- Atlantic Club of Bulgaria
The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria is a non-governmental, non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering the common values of the Euro-Atlantic community.
Originally formed in
1990around the pro- NATOlobby in the first post- Cold War Bulgarian Parliament, and officially established on 4 April 1991, the Atlantic Club has grown to include members from all walks of life: government, academia, military, business and media. The Club works to promote Bulgaria’s integration with and role in the Atlantic Alliance, and all Euro-Atlantic political, security, economic and other structures. Within Bulgaria, the Atlantic Club serves the broader purpose of supporting democracy, human rights, free market economy and rule of law.
The Club’s activities focus primarily on raising public awareness about security and international affairs. The list of distinguished guest speakers includes the
Nobel Peace PrizeLaureates Lech Walesa, Shimon Peres, Mikhail Gorbachevand the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet. A number of heads of states and governments have addressed the Club, such as Tony Blair, Romano Prodi, Mesut Yilmaz, Bülent Ecevit, José María Aznar, Lyubcho Georgievski, Mikulas Dzurinda, Mircea Snegur, Mário Soares, Ion Iliescu, Adrian Năstase, Stjepan Mesić, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Vladimír Špidla, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Alfred Moisiu, Fatos Nano, Pascal Couchepin, and Bulgaria’s Georgi Parvanov, Petar Stoyanov, Zhelyu Zhelev, Sergey Stanishev, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Ivan Kostovand Zhan Videnov, Secretaries General of WEU Wim van Eekelenand Jose Cutileiro, as well as Council of EuropeSecretaries General Daniel Tarschysand Walter Schwimmer, President of European Parliament Pat Coxand other prominent EUleaders. NATOSecretaries General Dr. Manfred Wörner, Dr. Javier Solana, Lord George Robertson and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a number of NATO Supreme Allied Commanders Europe (SACEURs), and foreign and defense ministers and high ranking military commanders from various countries have also spoke before the Club.
The Atlantic Club initiated a national committee that organized the visit of
Pope John Paul IIto Bulgaria in 2002, and also co-hosted the mass rally for U.S. President Bill Clintonwho visited Sofiain 1999, and another one for US Secretary of State Colin Powellin 2003.
Research and policy promotion
think-tankcapacity the Atlantic Club sponsors round tables, seminars and conferences on a wide variety of topics, and is a leading partner in the Security Sector Reform Coalition formed by Bulgarian NGOs to develop strategic reports on key policy issues in the field of foreign and security policy, and defense reform and modernization.
1998the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria was awarded the annual Manfred Wörner Fellowship by NATOto develop a strategic study entitled "NATO’s Global Mission in the 21st Century".
The Club has contributed greatly to initiating and carrying out the public debate, opinion making and policy advocacy in times of crises, starting with ensuring of Bulgarian support for the Allied liberation of
Kuwaitin 1991, through the wars and post-war reconstruction in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistanand Iraq.
The Atlantic Club was the first Atlantic NGO outside NATO — founded on
Warsaw Pactterritory actually — and the first non-NATO member (since 1992) of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), and has assisted in the establishment of Atlantic associations in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, most recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Asian, Africanand South Americancountries. In particular, the Club holds an annual Bulgarian-Afghanistan NATO Week, and a Bulgarian-Iraqi NATO Week, organized jointly with the Afghanistan Council for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation and the Atlantic Club of Iraq respectively.
The Atlantic Club is active in other fields like sustainable development, aerospace and Antarctic research, as well as market economy studies, respectively as a co-founder of the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute and the Economic Policy Institute,
The Club raised the funds, and jointly with the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute organized the resumption of Bulgaria’s Antarctic activities in
1993, the upgrading of the Bulgarian refuge on Livingston Island and its redesignation as St. Kliment Ohridski Base, as well as the construction of a new main building of the base started during the 1995/96 season.
An important part of the Club’s network is its International Board of Directors comprising prominent individuals from
Bulgaria, Europeand North Americaworking for Atlanticism or humanism in general. The organization has regional chapters in Burgas, Dospatand Sarnitsa, Gabrovo, Haskovo, Plovdiv, Ruse, Varnaand Yambol, and is associated with the NATO Information Center in Sofia, the Bulgarian Euro-Atlantic Youth Club, and the Manfred Wörner Foundation.
The Founding President (
1991- 2001) and Honorary President of the Club (since 2001) is Dr. Solomon Passy. The present Chairman and CEO of the Atlantic Club is Dr. Lyubomir Ivanov.
The Atlantic Club bestows its "Golden Award" for outstanding personal contribution to promoting Atlantic values, solidarity and cooperation.
The Club has sponsored the naming of Manfred Wörner Street, Atlantic Square, Atlantic Alliance Plaza, Atlantic Hall, NATO Park-Plaza, Atlantic Optical Plant, and Atlantic Solidarity Square by the relevant authorities of
Sofia, Haskovo, Sandanski, Plovdiv, Dospat, Panagyurishteand Varnarespectively.
In recognition of the organization’s contribution to fostering Atlantic values, the
President of Bulgariahas named a geographical feature in Antarcticafor the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, namely the Atlantic Club Ridgeon Livingston Island.
* S. Popov et al, [http://www.nato.int/acad/fellow/98-00/bulgaria.pdf "NATO's Global Mission in the 21st Century",] Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, Sofia, 2000
* J. Bugajski and B. Tashev eds., "Early warning and policy perspectives in the Trans-Atlantic security agenda: Central and East European point of view", NI Plus Publishing House, Sofia, 2005, ISBN 954-90437-7-0
* L. Ivanov and P. Pantev eds., "The Joint Bulgarian-American Military Facilities: Public opinion and strategic, political, economic, and environmental aspects", NI Plus Publishing House, Sofia, 2006 (in Bulgarian)
* L. Ivanov ed., [http://bezmer.info/welcome.php?ln=3 "Bulgaria: Bezmer and adjacent regions — Guide for American military"] , Multiprint Ltd., Sofia, 2007, ISBN 978-954-90437-8-5
Atlantic Treaty Association
Manfred Wörner Foundation
* [http://www.natoinfo.bg/en/default.htm Atlantic Club of Bulgaria]
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