(17 Nov) Regular Meeting and a Presentation by Mr. Joe Hirsch (+GAL)

Presentation by Mr. Joe HirschThe regular meeting of Rotary Club Sofia International on 17 November 2021 in Hilton Sofia was dedicated to a presentation by Mr. Joe Hirsch.

Mr. Hirsch is a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. He graduated university with BS in Math. His career of 28 years was in the field of oil exploration software development. He was a project manager providing training for computer centers in Sofia, Bulgaria (1975 to 1976), in Irkutsk Siberia (1979), in Budapest Hungary (1981). He retired as Manager of Software Development Worldwide for Geosource Corporation at the age of 53. He then attended the University of Houston for a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and graduated in 1998 to begin a 15 year career as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Retired from this career in 2013, at the age of 72, to begin volunteer work with Boys to Men Texas. His current position is Coordinator of Boys to Men Texas School Mentor program. 

Joe married at 42 in 1983 and celebrated 38th wedding anniversary this year. He is a member of the leadership committee of the Houston Institute of Noetic Sciences since the late 1970s to present. He became a certified Tai Chi Teacher in 1994 and taught Tai Chi at San Jacinto College adult education program from 1995 to 1997. Joe practices Tai Chi with former students on Saturday morning to the present. 

The lecture he gave was mainly about the book “The Great Work of Your Life” and the wisdom and spiritual messages it brings about to the readers. 

After the presentation the president of the club, Mrs. Malchevska thanked the guests and club members who joined this meeting and remind them about the upcoming meetings, every Wednesday at 18.45 in Hilton Sofia and online for those who cannot attend physically.

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(11-14 Nov) Rotary Club Paris Agora Visits Bulgaria (+GAL)

Rotary Club Paris AgoraOur Rotarian friends from Rotary Club Paris Agora visited Sofia for memorable four days filled with fellowship, sightseeing and a visit to the School for children with impaired vision “Louis Braille“.

Rotary Club Sofia International held its regular meeting, exceptionally to accommodate our dear guests, on Thursday 11 November 2021 at the Hilton Sofia. A number of our friends from Rotary Club Paris Agora managed, despite some travel interruptions, to join us for the meeting. After introductions, all present enjoyed an interesting presentation by our member Mr. Plamen Latev with a topic “Internet of Bodies”.

The next day, Friday 12 November2021, we went to the School for children with impaired vision “Louis Braille” to see the outcome of the joint project between Rotary Club Paris Agora, Rotary Club Sofia Tangra and Rotary Club Sofia International. The director of the school took the time to show us the facility which is designed to promote the integration of the visually impaired into society. Their dedication and passion was evident for all to see and our joint donation to rebuild the entrance for the Daily Vocational Training Centre was highly appreciated.

Friday night dinner was held at a well known restaurant specializing in local cuisine.

On Saturday our guests, together with Ms. Ani Hristova, Past President of Rotary Club Sofia International embarked on a walking tour of Sofia Centre and were regaled with interesting historical facts and anecdotes by their guide, an engaging Mr. Georgi from Sofia Free Tour.

As fate would have it we took our guests to an inevitable and memorable Rakia adventure at Raketa Rakia Bar.

A lovely dinner at Simple Restaurant rounded off the day.

Our guests were such a wonderful group of people. We hope to return the visit and be their guests in March 2022.

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(8 Nov) Successful Completion of MED-Bul 2021 Project (+GAL)

MED-Bul 2021On 8 November 2021 the MED-Bul 2021 Project, a joint initiative of Rotary Club Sofia International, Rotary Club Bansko-Razlog and Rotary Club Rüsselsheim from Gross-Gerau, Germany was successfully completed. Rotary Club Rüsselsheim in cooperation with Rotary Bansko-Razlog and the Rotary Club Sofia International organized the donation of nearly new medical equipment (39 medical beds, anesthetic & endoscopy appliances) as well as medical supplies and furniture (25 mattresses, 130 blankets, medical trolleys, lockers and others) from the German hospital Unfallklinik Murnau, Professor-Kuntscher-Strasse 8, 82418 Murnau am Staffelsee. Beneficiaries were SBAL Children’s Hospital “Prof. Ivan Mitev” in Sofia, as well as hospitals in Razgrad and Gotse Delchev. The donation value of the items is for more than 50 000 EUR.

The donation was so much needed and well accepted by the hospitals and on 8 November a hand-over ceremony took place in Sofia at SBAL Children’s Hospital “Prof. Ivan Mitev” where the Director of the hospital Mr. Blagomir Zdravkov handed a plaque to Mrs. Hristina Malchevska, President of Rotary Club Sofia International as a sign of appreciation for the provision of the transport of the donation.

