Center for Jewish-Bulgarian cooperation

The winner in Alef’s 2017 competition: Israel is a factory for young leaders

Manuil Kassabov, 18, is the winner of the Fourth Literary Student Competition, organized by Center for Jewish-Bulgarian Cooperation “Alef”. For his essay on the topic: “Shimon Peres and his Contribution to the Dimensions of Universal Humanism,” the student of “St. Konstantin-Kiril Philosopher” School in Rousse received the first prize – participation in a week long congress for young leaders in Herzlia, Israel.

After his return from Israel, Manuel Kasabov answered several questions by the Center Alef:

With what kind of feelings did you leave Israel?

With an enormous curiosity and desire, because I knew I would be confronted with a completely different culture.

What was your first sense of Israeli land?

I was very impressed first of all by the huge airport, named after Ben Gurion, one of the politicians who built the state. It is times bigger than the Bulgarian one. The first feeling I experienced was amazement, delight in their economic and social progress that had been achieved for the little time they had. I was expecting something quite different … Tel Aviv is an extremely developed city that could compare to any bigger American city in terms of business centres as well as infrastructure and everything else … I did not see any street with holes, both in Jerusalem and in Nazareth.
I was being told how they has turned their kibbutz into technological miracles. Their drip irrigation is not what we usually imagine, like a hose with holes … There the production of a single cucumber is a much more sophisticated and much more technological than the production of a  cell phone in Bulgaria. I can speak literally for hours about Israel … I was most impressed by the fact that Israel is a desert, but the streets and unbuilded areas are green…

Youth from which countries participated in the congress?

Apart from Bulgaria, there were representatives of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, even Taiwan … And, of course, Israel.

Did you become friends with some of them?

Yes, of course … There was a specially organized night to meet everyone, where I personally managed to talk to a large number of the participants in the congress. We then exchanged coordinates with many of them. I think I managed to build a pretty strong relationship with an Austrian boy. With him we talked a lot, on different topics, we discussed different issues and it became clear that we have a lot of things in common … common interests … Now we keep in touch. He soon wrote me in facebook that he would be joining the Austrian army. He’s a lot older than me …

You presented Bulgaria and told about it to your new friends … How was your presentation accepted?

In the evening when I had to present Bulgaria, other countries had presentations too. But the greatest attention was paid to my presentation and most questions were addressed to me. After the presentation, I received a lot of congratulations from both students, congress participants and their leaders and the organizers of the congress.

What topics did you discuss at the congress?

We discussed two very important topics and in general the discussions were the main thing we were busy with. The first topic was the world water crisis, which in Bulgaria one cannot feel, as in most EU countries, but in the Middle and Far East it is a very important topic in terms of the fact that drinking water is deficient and people there are literally fighting for each litter of drinking water. The other topic was for each country’s nuclear programs, the nuclear arsenal, and the threat of nuclear war.
We studied the reasons why each country has started its nuclear program and the nuclear arsenal that each country has, and how they would use it, the reasons why they would use this nuclear arsenal and the consequences. The focus was on relations with North Korea and China. We have had lecturers from Germany who focused mostly on the reasons why each country has resorted to the creation of a nuclear program and the consequences it would bring to the world and to each of us.
Because no matter how small a bomb is, the consequences are absolutely devastating. And what we were discussing was a kind of prevention, to give us the relevant knowledge and to realize what a potential nuclear war would bring.

Which of the lessons learned at the congress will be useful to you in the future?

I learned and I remember that it is not so important which is your country, which nation you belong to, and there is not much of a problem with the language barrier if you have similar interests and goals. One can find friendships everywhere, find a common language with absolutely every person, regardless of his nationality, political and any beliefs.
From the congress I learned something very important – that we should respect what we have in Bulgaria. The main topic was the global water crisis, and there is absolutely no problem in Bulgaria. I cannot even imagine how I would live somewhere where you have no water even to drink, and what remains for personal hygiene … And we must be one of the most grateful of this land, because many things are given to us freely, by nature…

A few last words?

I owe Centre “Alef” the rare chance to visit Israel, because they have provided all the expenses for traveling and staying there. I would also like to thank for the wonderful competition that Alef organizes each year and for the opportunity it gives to young people to act as creators and above all as responsible and thinking people.
Because by challenging us with different current topics, you show us our best qualities and to truly have the self-confidence of people who can and on which society depends.


Сходни публикации

VI Национален литературен конкурс


Пети национален литературен конкурс

Откриване на паметна плоча, посветена на доблестните бургазлии спасили своите съграждани евреи



December 2018
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