Rising Impactors—a joint initiative of AUBG and the Bulgarian business— will provide full-tuition scholarships to young and socially engaged Bulgarians. Representatives of AUBG, the business, and the media gathered together Feb. 7 at Peroto Literary Club in Sofia to celebrate the launching of the program.
“This initiative speaks to the very core of what AUBG is about as an institution,” said AUBG President Steven Sullivan. “AUBG has been a creator of change in Bulgaria since its beginning. We have so many entrepreneurs among our alumni, so many people taking their place in civil society. It is part of our DNA.”
The scholarship program, open to all twelfth-grade students in Bulgaria, will support future AUBGers who have brought positive change to the community they live in. A committee will choose the first Rising Impactors scholars following a thorough selection process that looks at the projects’ impact and sustainability.
“We are looking for high school students who have found the motivation to carry out a project that is significant to their community,” said AUBG Development Director Irena Macheva. “And our hope is that the people who have been socially engaged at such a young age would become even more active and committed as they gather knowledge, strength, and support. Our contribution would be to provide these students with first-class higher education.”
The person to first come up with the idea for the scholarship— a scholarship that has since been embraced by accomplished professionals coming from all paths of life—was Tom Higgins, member of the Board of Trustees at AUBG.
“The challenges that are facing the humanity are enormous,” Higgins said. “So the idea of creating this social entrepreneurship initiative is to put our best hope in the young people and to support them and to empower them with scholarships.”
Alexander Dourchev (EMBA ’10), AUBG Professor and CEO of All Channels Communication Group, is also among the pioneers in supporting the scholarship initiative.
“This scholarship is extremely important, both globally and locally,” Dourchev said. “We greatly need young people who understand how important it is to make a positive change in society. And the more we support these young people – with scholarships, mentorship, ideas, and publicity—the better for us and the country.”
The very first person to contribute to the Rising Impactors program is Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria (2012-2017) and AUBG Special Envoy. An ardent supporter of social initiatives, he has donated 10,000 BGN to the scholarship and has made a commitment to donate 10,000 BGN more next year.
“Each one of us could reach out and support the young people of Bulgaria,” Plevneliev said. “And the young people will return the favor by creating the Bulgaria that we would all want to live in: a Bulgaria that is democratic, successful, humane, and open to the world.”