The MED-Bul 2021 Project was possible thanks to all sponsors and participants in it. These are members of Rotary Club Sofia International and twinning club’s members with their personal donations, a donation by Rotary Club Forney-Voltaire, members’ company donations and a donation by Rotary Club Bansko-Razlog. The main organizer of the transport was Mr. Rumen Russinov, President Elect of Rotary Club Sofia International and Josped sedition company supported the project providing the transport services.

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(3 Nov) Rotary Club Sofia International Celebrates Oktoberfest (+GAL)

OktoberfestThis year Rotary Club Sofia International celebrated again as a tradition Oktoberfest. The event took place on 3 November 2021 at Die Alte Lampe – German beer garden “Lanterns” in Lozenets district in Sofia hosted many members and guests. Our President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska with the help of Mrs. Ani Hristova did a fantastic job by organizing the event and we were happy to gather fellow members and guests.

The festival originated in Germany on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival concluded five days later with a horse race held in an open area that came to be called Theresienwiese (“Therese’s green”). The following year the race was combined with a state agricultural fair, and in 1818 booths serving food and drink were introduced. By the late 20th century, the booths had developed into large beer halls made of plywood, with interior balconies and bandstands.

Despite the fact, we were not in Germany, it became a tradition of our club to celebrate Oktoberfest in different and pleasant places featuring nice German beer. We all had a fantastic dinner together enjoying delicious traditional bratwurst, potatoes, and cabbage. Our club member Mrs. Linda Kim prepared a homemade “Stollen” to sweeten the end of the evening.

It was great to meet each other in person, get to know new friends and spend quality time together.

At the end we took amazing photos to memorize our 2021 Oktoberfest celebration.

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(27 Oct) Presentation by Mr. Ivo Ivanov, Мember of Lawrence Rotary Club (+GAL)

Presentation by Mr. Ivo IvanovPresentation by Mr. Ivo Ivanov, sports journalist, writer and a member of Lawrence Rotary Club at the regular meeting which of Rotary Club Sofia International held in Hilton Sofia on 27 October 2021. The meeting was again a hybrid one – in person and online.

The official meeting started with the President, Mrs. Hristina Malchevska, announcing the new Rotary initiative – Charity Gala Concert of Rotary Club Sofia International – which was scheduled to take place on 29 November 2021 but due to the unfavorable developments in Bulgaria due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, is postponed for later.

Later, the President reminded all present that 24 October is the World Polio Day, which was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Mr. Jonas Salk who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Rotary’s goal of ridding the world of polio is within reach. So far in 2021 only two cases of wild polio have been reported – the lowest circulation of the disease ever – with one infection each in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries where polio remains endemic.

The highlight of the evening was Mr. Ivo Ivanov’s presentation about himself, his initiatives, his Rotary club – Lawrence Rotary Club and the projects of the club, as well as his broad interests. Hereby a short summary about Ivo by himself: Between 9 and 5 I am a passing myself as a marketing director of a big social agency. But I am also the graphic designer and the webmaster of the agency. I manage 5-6 pages of the company and at least that many in the social networks. I have set up a small film studio, where for many years I have been making short educational, corporate and advertising films. I direct, shoot, edit, draw computer graphics, edit the sound, etc. I have been doing this since before digital editing and video compression appeared. Besides all those things, I also am the coach of two teams – soccer and basketball. Each Saturday I host a sports show on a local radio station”.

Mr. Ivo Ivanov can easily be declared one of the most talented contemporary Bulgarian authors. He has the rare talent to tell extraordinary stories – sad, funny, philosophical and touching – and to make his readers laugh, cry, feel, think and adore him. It is hard to label his style. The genre is difficult to describe – it is a strange blend of journalism, biography, fiction, philosophy and magic realism.

Ivo was born in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia but has been living in the US for about the past 30 years. He has written two books – “Beyond The Game” and “The Curve Of Happiness”. They are collections of short live stories. He shared with us, that he is preparing the third book. You can read some of his short stories in Bulgarian language here.

After the presentation by Mr. Ivo Ivanov, Mrs. Malchevska thanked him for his interesting expose and invited him to visit our club in person next time he is in Bulgaria. Mrs. Malchevska extended the gratitude also to Ms. Ani Hristova, Past President of our club, for inviting Mr. Ivo Ivanov to recount about himself and his work during our meeting.

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(20 Oct) Changing the Status Quo Presentation at a Regular Meeting (+GAL)

Changing the Status QuoChanging the Status Quо presentation at a regular meeting, which was held in Hilton Sofia on 20 October 2021. As it has already become a norm, the meeting was a hybrid one – in person and online. The official part, as usual was opened by the President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska.

