Vote for Personality in the News 2017

Bulgaria's largest English-language news website (Sofia News Agency) invites you, our readers from around the world, to select Bulgaria's "Personalities in the News" for 2017!

Nominees are divided into five categories this year: Politics, Business and Diplomacy, Culture and Sport

Voting will continue until the end of February 2018. Within this time we will take special care to present and promote equally all the nominees through interviews and articles.

The winners will be announced and awarded at a special ceremony which has already turned into a traditional and cherished event among expats, diplomats, businessmen in Bulgaria and from around the world.


Eva Maydell
Eva Maydell is a Bulgarian politician. She is a member of the European Parliament representing the European People's Party Group. She will be the first woman, the first Eastern European, and the youngest chairman of the 70-year history of the largest European non-governmental organization "European Movement" The Financial Times, Forbes, and Politics reports her as one of the most influential young politicians in Europe, and the European Parliament twice awarded her as the best MEP.

Tomislav Donchev
Tomislav Donchev is a Bulgarian politician from the political party GERB, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of European Funds and Economic Policy in the Borisov 2 Cabinet (2014-2017) and Deputy Prime Minister in the Borisov 3 Cabinet. He is actively pushing for reforms and modernization of the State Administration.

Maya Manolova
Maya Manolova is a Bulgarian politician, MP from the parliamentary group of Coalition for Bulgaria at the 40th and 41st National Assembly. MP and Deputy Chairman of the 42nd National Assembly. On July 30, 2015, she was elected as National Ombudsman of Bulgaria. One of her most significant achievements for the year is that MPs have accepted the proposed amendments by her to the Civil Procedure Code, which prohibit private arbitrators from collecting debts.



Vladimir Koylazov and Peter Mitev, Chaos Group
Vladimir Koylazov, co-founder of Chaos Group has received an Academy Plaque at the 2017 Academy Awards.The award, presented by the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, recognizes V-Ray’s role in bringing realistic CGI to the big screen. Vladimir Koylazov and Petar Mitev are co-founders of Chaos Group - the Bulgarian company which created the 3D visualization software V-Ray. Besides in Hollywood the software applications are also used in architecture, product design, advertising and other areas. The company was founded 20 years ago, currently has over 200 employees in Sofia and offices in LA, Baltimore, Tokyo and Seoul and over 100,000 customers worldwide.

Milena Dragijska-Dencheva, Lidl Bulgaria
Milena Dragijska-Dencheva has been working in Lidl for 15 years now. She started in 2002 as a regional sales manager for the Stuttgart and Karlsruhe regions in Germany. She continues at the headquarters in Neckarsulm and later in the Austrian unit of Lidl. It is quite logical that Milena Dragijska-Dencheva returns to her home country when Lidl entered the Bulgarian market. Since 2007, she has been the head of the Bulgarian company in the group. Lidl Bulgaria through the years: 2010 Starts the success story of Lidl Bulgaria with the opening of the first 14 stores in 11 cities in the country; 2015 Lidl Bulgaria celebrates its 5th anniversary with 79 stores in 41 cities and more than 1,800 employees; 2017 Lidl Bulgaria will open a second logistics center in the village of Kabile, Yambol District. The company continues to invest in the opening of new stores and the introduction of innovations with the care of employees, customers and the environment.

Peter Andronov, CEO of CIBANK and UBB
Chairman of the Country Team of KBC Group for Bulgaria, Country Manager of KBC Group for Bulgaria, Chairman of the Management Board of CIBANK and UBB, CEO of CIBANK and UBB. Peter Andronov was appointed Executive Director of CIBANK in July 2007. In March 2008 hе became Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and since March 2011 he has been Country Manager of KBC Group for Bulgaria. Аfter the acquisition of UBB by the Belgian bancassurance group KBC Group, Peter Andronov was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of UBB. Mr. Andronov has been involved in the elaboration of the currently effective legislation framework on bank supervision in Bulgaria, incl. the Credit Institutions’ Act, the Supplementary Supervision of Financial Conglomerates Act, the BNB’s supervisory ordinances, instructions etc.



Sоren Jacobsen
Sоren Jacobsen is the Danish Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria from September, 2017. Since his arrival in Bulgaria, the Danish Embassy has organized numerous charity events like Christmas bazaar and 5km run under the slogan ‘Run to Change Diabetes’. The ambassador also participated in lectures, seminars, and friendly meetings.

Irit Lillian
Irit Lillian is the Israel Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria since October 2015. Her previous appointments were in Israel's diplomatic missions to France, Singapore, alongside several positions at the Foreign Ministry, where her career began in 1986. Prior to that, she was a journalist at the Israel Army Radio. She is very active on improving bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Israel in the fields of tourism, entrepreneurship, start-ups and agriculture.

Nargiz Gurbanova
Dr. Nargiz Gurbanova was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Bulgaria on January 12, 2016. Since then the Embassy of Azerbaijan has been involved in numerous events with strategic focus on improving relations in various fields. Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Nargiz Gurbanova was Director of the Economic Cooperation and Development Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and was responsible for promoting Azerbaijan's economic agenda abroad.



Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov is born 16 May 1991, hе is a professional tennis player. His career-high ATP singles ranking is world No. 3, which he achieved in November 2017 after winning the 2017 ATP Finals. Dimitrov is the most successful Bulgarian male tennis player to date.

Boyan Petrov
Boyan Petrov is a Bulgarian zoologist and mountaineer, working at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia. As of September 2017, he has climbed 10 eight-thousanders, all without supplementary oxygen. This achievement makes him Bulgarian altitude climber with the highest number of peaks over 8000 meters.

Antani Ivanov
Antani Ivanov is a Bulgarian swimmer competing in the butterfly discipline. Antani Ivanov improved the national record of 400 meters freestyle (men) at the state championship for men and women in the 25-meter pool of the Sports Hall in Sofia. He is also Bulgaria's best swimmer this year.



Theodore Ushev
Theodore Ushev an animator, graphic designer, illustrator and multimedia artist in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He became internationally renowned beyond the animator community after his short film Blind Vaysha got nominated for an Oscar. Currently he is in the making of the first Bulgarian full length feature Sci-Fi film and many other exciting projects.

Marius Kurkinski
Ivaylo Stoyanov, born 15 October 1969, better known as Marius Kurkinski is a an actor, director, film writer and pop singer. Kurkinski has built a reputation both in Bulgaria and abroad for his one-man shows such as "The Lady with the Puppy" , "The Lone Man" and his latest "The Black Bird"

Sonya Yoncheva
Following a series of spectacular debuts at the world's leading opera houses, soprano Sonya Yoncheva has been heralded as one of the most acclaimed and exciting performers of her generation. She has become an acclaimed fixture on the most important stages of the world, including the metropolitan opera, Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, Berlin State Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, and the Op?ra de Paris. Her unforgettable portrayals of iconic roles have received tremendous acclaim from critics and audiences alike.


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