Communication, Public Relations, and Advertising
The “Communication, Public Relations, and Advertising Department” at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” is created at November 6th, 1995, as a result from a project led by Mr. Pier Andre Hervot, then president of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) by initiative of the FJMC at Sofia University, with the support of Mr. Alain Moduet – then director of the “Communications” Department at UNESCO and of the UNESCO’s National Commission for Bulgaria. Communication should be understood as a power for building of trust between the people who participate in the building of the democratic society – that is the basic direction in the university preparation of public relations specialists, which is ensured by this Department.
The curriculum for the new major at the FJMC, which started in the 1994/1995 academic year, is a double result from this project, which is developed accordingly to the recommendations of the International Public Relations Associations (IPRA), and of the Republic of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education and Science. Hundreds of specialists – Bachelors and Masters – who graduated from the FJMC at the Sofia University, work as public relations specialists in all spheres – economics, politics, science, culture, and dozens of them have been awarded with Bulgarian and foreign awards for their professional activity. The Department is a co-founder and a member since its creation of the world network of departments of UNESCO – ORBICOM (www.orbicom.uqam.ca), which encompasses 30 departments of UNESCO and more than 250 members in 72 countries around the world. Prof. Dr. Todor Petev has been a member of the Board of the directors of ORBICOM from 1996 to 2000, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Minka Zlateva has been a member of the Board of the directors of ORBICOM since November 2006.
At its creation, the Department took the obligation both to prepare staff in the field of advertisement and PR, and to help the formation of a professional society of public relations specialists in Bulgaria. The first department chief is Prof. Dr. Todor Petev /1995-2003/ - in 1996 he was a co-founder of the first PR professional association in Bulgaria – The Bulgarian Public Relations Society (BDVO), and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Minka Zlateva, who has led the department since May 2003, for 6 years /1997-2003/ has been a member of the Governing Board of the BDVO. Since 1997 the UNESCO Department along with the Bulgarian Public Relations Society conduct annual international scientific conferences on current problems of public communications and public relations that include 4 modules: theoretic discussion, round tables between theoreticians and practicing specialists /PR specialists and journalists/, PhD students’ seminar and a student studio.
The topics of the so far conducted conferences are:
- I (1997) - “Public Communication and Public Organization”;
- II (1998) – “European Integration: Challenges to Public Relations /International and Local Aspects/”;
- III (1999). – “Public Relations and Conflicts in a Democratic Society”
2000 – Balkan International Conference on the topic of “Freedom of Speech, Media Law, and Media Education for Culture of Peace and Ethnic Tolerance” /sponsored by UNESCO/;
- IV (2001) “Public Relations and the New Media in the Process of Social Transformation”;
- V (2002) “Media and Public Relations: Problems of Education and the Practice”;
- VI (2003) “European Integration and Social Change: Problems of Intercultural Communication”;
- VII (2004) “Communication, Sport, and Culture: Media, Public Relations, and Advertising”;
- VIII (2005) “Public Communication and Globalization: Education in Democracy Values”;
- IX (2006) “Image of the Balkans: Historical Transitions and Communication Perspectives”;
- X (2007) “Cultural Differences and Communication between Cultures”
- XI (2008) – “The Dialog with the Other: Balkan Dimensions of the European Identity”.
Up until now, hundreds of Bulgarian lecturers on public communication, PhD students and students from eight Bulgarian universities have participated in these conferences: Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Shumen University “Bishop Konstantin of Preslav”, Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar”, University of Veliko Tarnovo “St. Cyril and St. Methodius”, Technical University Sofia, New Bulgarian University, University of Ruse “Angel Kanchev”, Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski”, researchers from five institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Science – institutes of sociology, of psychology, of philosophy, of philology and Balkan studies, from the Scientific Center for Bulgarian National Strategy, as well as many journalists and PR specialists have also participated in these conferences.
