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Caricature exhibition dedicated to peace and justice was opened at the Faculty of History of Sofia University

A caricature exhibition dedicated to peace and justice was opened at the Faculty of History of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. The exhibition is part of a project on the same topic run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and presents selected caricatures by the Bulgarian artist Iliyan Savkov, based on ideas generated by Sofia University students.

The Peace and Justice Project has been initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the 70ieth anniversary of the foundation of the International Court at the Hague. Its goal was to set the beginning of a global debate concerning both the perspectives of peace and the importance of international justice in the solution of conflicts, and all that was to be illustrated by caricatures.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by the Rector of Sofia University, Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, Dr. Habil., the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to this country, H. E. Tom van Oorschot, the Ambassador of Israel, H. E. Irit Lillian, the Dean of the Faculty of History, Associate Professor Todor Popnedelev, the caricaturist Iliyan Savkov, faculty and students.

The Dean of the Faculty of History, Associate Professor Todor Popnedelev, congratulated the audience and expressed his happiness of the realization of the initiative whose topic is central to the way of thinking of many people. He also mentioned the fact that the exhibition was organized on the initiative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to this country and, to a high degree, reflected the ideas of the contemporary world.

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The Rector of Sofia University, Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, Dr. Habil., said he was truly touched to open such an interesting and unusual exhibition. He thanked the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the fact that the initiative for the exhibition had come after his lecture delivered at the Faculty of History of Sofia University earlier last year. Professor Gerdzhikov thanked the students who had helped with their ideas and generated the central topics of our time, and may also have come up with their own solutions to the problems. The Rector also thanked the artist without whose creativity we would not have recreated visually what we think, what we worry about, and also the hopes we cherish.

“I hope that one of the ways for ever more students to get familiar with what moves us is to present visually something that is both a piece of art and also serves as an inspiration to the mind to think ever more actively,” Professor Gerdzhikov pointed out.

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The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands H. E. Tom van Oorschot welcomed the audience and introduced it briefly to the history of the exhibition. On the occasion of the 70ieth anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations Organization in 2015 and the coming 70ieth anniversary of the foundation of the International Court at the Hague in 2016 the Dutch embassies worldwide devote special attention to the topic “My peace – your peace”. The UN Project starts with a highlighting of the idea that the consequences of World War II should never be repeated. His Excellency pointed out that, unfortunately, that was an illusion and we were confronted with new crises on a daily basis. That was why it was particularly important that people worldwide communicate and discuss the various problems and conflicts occurring nowadays. The Project was established as a means of discussing pertinent problems. Within the framework of the Project, on 25th May, 2015, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to this country delivered a lecture at Sofia University on the topic of “My Peace, Your Peace and the Role of Women”. The famous Bulgarian caricaturist Iliyan Savkov took part in the lecture and talked to some of the students about the relevance of caricatures and how critical ideas could be transformed into visually impressive illustrations. After the lecture the students were invited to submit their ideas to Iliyan Savkov and, using them, the latter created a series of caricatures. The caricatures, created in Bulgaria, were added to the big collection of caricatures, created as a result of similar events worldwide, which is part of an exhibition put on at the Hague, Tom van Oorstchot added.

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The exhibition put on at the Faculty of History of Sofia University shows all the caricatures, creations of Iliyan Slavkov, as well as a selection of caricatures from the Municipal Council of the Hague, and in 2016 it will visit the Palace of Peace at the Hague.

His Excellency Tom van Oorschot said how glad he was that the exhibition was put on at Sofia University and expressed his hope that the caricatures would give food to the mind and stimulate the visitors to think over the topics.

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The author Iliyan Savkov mentioned the challenge he faced when he was invited to participate in that project, the latter giving him the opportunity to meet people with different ways of thinking. He recalled how he did his best to be as close as possible to the ideas and understanding of each one of the authors he was working with. Iliyan Savkov thanked for the opportunity to have worked for a just cause worthy of support in the future, too.

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