Strength vs. Wisdom: A Conversation on the Leadership of the Future with Former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev
Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
President Rosen Plevneliev is the fourth democratically elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria, elected in November 2011 and holding office from January 2012 through to January 2017. During this time, he represented Bulgaria at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and was signatory to the historic UN Resolution 70/1, entitled ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, which was agreed upon by 193 Member States of the UN and includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The then UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, described this global strategy as “…a roadmap to ending global poverty, building a life of dignity for all and leaving no one behind.”
In President Plevnelieve’s statement at the (UN) General Assembly ‘High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’ in New York, April 2016, he said “We need to think smart, act sustainably and change our approach if we want to achieve the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda and leave future generations a healthy and prosperous planet”. His presidency of Bulgaria was marked by his long-term strategic vision calling for a truly transformative agenda focused on education, high technology and innovation and a green and energy efficient economy that protects the environment. He set national priorities for innovation in, e-government, e-voting, modernization, connectivity, vocational education system, long-term public planning, energy efficiency, liberalization, and diversification. He established, and is patron of, Bulgaria’s first innovation ecosystem and hi-tech park, Sofia Tech Park – the first such in the Balkans region.
In 2015-2016 President Plevneliev led successfully the Bulgarian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. He delivered a seminal keynote address at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe setting out the priorities of the Bulgarian chairmanship, namely, connectivity, rights of the child and finding a common European solution for the migration crises. As the first Bulgarian head of state to represent Bulgaria for five years in a row at the UN General Assembly, President Plevneliev signed for Bulgaria two global treaties of historic significance – the Global Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. He also represented Bulgaria at three NATO summits when the ‘Readiness Action Plan’ was adopted and protection mechanisms against threats of all kinds were endorsed.
President Plevneliev is a great supporter of the international rule of law, human rights and freedoms. He is a Distinguished Professor of the Emerging Markets Institute, Beijing Normal University and of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University. He also serves as a member of the Board of Nizami Ganjavi International Center in Baku, The Trilateral Commission (European Group), and the International Advisory Board of GLOBSEC and is Honorary Chairman of the Emerging Europe Alliance.
President Plevneliev has been recognized globally for his contribution as a leading European and liberal democrat, receiving the highest national award of some 20 countries. He was named ‘Person of the Year 2015’ by Ukraine for his public and political activity in a European and international context. He also received the Friend of Zion Award (2017) for his work as a great friend of Israel, highlighting the courage of the Bulgarian people who saved 48,000 Bulgarian Jews during World War II. Additionally, he was awarded Slovenia’s highest state honor, the Order for Exceptional Merits, for his contribution to the peaceful, democratic and European development of the countries in the region and as a recognition of his efforts in strengthening the cooperation between Bulgaria and Slovenia.