After the introduction of the guests, the President inducted two new members of Mr. Nikola Bilandzhija and Mr. Plamen Latev. Mrs. Malchevska shared with them the Rotary values and the Four Way Test. She also explained to them what a privilege it is to become a Rotary member. She then welcomed them in Rotary officially by presenting them with the Rotary pin.

A brief update of the ongoing projects of the club followed. Mrs. Malchevska was happy to announce that the MED-Bul Project 2021 is nearing its successful realization thanks to all the sponsors who with their contributions covered the cost of the transportation. and the logistics company will pickup the equipment worth 46,000 EUR from Germany on 4 November 2021.

The meeting continued with Changing the Status Quо presentation by Mr. Abhilash Ali.

Simply put, the status quo is the tendency for people to resist change. It is based on the psychological principle that people like what is familiar and “safe” instead of what is new and “dangerous.” The reality in business and life, however, is that doing nothing can often be more disastrous than trying something new. Competitors’ products and tactics change. Customers’ wants and needs change. Government policies change. Companies and people who stay the same will inevitably fall behind.

Mr. Ali Abhilash explained that creating an environment to challenge the status quo is the way to ensure to succeed. Real change starts with yourself. You must give yourself permission to question the status quo and invite the others to join you.

After the presentation the President gave Mr. Abhilash Ali a Rotary Club Sofia International branded mug as a token of our appreciation and an object to remind him the visit to our the club. After the official part all the physically present at the meeting people took a photo together.

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(13 Oct) Regular Meeting and Presentation of the Salvation Army (+GAL)

Regular Meeting and PresentationRegular meeting and a presentation of the Salvation Army activities in Bulgaria was held on 12 October 2021. The third Rotarian meeting for the year 2021/2022 was again a hybrid one. It was conducted online via the Jitsi platform and physically in our home base Hilton Sofia. The meeting was opened by the President Mrs Hristina Malchevska. 11 people were present physically and 3 persons joined online. After the official opening, the President introduced the guests and the announced the apologies of the members who could not attend the meeting.

This evening we welcomed two new guests from The Salvation Army – Mr. David Darchiashvili from Georgia and Ms. Kathleen Johansson from Australia.

The Salvation Army is a Christian Church and an international charitable organization. It reports a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents collectively known as Salvationists. Its founders sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute, and hungry by meeting both their “physical and spiritual needs”. It is present in 132 countries, running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless and disaster relief, and humanitarian aid to the developing countries.

Kathleen and David presented to us themselves and their efforts to develop The Salvation Army in Bulgaria. The work of the organization in the country has started recently. Kathleen is the lead of the project for our country. David is responsible regionally for the organization and is overseeing Kathleen for the operations in Bulgaria. In many countries The Salvation army and Rotary are partnering for humanitarian projects and our guests expressed their wish to establish contact with our organization for possible future collaboration.

Then the President announced the meetings’ plan with guest speakers and the topics till the end of the year. She also delivered updates on all the projects the club is running or preparing. Before closing the official part of the meeting, Hristina conveyed appreciation to all members that actively support our projects and participate in club life initiatives. Together we are serving and doing good for our community.

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(11 Oct) Donation of French DVDs & CDs to French Language School in Sofia (+GAL)

Donation of French DVDs & CDsDonation of French DVDs & CDs to the French Language School “Alphonse de Lamartine” No 9 in Sofia took place on 11 October 2021. Rotary Club Sofia International provided 168 French discs with music and movies for the school for educational purposes. The donation was arranged by Mr. Claude Badan, Board Member of Rotary Club Sofia International.

The donation of French DVDs & CDs was in the presence of the Director of the school Mrs. Bogdanova, Mr. Claude Badan, the President of Rotary Club Sofia International Mrs. Malchevska, Mr. Mark Bouzy, Past President of Rotary Club Sofia International and Mrs. Linda Kim, member of the club.

The Director of the school acquainted us with the school and the ongoing plans for improving the facilities and educational process and expressed appreciation for the kind donation. We hope that we can continue our collaboration in the future.

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(6 Oct) Project Updates and Presentation by Mrs. Elitza Stoilova (+GAL)

Project Updates & PresentationProject updates and presentation by Mrs. Elitza Stoilova, President of Rotary Club Sofia Center, were the main topics of the second regular Rotarian meeting for 2021/2022 on 6 October 2021. The meeting was again a hybrid one – face-to-face in our home base Hilton Sofia and online. We were happy and honored to welcome 11 people who were present physically on the meeting and two members and one guest who joined online. The meeting started with the opening words of our President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska. Then she introduced the guests and they presented themselves.