Guests of the conference have been foreign researchers and PhD students, journalists and PR specialists from other 17 European countries: Austria, Albania, Germany, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Finland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Portugal, from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Among them are leading European scientists in the field of mass communication, e.g. Prof. Dr. Gunther Bentele, prof. Dr. Mihael Kunchik, Prof. Dr. Roland Burchart, Prof. Dr. Barbara Berns, Prof. Dr. Sc. Manfred Ruhl, Prof. Dr. Berndt Shorb, Prof. Dr. Yaho Lehtonen, Prof. Dr. Mirolyub Radoykovich, Prof. Dr. Branimir Stoykovich, Prof. Dr. Evgeniy
The eighth international scientific conference on the topic of “Public Communication and Globalization: Education in Democracy Values” was conducted on May 20th and 21st, 2005 in Sofia. It was dedicated to the 10 year anniversary of the creation of this Department of UNESCO /2005/, to the 10 year anniversary of the beginning of the high education on public relations at the FJMC at SU /1994-1995/ and to the European Year for Democratic Citizenship through Education /2005/, which was announced by the Council of Europe. For the first time researchers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Portugal have participated in this conference. Since the very beginning, PhD students from this department have participated in the international scientific conferences of the UNESCO department, and from 2002 independent Seminars for PhD students have been conducted as part of the conference. In these Seminars have participated PhD students from the FJMC and other faculties at the Sofia University, from New Bulgarian University, Shumen University “Bishop Konstantin of Preslav”, Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar”, University of Ruse “Angel Kanchev”, as well as their colleagues from Austria, Greece, North Macedonia, Poland, Czech Republic, and Lithuania.
At the suggestion of FJMC students in 2004 as part of the Seventh international scientific conference of UNESCO’s department of “Communication and Public Relations”, a Student Workshop was conducted. It has become an inseparable part of the conferences’ program – and in it Bachelor and Master students present their reports and multimedia presentations on the conference topic.
The reports from all international scientific conferences of the department has been published in collections of reports:
- “Publichna komunikatsiya i evropeyska integratsiya” /Sast. M. Zlateva i T. Petev/, Izd. “Zornitsa”, Plovdiv, 1999, with materials from the first two conferences;“Pablik rileyshans i konflikti v demokratichnoto obshtestvo” (Sast. T. Petev i M. Zlateva/, Izd. FJMC na SU, 2000;
- “Pablik rileyshans i novite medii” /Sast. M. Zlateva i T. Petev/, Izd. FJMC na SU, 2002;
- Media and Public Relations: Issues of Education and Practice” (ed. by T.Petev & M.Zlateva). Austrian Science and Research Liaison-Office Sofia, Sofia, 2002;
- “Komunikatsiya v krizisni situatsii“ /Sast. T. Petev i M. Zlateva/. “Friedrich Ebbert” Foundation Sofia Bureau, 2002 – first scientific collection of PhD students’ reports in the field of public communication;
- “Medii i pablik rileyshans: problemi na obrazovanieto i praktikata” /Sast. T. Petev i M. Zlateva/. FJMC na SU, 2003;
- “Evropeyska integratsiya i interkulturna komunikatsiya“ /Sast. M. Zlateva, T. Petev, O. Spasov/, FJMC na SU, 2004; “Publichna komunikatsiya, globalizatsiya i demokratsiya” /Sast. M. Zlateva i T. Petev/, FJMC na SU, 2006;
- “Komunikatsiya, sport i kultura" /Sast. M. Zlateva i D. Petkova/, FJMC na SU, 2007.
Lecturers from this department have published more than 20 books and other collections of scientific articles that ensure the educational process and that are actively used by researchers in the field of media and public relations. Among them are:
- “Vrazki s obshtestvenostta i izgrazhdane na doverie” (1996) – T. Petev (red.), an issue of UNESCO;
- “Sapostavimost na empirichni izsledvaniya”- V. Bondikov (1997);
- “Novini i sondazhi (Predstavyane na prouchvaniya na obshtestvenoto mnenie v pechata)” – M. Zlateva, V. Bondikov (1999); „Psihologiya na komunikatsiyata”- P. Deyanov (1999);
- “Balgarska narodopsihologiya” in 3 Volumes (1999); ”Dobrodetelite na balgarina” – M. Semov (1999), and “Globalizatsiya i natsionalna sadba“ – M. Semov (2004);
- “Komunikatsiya i sotsialna promyana” (2001), and “Teorii za masovata komunikatsiya“ (2004) by T. Petev;
- “Publichna komunikatsiya” (1999); “Tehnologiya i tehniki na publichnata komunikatsiya” (2001), “Korporativen imidzh” (2001), „PR – tehnologiya na uspeha” (2003), and “Korporativen grazhdanin” (2004) by Zdr. Raykov;
- “Natsionalna identichnost i globalizatsiya” (2000), and “Balkanizatsiyata - drugoto litse na globalizatsiyata” (2004) by D. Petkova;
“Ezikat na reklamata - grafika i tekst” (1992), "Tekstovete v pechatnata reklama” (1994), “Zhenata v reklamnata komunikatsiya” (1998), “Absolut semiotics” (2001), ”Harmoniya v reklamnata komunikatsiya” (2002) by H. Kaftandzhiev and others;
- “Dzhon Atanasov i novata tsivilizatsiya“ /Sast. M. Zlateva/ - first Bulgarian – English collection of articles in the field of public communication. It is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of “the father of the computer” – the American scientist from Bulgarian heritage John Atanasov (1903-2003), Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ohridski”, 2005.
