The Commission consists of ten members, five American citizens and five Bulgarian citizens. They represent the major areas of state and public activity: government, education, the arts, and business. The Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Bulgaria and the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria serve as honorary chairpersons of the Commission.

Members of The Fulbright Commission Board

Honorary Chairs

Nikolay Denkov, Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science

Prof. Nikolay Denkov was born on 3 September1962 in Stara Zagora. He completed his secondary education in 1980 in Acad. Lyubomir Chakalov National High School of Mathematics and Sciences and his higher education at Faculty of Chemistry of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in 1987.

Prof. Denkov specialised in many places in the country and abroad. In the period 1994-1995, he participated as researcher in Nagayama Protein Array Project, and from 1997 to 1998 he was senior researcher at Rhone-Poulenc Research Centre (CRIT) in Lyon, France. In 2000, Prof. Denkov was visiting researcher in Department of Physical Chemistry at Uppsala University, Sweden. Since 2003-2004 he has been lead researcher in Unilever R&D, Edgewater NJ, USA. In recent years, Prof. Denkov has been invited as a visiting professor in leading universities in France.

In 1993, prof. Denkov obtained doctoral degree in Physical Chemistry, and in 1998 he was awarded the title of Associate Professor of Theoretical Chemistry. In 2007, he was awarded the degree Doctor of Science in Physical Chemistry. In 2008, prof. Denkov acquired the degree Professor. In 2018, he became a corresponding member of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and in 2019 – a member of the European Academy of Sciences Academia Europaea.

Prof. Denkov performs various scientific activities. He has made over 165 scientific publications and is a co-author of 10 invited chapters in scientific monographs published abroad by publishers. He has also presented 80 lectures at international conferences (38 plenary sessions).

He actively participates in the working group involved in the preparation of Cooperation Agreement between Bulgaria and EU and Operational programme Science and Education for Smart Growth and is a member of the Specialised Scientific Council on Theoretical Chemistry (2008-2010) and Committee on Chemistry at Higher Attestation Commission. Moreover, prof. Denkov is a member of the scientific council of Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Sofia University and a member of the academic council of Sofia University. He is a member of editorial board of Colloid and Interface Science Communications (Elsevier) journal and of editorial board of Materials (MDPI) journal. Prof. Denkov owns 12 patents, including 6 international (WIPO, US, Europe) and 4 foreign ones. He is a member of the steering committees of 4 European COST networks: CA17120 “Chemobrionics”, MP1305 “Flowing Matter”; MP1106 “Smart and green interfaces” and P21 “Physics of Droplets”. Prof. Denkov manages over 45 international projects financed by foreign companies, including Unilever, BASF, Saint Gobain, PepsiCo, Wacker, Dow Corning, Rhodia, and Heineken. Moreover, he manages ROTA-Active project funded by Research Fund under Vihren programme for leading scientists (2020-2025) and is a co-organiser of 4 international scientific conferences (including 1 in France and 1 in the USA) and a member of the scientific committees at 8 international conferences.

Over the years, Prof. Denkov has occupied important management posts, such as interim Minister of Education (2017) and Deputy Minister (2014-2016), thus contributing to the development of education and science in Bulgaria. He is also actively involved in the management of Sofia University.

Prof. Denkov has been honoured with a number of awards – Lectureship award of Japanese Chemical Society (2020), Solvay annual award for scientific excellence of European Colloid and Interface Society (ECIS 2019), Grand Award of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski for scientific excellence (2016) and Pythagoras Grand Award of Ministry of Education and Science (2010). In 2019, prof. Denkov was elected as a member of European Academy of Sciences Academia Europaea. He is holder of Honorary Blue Ribbon Insignia of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (2013) and holds a certificate issued by Japan Research and Development Agency (1995).

Herro Mustafa, Ambassador of the United States to Bulgaria

Herro Mustafa, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria on September 26, 2019.  Previously, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, where she also served as Chargé d’Affaires for the first seven months of the Trump Administration.

A career member of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Mustafa worked in the Office of the Vice President from 2009-2011, providing counsel on issues related to the Middle East and South and Central Asia.  Earlier Washington assignments included Deputy Director of the Afghanistan Office; Advisor on the Middle East in the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; Director for Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, and Jordan at the National Security Council (NSC); and NSC Director for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her overseas diplomatic postings were as the Political Minister Counselor at Embassy New Delhi, India; the lead U.S. Civilian Coordinator in Mosul, Iraq; a Consular Officer in Beirut, Lebanon; and a Political Officer in Athens, Greece.  Prior to joining the State Department, Ambassador Mustafa was an International Elections Supervisor with the OSCE in Bosnia.  She is the recipient of notable awards from the State Department, including the Matilda W. Sinclaire Award for superior achievement in a foreign language.  She speaks Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Russian, Greek, among other languages, and is studying Bulgarian.

