Bulgarians and Iranians express their admiration to Dr. Hajar Fiouzi

Bulgarians and Iranians express their admiration to Dr. Hajar Fiouzi

The event’s public (source: Iranian cultural centre, Khalil Sadulla)

An event in October 2022 showed the prevalent respect for one of the individuals who are  bridge of friendship between Bulgarians and Iranians

Vladimir Mitev

In Bulgarian-Iranian relations, and in international relations in general, there are people who play a very important role – that of a “bridge of friendship” between nations. This is a role perhaps more difficult and more important even than that of diplomats, because diplomats have their diplomatic status and move in a somewhat more protected environment. People who are bridges of friendship have no defenses and nowhere to run, they are permanently connected to both nations and feel with their own bodies every positive or negative emotion in their relationship. They are also people who often sacrifice their own emotionalism or righteousness and instead think about how to promote peace and trust in international relations. Accordingly, every turmoil in international and national relations resonate more strongly in their souls.

On October 20, 2022, Iranians in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Iranologists, friends of Iran in Sofia and representatives of the Iranian Embassy in our country gathered at the Zoo Hotel in Sofia to show their respect and appreciation for a Persian bridge of friendship – Mrs. Hajar Fiouzi. For years, her home in Sofia has been a kind of Mecca – all kinds of people who have relations to the ties between Bulgaria and Iran come there, and her modest apartment is a kind of “qeble-ye alam” (a hub of the (Bulgarian-Iranian) universe). Mrs. Fiouzi was a long-time lecturer in Persian language and other disciplines at Sofia University. Kliment Ohridski”. She is known for her numerous simultaneous translations of Iranian events in Sofia, for her translations of Bulgarian literature into Persian or Persian into Bulgarian, and for her teaching at the Iranian Cultural Center in Bulgaria. Readers of The Persian Bridge of Friendship blog have read this interview with her from the summer of 2022. They also know of her pain at the untimely loss of her extremely talented daughter, Sharare Peacock.

Ms. Fiouzi’s contribution to Bulgarian-Iranian relations was the focus of the event in Sofia. But it was also a celebration of Persian culture itself. Thanks to Nabiollah Masumi, another activist for Bulgarian-Iranian friendship, and several Bulgarians, poems by poets such as Hafez and Rumi were read, focusing on the mystical and life wisdom of the Iranians. The floor was taken by many of the guests, including His Excellency Mr. Seyed Mohammad Javad Rasouli – Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria and Iranian Cultural Attaché Javad Amini. On the Bulgarian side, many university professors participated – such as Prof. Dr. Ivo Panov – the doyen of Iranian Studies and professor of Iranian Literature, Prof. Dr. Alexandra Kumanova from the University of Library Science and Information Technology, Snezhana Todorova – President of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists and others. The hall was almost full – with several dozen Iranians, Bulgarian Iranologists and others.

The Persian Friendship of Bridge blog received some of the speeches at the event and published them here with minimal editorial intervention (e.g. the title of each speech was chosen by the blog). They testify to the need to have more trustworthy personalities on both sides between our nations. In times of war and confrontation in international relations, the need for these individuals is even greater.

His Excellency Ambassador Seyed Mohammad Javad Rassouli:

People like Dr. Fiouzi are among the reasons for good relations between Bulgaria and Iran

In the name of God

I respectfully greet each of the guests here

I am eternally grateful to God Almighty that on this memorable day and in the days of the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Bulgaria, we have gathered in a close circle of friendship to celebrate the many years of continuous efforts of one of Iran’s geniuses, living in Bulgaria, who has devoted his precious life to the promotion of Persian language and literature and the closeness of the cultures of the two great nations of Iran and Bulgaria, a person you all know very well, the Iranian lady of good taste, the Honorable Mrs. Dr. Hajar Fiouzi.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Dr. Hajar Fiouzi, one of the prominent Persian language professors at St. Kliment Ohridski”, has been instrumental in the establishment and development of the Department of Iranian Studies and the study of Persian language at this University. She was part of the team that prepared the Bulgarian-Persian dictionary with over 55,000 words, as well as the book of Persian words in the Bulgarian language, which includes more than 1,000 words with common roots in Persian and Bulgarian.

