The high distinction was presented to her personally by the President of the Association, Kaloyan Nikolov. On the occasion of her awarding, Ms. Bokova expressed her great gratitude for the recognition and said: "I accept this award as responsibility, as respect and honor for UNESCO (the organization that I lead), very deeply connected with the preservation of cultural heritage, with promoting international cooperation. The European Association is a very good expression of such cooperation, of mutual exploring of others tradition - to sing together, to dance, to recount what our ancestors have left. From this point of view UNESCO is very closely related to the activities of the European Association". Irina Bokova visited Veliko Tarnovo invited by EAFF for the inauguration of a monument to the founder of the Association, Iliyan Nikolov.