At the initiative of UNESCO’s Department of “Communication and Public Relations” at the FJMC at SU and with the generous co-operation of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture of the Republic of Austria and of the Sofia Abroad Bureau of the Austrian Institute for Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the textbook by Prof. Dr. Roland Burkhart from Vienna University “Nauka za komunikatsiyata” (prevod M. Zlateva, izd. “PIK” Veliko Tarnovo, 2000, 496 s.) was published. It is the best textbook on communication among the German speaking scientific community in Europe. At the initiative of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Minka Zlateva in 2004 was created COMFORUM Sofia-Vienna – a permanent form of co-operation between specialists on public communication in Bulgaria and Austria that is organized along with the Bulgarian Scientific Institute in Austria and the “Friends of Dom Wittgenstein” Association, which have conducted four sessions (2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007).
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the department, a Jubilee book “Parvoto desetiletie. Vrazki s obshtestvenostta za demokratsiya /1995-2005/”, whose editors are Prof. Dr. Todor Petev, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Minka Zlateva, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sonya Aleksieva. Its premiere was during the festive celebration of the jubilee – on November 30th, 2005, in the presence of the president of ORBICOM Mr. Allain Modouet.
At the UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” 20 PhD students have prepared their dissertations and have successfully defended them in front of specialized scientific committees. 4 PhD students are in a procedure of defending their dissertations, and 12 PhD students are currently working on their dissertations on current problems of public communication, public relations, and advertising.
The UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” supports a broad network of international contacts through UNESCO, ORBICOM, the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA), and through bilateral co-operation with other universities.
The first guest lecturer, who in the winter term of the 1995/1996 academic year led a course for the students from the new “Public Relations” major at the FJMC at SU, was Prof. Dr. Beno Signitser from the University of Salzburg. Throughout the 10-year period of the existence of this department, dozens of famous researchers in the field of public communication from Europe and the United States have led lectures for the students.
Lecturers from the UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” at the FJMC at SU have led lectures as part of the “Socrates/ Erasmus” European program at the universities in Leipzig, Vienna, Yuvaskulla, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and London. They have been guest lecturers at the universities of more than 15 European countries and in the United States. They also participate with their articles in dozens foreign collections of scientific articles and specialized scientific magazines.
As scholarship holders of the “Socrates/ Erasmus” European program, whose faculty coordinator is Prof. Dr. Minka Zlateva, more than 20 “Public Relations” major students studied for a semester at the University of Leipzig in Germany, 4 students – at the University of Yuvaskulla in Finland, 4 students – at the University “Cardinal Herera” in Valencia, Spain, 4 students – at the University of Vienna, Austria, 4 students – at Noordelijke Hoogedchool (University of Professional Education) in Leuwarden, Holland, 2 students – at the Universite catolique de Louvain in Belgium, 1 student – at the School of Media Arts and Communication in Lisbon, Portugal, 1 student – at the University of Wroclaw in Poland, and 1 student – at the University of Talin in Estonia.
During the 2007/2008 academic year, as part of the “Socrates/ Erasmus” European program the department have enrolled scholarship holder students from Austria, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, and Holland.
The UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” at the FJMC at SU fulfills the task set by UNESCO and IPRA of becoming a model for establishment of similar departments of communication at universities in Balkan states. The Ninth international scientific conference of the Department was co-organized with the Institute for Balkan Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Science on May 19th and 20th, 2006, in Sofia. Its topic was “The Image of the Balkans: Historical Approaches and Communication Perspectives”. On May 18th and 19th, 2007, at the Hall 1 at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the Tenth Jubilee International Scientific Conference of the UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” was conducted. It was co-organized with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Bulgaria and the “Bulgarian Heritage” National Movement on the topic of “Cultural Differences and Communication between Cultures”. As part of the conference, the first work meeting for establishment of network of departments of communication and public relations in Balkan States (BALCANCOM) has been conducted – it would become a branch of the world network of UNESCO departments of communications and public relations ORBICOM.
On November 14th and 15th, 2008, was conducted a second work meeting for the establishment of BALCANCOM and the Eight International Scientific Conference of UNESCO Department of “Communication and Public Relations” at the FJMC at SU on the topic of “The Dialogue with the Other: Balkan Dimensions of the European Identity”.