An event entitled, "The Role of Bulgarian Communities in the US for the Preservation of the Bulgarian Language and National Self-Awareness," was held on April 30, 2011 at Oakton Community College, Chicago. Representatives from Bulgarian schools abroad met with the Bulgarian Minister of Education, Dr. Sergei Ignatov to discuss the criteria for receiving accreditation for Bulgarian schools outside the country and other related topics.
After the forum, Minister Ignatov and his delegation were invited to visit The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium as guests of the America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) Archaeological & Anthropological Program and the Anthropology Department of The Field Museum.
Mrs. Dilyana Ivanova, an administrative assistant of the ABF Archaeology Advancement Program, coordinated the tours. Dr. William Parkinson, assistant curator of Eurasian Anthropology and director of the ABF Archaeology Advancement Program, and Ms. Ivanova accompanied the Bulgarian delegation during the visit to The Field Museum. Highlights of the visit include a tour of the Anthropology Department's facilities and general collections storage areas. Since Minister Ignatov is an Egyptologist, he was also interested in seeing the Museum's Egyptian collection. The Eastern European collection was also of great interest to the delegation and was included in the visit.
The Bulgarian representatives also visited some of the educational facilities of the museum, such as Crown Family Play Lab. This was an opportunity to exchange ideas for effectively connecting the Bulgarian education system with museums, and making Bulgarian museums more interactive for younger visitors.
During the tour, Minister Ignatov also met with Dr. Ryan Williams, Chair of the Anthropology Department at The Field Museum. Among the topics of discussion between the delegation, and The Field Museum represenatives were: possible collaboration between American and Bulgarian Anthropological and Archaeological researchers, and the creation of venues for exchanging intellectual experiences through fellowships, conferences and seminars, workshops, collaborative fieldwork and research.