2023 BSA Annual Business Meeting – Minutes
2023 BSA Annual Business Meeting - Minutes

Bulgarian Studies Association Annual Meeting

55th ASEEES Annual Convention

Friday, December 1 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, EST

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 4th floor, Meeting Room 412


BSA Awards & Grants


a.       2023 John Bell Award.

Announcement: Dilyana opened the meeting with the announcement that this year, two authors have shared the John D. Bell Memorial Book Prize for their outstanding publications in the field of Bulgarian Studies: Ana Luleva and Teodora Dragostinova. Ana Luleva received the award for her book Култура на (не)доверието в България. Антропологични перспективи, Sofia (Gutenberg Publishing House), 2021; and Teodora Dragostinova for her book, The Cold War from the Margins: A Small Socialist State on the Global Cultural Scene, Ithaca and London (Cornell University Press), 2021.

Note: On behalf of the BSA Board and John Bell Award Committee, Dilyana congratulated the winners and presented them with the Award Certificates.

b.       2023 BSA Travel Grant

Announcement: Dilyana announced the 2023 BSA Travel Grant winner: Desislava Tiholova,ethnologist at the Rousse Regional Museum of History,. D. Tiholova received funding from BSA to attend the current ASEEES Conference in Philadelphia where she delivered her paper, titled “The Case of ‘Eberhard Undzhiyan’ – from Family Migration to Mobility.” The paper analyzes memoirs and biographical interviews of a third-generation descendant of Armenian refugees to Bulgaria and places his life story within the complex political, social and cultural processes of the 20th and the early 21st centuries.

Presenter: Dilyana Ivanova Zieske, President

BSA President Report
a.     BSA website.

b.     BSA logo and letterhead.

c.     BSA newsletter

Report: Dilyana elaborated on the newly modernized website and the new logo and letterhead. She added that the newsletter was resumed. She reminded the attendees to send their contributions for the newsletter and for the website, and mentioned that the organization now has a FB page, and all the news and announcements get posted on the FB page, as well.

d.     The upcoming 12th Joint Meeting of Bulgarian and North American Scholars.

Announcement: Following the model used in 2016, BSA is partnering with The Council for the Bulgarian Studies Abroad to present the 12th Joint Meeting of Bulgarian and North American Scholars will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16 of 2024. The Council for the Bulgarian Studies Abroad has been working on the conference arrangements. The conference will take place in the rooms on the first floor of the Institute of Literature, Bulgarian Language and History at 52 Shipchenski Prohod Boulevard, Sofia. The hotel of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is right next to the conference venue at 50 Shipchenski Prohod Boulevard, Sofia (https://www.domnaucheniya.com/en/sample-page/), and it will accommodate the conference participants. Most likely the Program for the Bulgarian Studies Abroad will be funding the lodging of the attendees from the United States. The conference committee is planning a trip or some cultural event after the conference. Prof. Aleksander Kostov, the chairman of the Council the Bulgarian Studies Abroad, sent Dilyana a questionnaire regarding the theme and the format of the conference (ideas for panels, paper titles, etc.) with a request that it be shared to the BSA mailing list. Dilyana will distribute this questionnaire to the BSA Community after the ASEEES conference. Prof. Kostov has requested the completed questionnaire to be submitted by December 10, 2023.

1.     For discussion:

a.     Establishing a Martha Forsyth BSA Travel Award.

Decision: The meeting attendees approved the idea of establishing a Martha Forsyth BSA Travel Grant when funds are available. This year’s 2023 BSA Travel Grant winner Desislava Tiholova was deemed to be the first recipient of the renamed grant award.

b.     Membership:

Discussion: Dilyana explained that starting in 2023, all BSA annual memberships will be based upon the calendar year (January 1 – December 31) for more streamlined and less confusing membership payment and renewal process. She noted that memberships paid/renewed during January through October will expire on December 31 of that year. If the membership is paid/renewed in November or December, it will extend through the following year. The attendees asked if there is a way to get personal reminders so they can cover their dues on time. Dilyana explained that she doesn’t have access yet to a more automated and personalized way to send membership renewal reminders, but she has been trying to email at least three times per year reminders to the BSA list. Anyone who has questions regarding their membership status is welcome to contact our Treasurer, Traci Speed at bulgarianstudiesassociation@gmail.com and ask her whether or not they are current with their dues to the organization.

