Saturday, March 10, 2012

Celebrating Bulgarian Women

For International Women's Day I created a lesson plan centered around short biographies of some of the most influential women around the world. I tried to keep the list as varied in background as possible, while still choosing public figures who would be interesting for my 8th graders to read about: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Angela Merkel, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, etc. After we discussed who the most interesting or influential women on the list were, I asked my students to think of other names we could add. Most of them chose Bulgarian women, which was interesting for me because I learned something from my students, and I decided to share them here. These are just five of the most influential Bulgarian women (according to a random sample of Bulgarian teenagers):

1) Valya Balkanska- a folk singer from the Rhodope mountains best known for her recording of "Izlel ye Delyo Haydutin" (Delyo the rebel has gone outside) in 1977 that was sent into outer space in a time capsule.

2) Dilma Rousseff- the current president of Brazil and the first female president in Brazil's history. Her father was a Bulgarian immigrant from Gabrovo. 

3) Ivet Lalova- an international award-winning sprinter, holds one of the fastest records for the 100 meter race and is more widely known as the fastest woman in Europe.

4) Lili Ivanova- the "first lady of pop" in Bulgaria. Friends of mine have compared her to Cher.

5) Ralitsa Vassileva- a CNN International television news anchorwoman who has covered many global events and interviewed famous world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ariel Sharon.

Happy (belated) International Women's Day to all Bulgarian women, and all women around the world!

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