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British Ambassador to Bulgaria opens a Roma Festival

Her Excellency Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE visits Veliko Tarnovo for the Open Heart Festival, organised by Amalipe.

Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE opens the Open Heart Festival, organised by Amalipe
Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE opens the Open Heart Festival, organised by Amalipe

The British Ambassador to Bulgaria Emma Hopkins OBE opened the 12th edition of the Children’s Roma Festival Open Heart. The festival is organised by the Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance Amalipe and the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo.

In her opening address, Ambassador Hopkins said:

I am very happy to be here with you today. I have just started as British Ambassador and this is my first official trip outside Sofia. It is exciting to see so many young people with so much to offer.

I have two children who are just starting to go to school. We talk about why school and education are important and what I normally say is that – education opens doors for you. It enables you to do what you want in life and to make your dreams come true.

But going to school doesn’t mean you have to be like everyone else – you need to be yourself, be proud of who you are – your traditions and heritage and family background. Some of the most successful people I know were children who were not afraid to be themselves and embraced difference. That is why I am very happy to be here to support the work of Amalipe. Their work to ensure that everyone receives the benefit of education is vital and it is wonderful to see this festival. Going to school and staying in school is the best thing you can do for yourself but also for Bulgaria. Bulgaria needs to harness the rich diversity and contribution from all its citizens to reach its potential, too.

Thank you for the invitation – please enjoy the festival and I hope you make many new friends.

Published 5 June 2015