available in Bulgarian on the Bulgarian version of the site.

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