Ambassador Mustafa grew up in Minot, North Dakota and her family story is the subject of the documentary film American Herro.  She has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a Masters from Princeton University.  She is married and has two children.

Chair

Radostina Chaprazova, Country Director, Arete Youth Foundation

Radostina Chaprazova is the country director of Arete YouthFoundation-Bulgaria – a Foundation that works to create a Roma community of engaged citizens and positive role models who support each other to achieve educational, career, and personal success. She received her BA degree in political science and mass communications at the American University in Bulgaria in 2003. She is currently pursuing an MA in Public management and policies at the Faculty of Philosophy at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.

In 2005 Radostina Chaprazova was an intern at the European Commission, DG Employment and Social Affairs. Until 2010 she worked as an expert at the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism and then returned to the NGO sector as part of the Roma Program of the Open Society Institute – Sofia. For more than 15 years she has been an informal leader in the Roma community and holds various positions in the civil sector, as the focus of her work is to mobilize resources and facilitate capacity building among Roma youth, support policy and advocacy initiatives that promote integration and equal opportunities for the Roma.

Treasurer

Brent LaRosa, Cultural and Educational Affairs Officer, US Embassy in Bulgaria

Brent LaRosa is the Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. He is responsible for the U.S. Government’s cultural and education programming in Bulgaria. His previous diplomatic assignments include Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, and Washington,D.C.. Prior to his work in the Foreign Service, Mr. LaRosa was a school teacher, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College and a Master of Liberal Arts from McDaniel College.

US Members

Richard T. Ewing, Jr., President, American College of Sofia

Dick Ewing is a highly experienced school leader committed to educational excellence. Currently the President and Head of School of the American College of Sofia, Dick served for thirty years as the head of a leading independent school in the Washington, DC area. He has extensive experience on educational and non-profit boards as a trustee and board leader as well as head of school. He has been active in regional and national educational associations, serving as President of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW), as Executive Director of ESHA (a national association of heads of independent elementary and middle schools), as a trustee of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE), and a member of the Country Day School Heads Association (CDSHA). Dick is a graduate of Yale University and holds a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia and an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has presented at national and international school conferences and written articles and essays for regional and national educational publications on topics ranging from educational leadership and governance to diversity and inclusion.

Eric Halsey, Fulbright Alumnus and Managing Director, Halsey Company

Eric Halsey was a US Fulbright Student Researcher in history at Sofia University in 2013-13.  He holds a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and an MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University. Eric is the host of the Bulgarian History Podcast and the managing director of The Halsey Company, providing marketing expertise and assistance to businesses around the world. He also occasionally lectures on career development and Bulgarian history, acts in TV and commercials, and lends his voice acting to projects like the Sofia Metro.

Sarah Perrine, Executive Director, Trust for Social Achievement

Sarah Perrine, Chief Executive Officer

Master of Public Policy and Master of Arts,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and German Studies, Mount Holyoke College

 

Sarah is the founder and CEO of the Trust for Social Achievement (TSA), a Bulgarian grantmaking nongovernmental organization. TSA is dedicated to helping people reach their full potential and works to create opportunities for disadvantaged groups, with a focus on the Roma, many of whom live below the poverty line. Sarah sets the strategic direction of the Trust and provides executive leadership, including the recruitment and engagement of a board of directors. She delivers ongoing capacity-building and support for the development of staff, identifies best practices inside Bulgaria and abroad, and ensures that programs and activities are developed, executed and modified in ways that achieve maximum mission impact. Sarah first came to Bulgaria in 1999 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, when she had the opportunity to live with a Roma family, inspiring a lifelong engagement with the community. She received a Fulbright award in 2002 to conduct research in Bulgaria on emerging leadership trends in Roma communities. She has experience in the private, nonprofit, and public sector, including engagement as a Program Officer with the America for Bulgaria Foundation and work as a Foreign Affairs Officer and a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. State Department and USAID.