Decision: The attendees approved a modification of the membership dues as follows:

–          $10 for members living in Bulgaria.

–          $35 for members living outside Bulgaria.

–          $0 membership charge for retirees and graduate students.

Action: The new membership fees and categories will be posted on the BSA website and shared on Facebook. Dilyana will send the announcement regarding the membership changes to the BSA mailing list.

c.     Fundraising ideas for our activities.

Discussion:  Dilyana pointed out how important is to start fundraising more actively because the organization needs more money to support the Bulgarian Studies scholars with travel grants, publication grants and other activities. BSA also needs money for the BSA conferences and proceedings, as well as BSA operations, website maintenance, etc.

Dilyana invited the attendees to think more actively about fundraising venues and means.

She explained that along with Traci she has been exploring the fundraising features of Facebook through the PayPal Giving Fund. The PayPal Giving Fund has been created for BSA, but Dilyana hasn’t figured out how to use PayPal for Facebook fundraiser. Dilyana will continue exploring the fundraising features of Facebook and report at the next meeting on progress.

Action: This topic will be discussed again at the next BSA meeting.

d.     BSA: unincorporated association or corporation? (Liam Zieske – BSA Member and Pro Bono Lawyer).

Discussion: Liam explained that BSA currently is an unincorporated association and there are advantages to not incorporating. Our current format offers flexibility – we are not tied to a single state, which often becomes irrelevant once officers of a scholarly organization change. To be incorporated, most (perhaps all) states require the corporation to keep a registered agent, usually an accountant or lawyer such as himself, with an office in the state, for purposes of service of process (in case of any legal trouble). Liam explains that he does this pro bono, as a donation each year, to the scholarly NFP corporations he represents, and he intends to continue (if BSA wishes) to represent BSA for the foreseeable future. This would make incorporation in Illinois easy to maintain for now; but if Liam moves away, he would not be able to continue in that role, and it may be difficult to find someone else in the state to step into the role.

There are some advantages to incorporating – it can be more difficult to get a bank account for an unincorporated association. But most banks do provide options with submission of IRS paperwork and the organization’s constitution. For example, many church groups are unincorporated associations and do maintain accounts. Another reason to consider incorporation is if BSA starts receiving grants and big donations. Any major sponsor will prefer to deal with a corporation rather than an unincorporated organization.

Members of the audience suggested that BSA look for a more permanent residence at some U.S. university with a Slavic Studies department and with Bulgarian Studies specialists who develop programs there. Ohio State University and University of Chicago were suggested as possible venues for the BSA residence.

Action 1: Yana Hashamova will explore the Ohio State as a venue for BSA, and Angelina Ilieva will explore the University in Chicago for the same purpose.

Action 2: If one of these universities agrees to host the BSA organization, then we can continue the conversation regarding incorporation.

Presenter: Dilyana Ivanova Zieske, BSA President

Treasurer Report, by Traci Speed, Treasurer
No discussion. Dilyana presented Traci’s financial report.

Presenter: Dilyana Ivanova Zieske, BSA President

Other Business, if any.

BSA Meeting Attendees:

  1. Dilyana Ivanova Zieske
  2. Daria White (by Zoom)
  3. William Zieske
  4. Ana Luleva
  5. Emilia Zankina
  6. Desislava Tiholova
  7. Stanimira Dermendjieva
  8. Ian MacMillen
  9. Cris Scarboro
  10. Ben DeDominicis
  11. Cammeron Girvin
  12. Gerald Creed
  13. Ronelle Alexader
  14. Milena Savola
  15. Martin Marinos
  16. Victor Petrov
  17. Kristian Kafozov
  18. Nikolay Karkov
  19. Yana Hashamova
  20. Teodora Dragostinova
  21. Veselina Dzhumbeva
  22. Sarah Craycraft
  23. Irina Gigova
  24. Francis Fung (by Zoom)
  25. Angelina Ilieva (by Zoom)