The President announced the guest speakers, presentations and activities for the upcoming 2 months. Before continuing to the project updates and presentation, Mrs. Malchevska announced a new member proposition, that of our friend and regular guest Mr. Plamen Latev.

Followed an update on the projects by our Rotaract club and our club’s projects:

RotaRun Project

25-30 October 2021. So far 10 registrations, the aim is to have 50. The President encouraged all members to register and participate. We supported the initiative with 100 BGN to sponsor the social media posts.

MED-Bul Project 2021

The equivalent of 46 000 EUR donation in equipment form Germany. The final cost of transportation is 3,180 EUR (830 EUR remaining to be collected). Past President Mr. Marc Bouzy has arranged our MED-Bul project to be included in the newsletter of the French Chamber of Commerce this week as a call for donation.

Upcoming MED-Bul Project 2021 V.2

We are currently looking for beneficiaries for the second donation form Germany. Rotary Club Zlatograd confirms the need for the local hospital and will cover the cost of transportation. Additionally  hospitals in Kazanluk, where Rotary Club Kazanluk can cover the transportation cost, and hospitals in Sandanski have needs. Expecting updates on the available equipment from our German partners.

Upcoming MED-Bul Project 2021 V.3

There is a possibility to realize a donation of medical equipment from Austria. Currently investigating what equipment can be donated and who could be the potential beneficiary.

Donation of French CDs and DVDs

200 Discs donation from our member Mr. Claude Badan. The donation took place on Monday, 11 October 2021 at 2.30 PM. The French Language School in Sofia is the beneficiary. The donation ceremony was attended by the President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska, Mr. Claude Badan, Mr. Marc Bouzy and Mrs. Linda Kim.

Visit of Rotary Club Paris Agora

Our friends form RC Paris Agora will visit Sofia between 12-14 October 2021. A total of eleven friends will visit our country and we have a prepared a program with 2 dinners and sightseeing tour.


After these announcements the President introduced our guest lector Mrs. Elitza Stoilova, President of Rotary Club Sofia Center. She presented the topic “Conversational AI for Rotary and Business”. The presentation was very interesting and shared innovative topics and solutions that have a implications in Rotary as well. 


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(29 Sept) Strategic Plan Presentation at a Regular Meeting (+GAL)

Strategic Plan PresentationStrategic Plan presentation at the first regular meeting for the Rotarian year 2021/2022 was delivered by the President of the club, Mrs. Hristina Malchevska on 29 September 2021. The meeting was in hybrid mode – face to face in our homebase Hilton Sofia and online. We were happy and honored to welcome 16 people to be present physically on the meeting and one member, our Past President Mr. Marc Bouzy who joined online.

The meeting started with opening words by our President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska. Then she introduced the guests and everyone presented themselves to the people present.

Later, the President announced the guest speakers, presentations and the topics for the upcoming 2 months. On 6 October we will host Mrs. Elitza Stoilova, President of Rotary Club Sofia Center and CEO of umni.bg who will be talking about Conversational AI for Rotary and Business. On 13 October the opera singer Emilja Minic will present herself. Interesting program with presenters is prepared till the end of the year with the help of our members Mrs. Ani Hristova, Mr. Grant Dale, Mrs. Elena Vassileva and the Past President of the club Mr. Marc Bouzy.

Following the invites and announcements, the President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska continued with the yearly Strategic plan presentation of Rotary Club Sofia International including the summer meetings and actions. She presented also the leadership team of the club for 2021/2022, the Rotary theme, mission, vision, values, conditions for our club to thrive and the strategic pillars. Last but not least, she announced a proposal for a new member of the club – Mr. Nikola Bilandzija from Germany. Based on the internal rules 7 days for objections follow and if there are none received in written we can welcome Nikola officially in our club.

At the end, our president thanked the guests and club members for joining the meeting and reminded them for the upcoming meetings taking place every Wednesday 18.45 in person in Hilton and online for those who cannot attend physically.

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We meet on Wednesday at 18:45 in
Hilton Sofia, 1 Bulgaria Blvd., Sofia.

more here

Upcoming Events

  1. (Dec 8) Regular Meeting & Presentation

    December 8 @ 18:45 - 20:00
  2. (Dec 15) Christmas Party of the Club

    December 15 @ 18:45 - 20:00
  3. (Dec 22) NO MEETING

    December 22
  4. (Dec 29) NO MEETING

    December 29
  5. (Jan 5) NO MEETING

    5 January, 2022

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