Dr. Fiouzi translated a large number of Bulgarian books into Persian as well as Persian books into Bulgarian and managed to train many students, each of them of high status. For example, the current Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the current head of the Department of Iranian Studies at Sofia University are two of Dr. Fiouzi’s many students. These are only a few of Dr. Fiouzi’s valuable efforts and services as language is unable to enumerate all these efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The two countries of Iran and Bulgaria, with their long history of diplomatic and cultural ties, have always had good relations and the peoples of the two countries always remember each other fondly as one of the reasons for this is precisely the presence of people like Mrs. Dr. Fiouzi who tried to strengthen and reinforce the cultural ties and commonalities between the peoples of the two countries. Undoubtedly, your long-standing efforts as a teacher of Persian language and literature in Bulgaria and the efforts you have made to introduce the culture and civilization of our dear country Iran have played a valuable role in consolidating and strengthening the cultural ties between the two countries – the great nations of Iran and Bulgaria. Finally, I wish God Almighty to grant you good health, happiness and ever greater success in the future.

Javad Amini, Cultural Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bulgaria:

She is a very humble, noble and hardworking person

Greetings to distinguished ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, distinguished ambassador of our country, university professors and students of Sofia University and Iranians living in Bulgaria. I am very glad that you accepted our invitation and attended this event.

Celebrating the position of scientists and intellectuals according to the interpretation of the Quran is a defence of science. Today, at this ceremony, we will pay tribute to a man who is famous among Iranians living in Bulgaria. She is a very modest person in terms of morality and in terms of science and work. She is very noble and hard-working.

Usually Iranian professors are modest and when they have to talk about themselves they do not talk about their virtues, so I wanted to present some of her scientific activities for the information of some guests who may know less about them.

Maulana says, “It is better to be mentioned in the hadiths of others!”.

Mrs. Fiouzi and her family emigrated from our country to Bulgaria many years ago. She worked in one of the government companies of Bulgaria, and after her retirement she started teaching in the cultural center of our country and at the same time as a lecturer of Persian language and literature in the Iranian Studies Department of Sofia University. She has translated various literary works from Bulgarian into Persian and vice versa and has written numerous articles in the Bulgarian press on literature, poetry, cinema and Iranian women.

Among her outstanding scholarly works can be noted her participation in the creation of the Persian-Bulgarian Dictionary and the Bulgarian-Persian Dictionary, which won the World Book of the Year Award in Iran. At a special ceremony attended by the then President, Ms. Fiouzi and fellow professors such as Dr. Panov of Sofia University were honored.

Among the other works of Ms. Fiouzi is the book “Persian Words in the Bulgarian Language”, which was welcomed and widely used by those interested in this topic. Ms. Fiouzi paid tribute to the community of Bulgarian women artists by translating the book “Like a Flower Dream”, a collection of Bulgarian women’s poems.

It is my interpretation that Ms Fiouzi was one of the leading women in the development of cultural diplomacy in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the years she lived in Bulgaria, and I can even say that she had a role as an honorary cultural ambassador for our country. Recently, a conference was held at the University of Sofia on the topic of “Source Studies – Modernity and Tradition”. It honoured the merits of the late prof. Fedotov. The conference was attended by the ambassadors of various countries. The guests and university professors present shared valuable information about the position of Persian literature and Professor Fedotov’s services to the culture and land called the East. 

I will be laconic and at the end of my speech I can only read you these two verses of Ferdoussi in praise of the cultural ambassadors of Iran.

I have suffered much – 30 years of toil.

I lived for the Persian language.                                        

Since I came alive through it, I have become immortal.

Because I spread the word.

Prof. Dr. Ivo Panov, doyen of the Iranian Studies major at Sofia University:

Without Dr. Fiouzi’s collaboration, we would not have achieved the success we enjoy today.

Your Excellency Mr. Seyed Mohammad Javad Rasouli, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sofia, dear Dr. Hajar Fiouzi, distinguished hosts and organizers, friends of the Persian language and culture in our country,

I am extremely happy to be present at the ceremony celebrating the many years of teaching and scholarship of our beloved and deeply respected colleague and friend Dr. Hajar Fiouzi.

While expressing my gratitude to the organizers of today’s event, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Cultural Mission of the Embassy of Iran in our country, I would like to acknowledge my colleagues from the Iranian Studies Department at St. Kliment Ohridski” are pleasantly surprised and overtaken in the organization of the celebration of Dr. Fiouzi. This is because we had foreseen that in 2023, when we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Bulgarian Iranian Studies at Sofia University and in Bulgaria, we would dedicate a special panel to the celebration of Dr. Fiouzi’s decades of teaching and research in our specialty.

And in order not to be too circumstantial, let me highlight only the most outstanding merits of Dr. Hajar Fiouzi.

