REMEMBRANCE EVENTS


Nelson Mandela and US diplomat James Pardew commemorated in Sofia

nelson mandela sofia monument

James Pardew (1944-2021), the US diplomat, has gone down in history as one of the participants in the peace negotiations in Bosnia, which led to the Dayton peace agreement, in the Kosovo peace process following the NATO engagement there, and in the Ohrid framework agreement in North Macedonia. 

In Bulgaria, James Pardew, who was ambassador in Sofia in 2002-2005, is remembered as an outspoken champion of democracy and human rights, and a leading philanthropist. During his tenure Bulgaria became a full member of NATO and completed the accession negotiations to the EU. Pardew then oversaw the scrapping of military equipment left over from Warsaw Pact times. 

James Pardue Street in Sofia, Bulgaria

© Yulian Hristov

While in Bulgaria, James Pardew made many friends. Some of them – including the New Symphony Orchestra, the Junior Achievement program, the America for Bulgaria Foundation and Friends of the Doctor's Garden association, remembered him in October by having a new street in Sofia (in the Sofia Tech Park area) named after him. Amongst those in attendance were America Ambassador Herro Mustafa, the CEO of the America for Bulgaria Foundation Nancy Schiller, the chairman of the Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce Boni Bonev and many others. 

A remembrance event for a global, rather than regional, icon was held in early November in Sofia. Nelson Mandela (2018-2013) hardly needs any introduction to anyone who's been alive on this planet for the past 60-70 years. To mark his input to democracy worldwide, a statue of the late South African freedom fighter and president was unveiled at the Polygraphy office compound. South African Ambassador Thabo Thage was joined by Deputy Foreign Minister Velislava Petrova, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and the executive manager of Lion's Head Hristo Iliev. Many others attended the ceremony, which also marked the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and South Africa, where Sofia is still remembered as a supporter of the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 

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