Jeffrey Weinshenker, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy in Bulgaria

Jeff Weinshenker is a career U.S. diplomat with 16 years’ experience spanning multiple continents and including a variety of key public diplomacy functions.  Jeff assumed the role of Counselor for Public Affairs at U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria, in August 2021.  Previously, he served as Press and Executive Communications Unit Chief for the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, where he received the 2020 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy for his leadership in shaping outreach to American citizens abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Jeff joined the Foreign Service in 2005, and has lived overseas in Japan, India, and Ecuador.  Other assignments include as Press and Social Media Training Coordinator at the Foreign Service Institute; Public Diplomacy Advisor for the Office of Central American Affairs; and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.   Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Jeff worked as a speechwriter and communications advisor at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and in the public relations sector in Boston, Massachusetts.  He holds a B.A. in political science from Harvard University, and speaks Bulgarian, Spanish, Japanese, and Hindi.  Jeff is married and is the proud father of two daughters and one son.

Bulgarian Members

Prof. Guenka Petrova-Tashkova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science

Guenka Petrova is professor at the Medical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. Guenka Petrova defended PhD and DSc degrees in the fields of pharmacoeconomics and pharmaceutical policy from the Medical University in Sofia. She has near 35 years of teaching and research experience in all economic fields of pharmaceuticals in many Central and Eastern European countries. Guest lecturer at the University of Nantes, University of Belgrade and other. Prof. Petrova specializes in health and pharmacoeconomics. She has published over 300 papers in the areas of social and economic aspects of medicines and diseases. Prof. Petrova was serving as a consultant to many international organizations and programs as World health organization, European Agency for Reconstruction etc.
Prof. Petrova is also a founder of a Center of Competence on health analyses at the University. She is also a leader and coordinator in scientific projects funded by Horison 2020; Erasmus+; COST; Bulgarian Fund for Scientific research etc.

Karina Angelieva, Adviser to the Minister of Education and Science

Karina Angelieva is a former Deputy Minister of Education and Science, appointed on September 1, 2018. Previously she has been a Counsellor and Head of Sector Education and Research at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU. She holds Master degrees in European Integration and in Contemporary History from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. The other positions she has held include Director-General of Structural Funds and International Educational Programs at the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science and Director of the Joint Innovation Centre at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (JIC – BAS). Karina has been working at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, involved in the roll out of national EURAXESS services as well as building projects’ management capacity. Ms. Angelieva is a founder of the Club of Young Scientists in Bulgaria and has been in charge of the coordination of the National Contact Points’ Network for the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation for ten years. Currently she is acting as an Adviser to the Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria.

Dr. Svetla Danova, Fulbright Alumna and Head of Laboratory at the Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Svetla Danova has graduated with honors in Molecular Biology and Biology and Chemistry from the Faculty of Biology, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. In 1997 she defended her doctoral dissertation. In 2015 she presented her Doctor of Science dissertation summarizing 20 years of research on beneficial bacteria – probiotics. Presently she is Head of Laboratory of Lactic Acid Bacteria & Probiotics at the Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Danova developed a career in the field of modern microbiological research of microorganisms with biotechnological and medical significance. She is a lecturer at international forums, leader and consultant of research projects and participant in  national and international projects on the problems of functional foods, food safety, microbes and health, probiotics and pathogen control. As a proven specialist in this field, she is the author of books, scientific publications in international and peer-reviewed journals. She is also a scientific supervisor of many successful PhD students in the field of microbiology.

Prof. Danova has specialized in France, Belgium and South Africa. In 2018, she was visiting Fulbright research scholar, with personal grant at the Institute of Healthcare Innovation – Midwestern University, Glendale, Arizona, USA with a project on New concept of probiotics – defining their parabiotic mechanisms.

Awards:

Award for High Scientific Achievements in the Field of Research of Lactic Acid Bacteria and Probiotics from the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria, 2009.

Award Pythagoras for Breakthrough in Science from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Sience, 2021.

Dr. Tzvetomir Todorov, Fulbright Alumnus and Managing Partner at Todorov and Partners

Tzvetomir Todorov joined the Fulbright Commission Board (Bulgaria) in December 2017. Dr. Todorov is a managing partner at Todorov & Partners Law Firm, a leading Bulgarian law firm having a team of attorneys licensed and admitted in both NY, the US, and Bulgaria. Prior to his current roles, Tzvetomir Todorov has served in many executive positions, including as managing director of the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund and chairman of the Fulbright Commission in Bulgaria as well as chairman of the Bulgarian Fulbright Alumni Association. Mr. Todorov received a LL.M. degree from NYU, a Master of Laws degree from Sofia University and a Doctor of Law degree from Sofia University, and he has multiple specializations from prestigious international institutions such as Georgetown University, Asser Institute, and the Hague Academy of International Law. Tzvetomir Todorov has long-term interests in the arts and European history and is a passionate traveler.