Thank you, Open Sofia Team!

2020 was a special year for everyone, for us - even more so

Written and photo by Open Sofia Team.


2020 was a crazy year, full of unexpected new realities: coronavirus, travel restrictions, quarantine, canceled flights. Because of all these variables and uncertainty, it became clear that sticking together and helping each other was one of the most important things we, humans, value. In our case, the Open Sofia Team was there to help the international community of Sofia and Bulgaria.

In March 2020 we launched this very website, www.opensofia.org.

Our mission is to become an important and helpful presence for the international society in Bulgaria, both on- and off-line. Today, more than 35 passionate contributors work to create content for foreigners to make their lives easier and more enjoyable. The team's mission is to grow as an informational space and a multicultural network, full of resources for the international community in Sofia and in Bulgaria.

We’d like to thank every team member personally. Some of them are no longer part of this project or have occasionally helped, yet your contribution is invaluable.

Thanks, Giuseppe Di Benedetto, our Founder, for your optimism and leadership. Your thorough work years before this website was out made it all possible. We are happy to have you as our father.

Thanks to Anastasiia Dehtiarova, our Content Director, for the dedication to the team, effective planning and leadership in content, marketing, events and partnership directions of the project. 

Thank you, Manuel Gajo, our Tech Lead, for building the website from zero from the very beginning and taking care of the smooth work and great experience surfing it. Some of the best work is done behind the curtains.

Thanks to our Lead Project Manager Agita Jaunzeme. With your thorough and creative approach to managing the entire project, we’ve gotten where we are now. You’ve been a lighthouse for many of us and we can’t wait to move further in 2021 together.

Thank you, Lindsay Martin, our Lead Editor, for your dedication and superb editing skills. With your knowledge, we managed to ensure the highest quality and perfect readability of our articles. It’s a great honor to collaborate with such a great professional.

Thanks to Bozhidar Ivanov, our Writer and Marketer. You helped us cover some of the most interesting cultural aspects of Bulgaria. And you made sure to deliver Open Sofia’s message on our LinkedIn and in the newsletter. We can’t wait to see how we can grow together next year.

Thanks to Amélie Leclercq, our Legal Adviser, someone who’s also worked behind the curtains to make sure that we take proper care of the privacy and rights of our readers. We are thrilled to be working with you and Sofia Accueil in 2021.

Thank you, Lina Jarad, our Editor and Writer. With your help, we edited several dozens of articles and covered some great topics about life in Bulgaria. We are happy to collaborate with you and now also the BEST foundation.

A great thanks to Aleksandrs Enins, our Tech Team Lead. Your skills, knowledge and, most of all, generous personality make us happy to collaborate with you. We would love to see how much more goodness we can create together next year.

Many thanks to our superb Editors Olena Cytryna and Scott Green. You’re extremely thorough and skilled, helping our writers finalize their articles and learn to write better and clearer. It’s amazing to collaborate with you, and we’re looking forward to creating even more great stories together.

Special thanks to the power couple of Afif Hosseini, UX Adviser, and Hamid Reza Darabi, Security & DevOps Adviser. You helped us solve many technical issues and ensure the smooth sailing of www.opensofia.org. We couldn’t be more grateful for your support and friendship.

Thanks to our IT Adviser Atanas Yonkov and QA Adviser Bocho Bochev, the superheroes that helped us create better experiences for our website readers. We are thrilled to be learning the ropes together with you.

Thanks to Toni P. Lyubenova, one of the fastest writers who covered many COVID-related articles at the beginning of the pandemic. We can’t wait to see you work with us, now on a new project - a documentary about the international community. Speaking of which, thanks to Bonnie Theofilova for joining the team to make this ambitious project happen in 2021.

Thank you, Gabriella Permaul, our editor who’s transformed many of our drafts into great articles answering people’s most burning questions. We’re happy to have you on board.

Many many thanks to Deni Gugova, our Content Strategist, who helped us optimize our content workflow and taught us some great things about social media engagement and writing better texts. Not only you’re adding massive value to the team, but you’re also a kind, generous person, and we’re happy you’re with us.

Thanks to Ennie Yosifova, one of our Writers and, recently, our Facebook Marketer and a Sound Designer for our documentary. You have many talents and we appreciate your support and dedication to our mission.

Many thanks to Andrea Vushkova, our Writer with great knowledge of Bulgaria’s cultural history. You’ve shown our readers how to celebrate important holidays in this country and made each of us feel at home.

Thanks to our Photographers Sara Coll Lopez and Ilias Iatropoulos. Your beautiful photos supported our articles since nearly the very beginning of the project, which is invaluable. Your skills in visual storytelling helped us underline the importance of the information we provide for our readers.

Thanks to the Photographer and Videographer Pierre Chesneau, who helped us create beautiful imagery and videos for our project. We hope to collaborate with you even more in 2021 and can’t see what new adventures we will start together.

Big thanks to Ilina Stanimirova, our overseas Writer who’s helping us deliver our message through concise and informative articles. You’re a great contributor and a sweet person, we couldn’t be more grateful for your support.

Many thanks to our Writers Claudia Pecoraro and Marta Valverde. You’ve been very brave to take care of some of the most complicated topics about life in Bulgaria. You’re also very kind, cheerful and generous, and we’re extremely grateful for your contribution to our mission.

Thank you, Monika Stoyanova, our amazing Editorial Assistant. You’ve been such a helpful, joyful and thorough contributor, you’ve taken care of many behind-the-scenes tasks. We love your support and dedication.

Many thanks go to Mirela Harizanova, a devoted and thorough Writer who’s created many beautiful articles that introduce to us Sofia’s and Bulgaria’s beauty. Open Sofia’s team cannot wait to collaborate with you next year.

Huge thanks to Mieko Nakajima, our Marketing Adviser who helped us craft our message and mission at the beginning of the Open Sofia project. We appreciate your wisdom, support and generosity, and wish you all the best in the new year.

Thank you, Alexz Portarev, our Writer and Grants Adviser. Your passion and commitment to helping the internationals feel at home in Bulgaria is admirable, and we can’t wait to see what 2021 brings to us.

Thanks to a Writer Anna Kerezsi who’s shared her experience with the community and is a ray of sunshine in our team. Thanks to Dobrinka Boeva, our Writer taking care of cultural research and events. We know that when we can restart our offline events, you’ll be there to help us deliver the best experiences. Thank you for being with us.

We’re extremely grateful to Kris Filipiuk, our Project Manager who helped us optimize our work and aim for the stars. We’re also grateful for Neli Stoylova, our Marketing Adviser who helped us share our articles in Facebook's communities and optimize our marketing strategy. With your devotion and commitment, our project is even more beautiful.

Our gratitude also goes to Finn Bergmann, our tech intern. We can’t wait to see what we can create together in 2021.

Thanks to Ekaterina Totina, our Writer. We’ll make sure to have a productive new year with you together. Many thanks to our Writers Galina Misheva and Minka Paraskevova, and our Editor Tamar Weisert, who all helped us cover the necessary and urgent information during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Your help and support are invaluable.

Thanks to our Writer and Photographer Georgi Hristov; to Clabbe Bjurstrom, Writer and one of the most prolific community members; to Irina Temnikova, Writer and IT adviser; Xenia Cotlearova and Detelina Palova for helping us provide accurate and relevant information to the international community in Bulgaria.

We are happy to continue this beautiful project together in 2021! Happy New Year!

The Open Sofia team is multicultural, generous and passionate. You can join us, too, - send us your CV to [email protected]!