First and foremost, I would highlight the love and respect that Hajar Fiouzi has invariably enjoyed from colleagues and students of Iranian Studies. And she has reciprocated this love with no less reciprocity throughout our two and a half decades of working together.

I would also highlight Ms. Fiouzi’s productive scholarship and teaching. She is part of the team that created the voluminous Persian-Bulgarian dictionary, which contains nearly 45 000 words. The same team created the two-volume Bulgarian-Persian Dictionary, containing over 50,000 words. The same dictionary in 2014 won the World Grand Prize at the 21st Session of “Book of the Year” in the field of Iranian Studies by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was the scientific editor of these two dictionaries and had the pleasure and honor to travel to Iran with Dr. Fiouzi to receive this award in person. Dr. Fiouzi also has a unique study on the common words in Persian and English, which has undergone two editions in a short period and is still a sought after book in our book market. Dr. Fiouzi’s teaching activities have also been marked by exceptional activity and productivity. Only at St. Kliment Ohridski”, along with teaching practical Persian, she also teaches several theoretical courses, among which is “Persian Mythology”, which has always attracted the interest of our students. 

Together with Dr. Fiouzi, we taught for 11 years at the BA and MA levels in Iranian Studies and at New Bulgarian University. I will confess to you that at both of these institutions of higher learning, without Dr. Fiouzi’s collaboration, we would not have achieved the successes we enjoy today. Just as an example, I would like to point out that four of our students from the Iranian Studies programme at Sofia University are already ambassadors of Bulgaria abroad.

And since I mentioned “ambassadors”, I will point out that Dr. Fiouzi in her long activity has constantly been a zealous ambassador between the cultures of Iran and Bulgaria, between the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in our country and the Iranian Studies Department at St. Petersburg University. Kliment Ohridski”. Moreover, Ms. Hajar Fiouzi has always handled delicate moments with enviable diplomacy, which has allowed her to successfully quell sparks between colleagues and acquaintances.

Finally, I would like to mention that Hajar Fiouzi has always been the soul of the company when we have celebrated Bulgarian and Iranian national holidays together, such as Norouz, Sizda be dar, Shab-e Yalda, Chahorshanbe Suri, etc.

Dr. Fiouzi, I wish you many more years of good health and to delight and enrich us with your presence!

Your student, friend and colleague, Ivo Panov 

Prof. Alexandra Kumanova – full member of the International Academy of Informatization at the United Nations, the Noosphere Academy of Sciences, the Arctic Academy of Sciences:

“In this world we have come for each other”.

“Nur für einander da”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

West-östlichen Divan

(Frankfurt am Main 1999)

Your Excellency!

Dear Dr. Hajar!

Dear Society of Friendship between the peoples of Iran and Bulgaria!

On this memorable evening, allow me to thank you both for the invitation to be among you and for the invitation to address you.

It is very difficult to find words after:

– His Excellency Seyyed Mohammad Javad Rassouli’s respectful speech on Iran-Bulgaria relations;

– the academic speech of Prof. Prof. Ivo Panov;

– the stream of verses of the eternal Persian poetry, recited virtuosically by the host Nabiola Masulmi…

Dear Dr. Hajjar!

Allow me to thank you for the encounters of our University of Library and Information Science and Technology with the scholars, poets and most eminent librarians of your country, when our academic community came in touch with the high universal spirituality of Persian culture.

Allow me to thank you for your intellectual participation in making sense of the First Bulgarian Scientific Expedition to Iran of the international team of researchers in 2008 on the trail of the lost knowledge – the cult of light, on which I led the fieldwork on the great land of ancient Persia, and in 2014 – I participated – together with you – in the famous journey on Iran of the delegation of Bulgarian intellectuals – women, which I had the honor to lead.

Presence-knowledge (English: presence-knowledge, knowledge by presence; Arabic: al-‘ilm al-huduri) is not only a type of knowledge, but also a term from Islamic mystical philosophy. It differs from correspondence (natural, ordinary) knowledge (English: knowledge by correspondence), which is based on causal relationships and is also called knowledge by correspondence. The different types of intrinsic knowledge are – self-knowledge, divine knowledge of the Supreme Essence, divine knowledge of things (being). Mysticism is a form of present knowledge. Intuition is also a type of knowledge by presence. (In terms of Christian dogmatics we could possibly define it as Good News knowledge or knowledge through the Good News of the Resurrection of the Savior and the forgiveness of the sins of men).

