23 August 2014 Championships
Dear Friends in Folk Art:
I planned to be in Bulgaria to deliver my remarks to you in person. Unfortunately,
an old dance injury to a foot required surgery just a few days before I was to depart.
I am honored to be given a chance to speak to you long-distance from my home in Seattle, Washington. Seattle is famous for many things. We are the headquarters for Microsoft and Boeing, and the home of Bill Gates. Seattle is also the home of two outstanding Bulgarian dance ensembles, one of which trained Mark Morris, the modern dance choreographer and director. For those of us who love folk dancing, nothing is more exciting than to see a performance by a Bulgarian folk dance ensemble. Bulgarian dance groups are always among the very best of the groups we see at international folk festivals. This excellence is, without a doubt, the result of dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students. There is also another explanation that can’t be ignored. Bulgarian groups compete for the opportunity to go abroad and represent Bulgaria at folkloric festivals. Much credit goes to the European Association of Folklore Festivals (EAFF) for the competitions it organizes for groups at all levels. Competition festivals motivate and inspire individual performers and groups to achieve the highest standards of excellence. For thirty-five years, the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV), in consultative relations with UNESCO and the United Nations Economic and Social Council, has promoted the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, especially that of folk dance and folk music. The mission has not changed since the year IOV was founded, because the threats to our traditional heritage have not changed. Indeed, they continue to multiply. There are several fine organizations working in this realm, each making contributions. In order to avoid duplication of efforts, which wastes resources, we believe that organizations must find ways to work together whenever possible, toward common goals. Cooperation among NGOs is a priority of IOV, and is encouraged by UNESCO - IOV and EAFF are setting the standard for cooperation. We share information, strategies and opportunities in an effort to accomplish more of our goals, while using less resources. We are committed to working together to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of humankind. We view our different approaches to solving problems as assets that can increase the likelihood that we will find solutions that work.
As the official representative of IOV, I am pleased to affirm the friendship of IOV and EAFF. In recognition of this friendship, I would like to present to Mr. Kaloyan Nikolov, President of EAFF, a special award from IOV
May the future bring our two organizations many opportunities to work together to promote good will, peace and friendship through folk art and folk culture.
With Warmest Regards,
George M. Frandsen