Elena Poptodorova, Bulgaria’s Ambassador to the United States, offered a heartfelt thanks for the opportunity to celebrate her nation’s music and culture during a visit Saturday to the New Jersey Folk Festival.
The folk festival, one of the many events at Rutgers Day, is in its 38th year and showcases the cultures of different countries. This is the first year that the ambassador of the country being featured attended the festival.
“I am very happy that my country’s traditional folk culture will be presented today to such a large audience,’’ Poptodorova said. “Thank you for recognizing Bulgaria. I know for sure that the performers from my country will prove to you that it was all worth while.’’
President Richard L. McCormick awarded Poptodorova a certificate of appreciation from the folk festival and the university. Poptodorova is serving her second tour as ambassador to the United States and has also served 11 years in the Bulgarian parliament.
The ambassador told the crowd that she had also been invited to an event in Chicago, but decided it was more important to attend the folk festival and bring attention to her nation’s culture.
Poptodorova shared some facts about Bulgaria before joining McCormick, the festival’s director Angus Kress Gillespie and others for lunch. Poptodorova said she comes from a country of only 7.5 million people in Southeastern Europe that is known for rescuing its entire Jewish population during World War II. Modern day Bulgaria is a member of the European Union and NATO and is a free market economy.
“I know that more people will know about my country if I were here,’’ Poptodorova said. “I do believe this is a very easy and appreciated way of knowing Bulgaria better.’’