The cult of the light, born far to the north in the sunken Arctic, was re-semanticised precisely on the land of Persia – Ariana, made inimitably meaningful by:

– Iranian philosopher and founder of the Illuminati School (hikmat al-Ishraq) Yahyā ibn Ḥabash al-Suhrawardi (1154-1191) and

– the most important and influential philosopher in the Islamic world for the last four hundred years, MULLA SADRĀ SHIRAZI (Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi) (1571/2-1640), who combined metaphysics with Gnostic philosophy and Shiʿite theology in a “metaphilosophy” (al-hikma al-muta’aliya) whose basis was the Islamic revelation of the mystical experiment of reality as existence.

The cult of light penetrated the Balkan Peninsula precisely from Iran via Asia Minor in the form of Nestinarism…

Allow me to thank you for this amazing lesson in ontological immortality that you bring with you – not only with the “Bulgarian-Persian Dictionary” (2014) and the “Bulgarian-Persian Dictionary” (1st ed. 2004; 2nd ed. 2015; New. suppl. ed. 2018) – when you make us empathize not only with the joys, but also with the sorrow – of your daughter Shari’s passing beyond…

… I dedicate these words to Mrs. Snezhana Todorova – the wife of prof. Alexander Fedotov, who is always with us! …

… It may sound mystical or occult, but this lesson of yours is ONTOLOGICAL – about the light of the immortal Spirit, because it is that power which makes sense and unites the two worlds – ours and the Beyond, which are ONE AND THE SAME WORLD – GEO-COSMIC ETERNITY!

In the insightful words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), addressed to the son of Persia who lived centuries before him – NIZAMI (نظامی گنجوی), Nizam ad-Din Abu Muhammad Ilyas ibn-Yusuf ibn-Zaqi ibn-Muayyed – Nizami Gəncəvi , 1141-1209), I address myself to you, Dr. Hajar, but also to the representatives of t. To the so-called conditionally INTUITIVE of the East and RATIONAL of the West:

“In this world we have come for each other”.

Snezhana Todorova, Chairperson of the Board of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists: 

Hajar Fiouzi is an ambassador of national diplomacy who with affection, understanding and tact builds the bridge of friendship between today’s Bulgaria (her second homeland) and modern Iran.

Your Excellency,

Dear Dr. Hajar Fiouzi,

Distinguished professors, students and friends of our dear Dr. Fiouzi,

It is an honor and a great joy for me to participate in this exciting celebration of Iran’s culture and spirituality dedicated to Dr. Hajar Fiouzi.

My acquaintance with the culprit of today’s celebration was initially in absentia, through Prof. Alexander Fedotov, with whom I was colleagues at the Center for Eastern Languages and Cultures at Sofia University. Kliment Ohridski. A few years later, on meeting her in person, I was captivated by her intelligence, deep knowledge of the rich culture and spirituality of ancient Persia, and human kindness.

Dr. Hajar Fiouzi is the author of the unique edition “Persian Words in the Bulgarian Language” and has made a remarkable authorial contribution to the creation of the Bulgarian-Persian Dictionary. As a longtime favorite lecturer at the Department of Iranian Studies of St. Kli Kli Ohridski University, Dr. Fiouzi is deservedly proud of his graduates today. We owe her a great debt of gratitude for her efforts to introduce and spread the rich cultural heritage of Persia in Bulgaria. She is an ambassador of people’s diplomacy who with affection, understanding and tact builds the bridge of friendship between today’s Bulgaria (her second homeland) and modern Iran.

According to prof. Alexander Fedotov: “Persian civilization continues today to build its essential characteristics. They are indelible; you can see them with your eyes and you can feel them in the words of the Iranians. Iran continues to be one of the emblematic cultural phenomena of the time. The picture of the world is not complete without it.”

In this year, when we celebrate 125 years of diplomatic relations and 75 years of cultural cooperation between Bulgaria and Iran, we pay tribute to the people of the Spirit who have contributed in this field. I am happy that this moving celebration for Dr. Hajar Fiouzi has given us the opportunity to experience again and again the beauty and power of Persian spirituality and speech.

Heartfelt thanks to the organizers and performers who enchanted us with the beauty of the poetic word of the immortal Omar Khayyam!

Be ever so vibrant, indefatigable, with youthful drive and love for people, dear Ms. Fiouzi! You are our shining example!

The blog “The Persian Bridge of Friendship” also received an address by the famous Bulgarian writer Zdravka Evtimova:

Through Mrs. Fiouzi we are touching the rich culture of Iran. I am grateful!

