On 28th July 2011 we lost Dimi Panitza.

His life will continue in memories of those who knew and loved him, and with the activities of civil organizations inspired by him.

We worship in his memory!


American University in Bulgaria

Outward Bound – Bulgaria

Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”

Junior Achievement – Bulgaria

Institute for Studies of the Resent Past

Institute for Market Economy

New Bulgarian University

Children and Youth Alliance

Minu Balkanski Foundation

Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation

John Dimitry Evstatiev Panitza was born on 2nd November 1930 in Sofia. Along with the family of his parents, he left Bulgaria in 1948 and spent all his life in exile between Europe and the USA. His journalistic career in US Reader’s Digest Magazine started as a junior reporter in 1952 and ended as a deputy editor in chief in 1994.

In 1990 Dimi returned to Bulgaria and a year later, together with his wife Yvonne Panitza, they founded the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation with the purpose to support the process of democratization of Bulgarian society and establish the values of pluralism, free press, market economy and public tolerance.

Dimi Panitza was among the founders and a long-time member of the Board of the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), and since 2001 had been Doctor Honoris Causa of the University. He was the founder, a long-time member and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian School of Politics, which in May 2011 was named after him. Dimi was one of the founders of Junior Achievement – Bulgaria, Outward Bound – Bulgaria, Children and Youth Alliance, the Institute for Studies of the Resent Past and the Institute for Market Economy – Sofia.

Dimi Panitza was the founder and the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Panitza Journalistic Awards (1994 – 2003) and of the Panitza Civic Courage Awards.

He was an Honorary Member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1999 – 2010) and a member of the Board of Trustees at the New Bulgarian University.

Dimi Panitza participated in the Advisory Committee of the annual International Civic Courage Price in New York and was a member of the Board of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation (BCYF). He was a long-time member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, of the English-American Press Association in Paris, of the French Future Forum, of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe and of the International Tripartite Commission.

One of his latest undertakings was a civil initiative for returning Bulgarian archives from Russia.

For his contribution to the establishment of civil society and development of journalism, Dimi Panitza was awarded Bulgaria’a highest civil decoration – the order of “Stara Planina”, 1st Class. He was also made Knight of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic and was awarded the “Pro Merito” medal of the Council of Europe. He was also a trustee at the King’s College in London.

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