My admiration for Mrs. Hajar Fiouzi is HUGE. She is a doctor of chemical sciences, a person of great general culture, with a generous and kind heart, who with her love for Iran, her homeland, and her love for Bulgaria is truly a phenomenon in the history of cultural ties between the two nations – Iran and Bulgaria. With her tireless work, she taught dozens of Bulgarian students Persian language, revealing the depth, beauty and excellence of Iranian culture to Bulgarians of all generations. Mrs. Hajar Fiouzi is not only a cultural figure, she is a bright personality, creating bridges between the cultures of the two nations, for which we are eternally grateful!

There is a grave, bitter tragedy in her life – she lost her native daughter Shari, young and beautiful, a writer, a young woman with a world-class education, a bright child of the world. The pain in her mother’s heart never fades, but Mrs. Fiouzi strives to give love to all the young people she meets in Bulgaria.  Her love and warmth are sincere, deep, genuine and everyone feels them with their heart. This is the key to the success that Mrs. Fiouzi has achieved not only in her work as a university professor, but also as a person working with all the strength of her generous spirit for the good of both nations – Iran and Bulgaria.

I am deeply grateful to Mrs. Fiouzi! In her person I see a truly bright personality, a highly educated woman full of love for the world, who works tirelessly with all her energy, with her spiritual strength for the cultural and purely human ties between the peoples of Iran and Bulgaria.

Through her, we, the Bulgarians, get in touch with the broad, rich culture of Iran, this cradle of human civilization, with the hard-working, honest Iranian people! Mrs. Fiouzi is a shining example for all the people of both her homeland and Bulgaria of how we should live, how we should work with all our hearts so that there is peace in the world, respect and dignity among nations.

At the end of the event, Hajar Fiouzi herself took the floor and received a diploma for her “many years of work” in spreading the Persian language and culture and improving the Bulgarian-Iranian relations:

I sympathize with all mothers who lose their children. Hafez’s grief for the lost child is mine too

Your Excellency Rasouli and all the distinguished personalities in the field of science and culture, and all those present in this hall.

I thank from the bottom of my heart Mr. Ambassador and the Cultural Attaché of the Islamic Republic of Iran for organizing this solemn event.

As the great cultural figure Shahryar said, “I do not deserve such praise from you.”

I was 20 years old when my husband and I came to Bulgaria and this land became my second homeland. I am grateful to God for the higher education I received and God blessed us with worthy children. We have had a decent life.

When I defended my PhD thesis in chemistry in the university’s academic council, the late Prof. Diko Ivanov told me: “From now on you enter society. Put an effort to be a decent person.” This great man helped me a lot as a native daughter and treated me like my father. I hope I have not disturbed his peace.

Wherever I have worked whatever position I have had I have been respected and loved by the ambassadors and cultural attaches of Iran in Bulgaria, the university professors and people I have worked with and the students who have given me joy. From academician V. Zarev, prof. А. Fedotov, prof. I. Panov and other scientific figures I acquired a way of education , culture and relations with people, modesty and patience for the disorders in life. These last days that I spend of my life in this world , my hope is that the ancient culture of Iran and the flourishing history of Bulgaria converge each other. And that the friendship between Iran and Bulgaria continues to develop.

Mollana Rumi says: “The result of life is no more than three words: I was raw, I matured and I burned.”

My lovely and worthy daughter untimely left this world after her and my husband.

As the famous Iranian poet Parvin Etesamy taught me, “When fate attacks you the way out is humility and education is submission.”

Every day I witness the loss of young people, I feel the grief of their mothers and wish such grief was far from you.

My son is a qualified doctor and his wife and children are decent and working.

Last week was the birthday of the great Hafez who wrote ghazals. Hafez had a child who untimely left this world and the poet of a year was saddened. Then he wrote a wonderful ghazal-masnavi about mourning the son “fruit of the heart”.

Please note my insignificance – after 14 centuries I become sympathetic to Hafez’s grief over the loss of his child.

Finally, it is with utmost gratitude that I hope this gathering brings you joy and that the two nations of Iran and Bulgaria can converge in peace and tranquility in their culture and civilization.

Photo: Dr. Hajar Fiouzi (with diploma) Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.H. Seyed Mohammad Javad Rasouli (with suit next to her), Iranian Cultural Attaché Javad Amini (far right) and friends of Persian language and culture in Bulgaria and Iran (source: Iranian Cultural Center, Khalil Sadullah)

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