“Harvard Crimson”: “The two from Harvard” are preparing to rule Bulgaria

“A new political party, founded by two Harvard graduates, is set to take power in Bulgaria after winning the country’s November 14 parliamentary elections, in which they ran with an anti-corruption platform that emphasized their Harvard views,” Miles J. wrote. . Hersenhorn in the Harvard edition The Harvard Crimson.

The article also says:

Harvard Business School graduate Kiril Petkov is in talks to become the country’s next prime minister after “We Continue Change” – a party he founded with Asen Vassilev – ended before the conservative GERB party, which has ruled the country for much of the past decade. .

Facsimile of The Harvard Crimson.

Facsimile of The Harvard Crimson.

“We continue the change” was created before the third elections in Bulgaria in 2021, which took place in November, after attempts to form a government after the two previous elections failed. Petkov and Vassilev, dubbed “the two from Harvard”, promised to improve relations with the European Union during the campaign.

Petkov and Vassilev met during their studies at Harvard Business School, where they received an MBA in 2007 and 2008, respectively. After the first parliamentary elections in Bulgaria in 2021 overthrew former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Petkov and Vassilev worked together in a caretaker government. – Petkov as Minister of Economy and Vassilev as Minister of Finance.

According to Bulgaria’s constitution, when a government cannot be formed, the president must appoint ministers in an interim government. Venelin Ganev, a professor of political science at the University of Miami, said Petkov and Vassilev were elected by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in part because of their Harvard business card.

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“The reason for choosing Petkov and Vassilev is that they were at Harvard and therefore have the expertise, knowledge and global reputation that would allow them to deal with the problems of Bulgaria,” Ganev said.

“The name Harvard is synonymous with success for young Bulgarians abroad and the ability of Bulgarians to perform well on the world stage,” he added.

Maria Popova, a professor of political science at McGill University, added that the name “Harvard” turned out to be a “double-edged sword” for Petkov and Vassilev, as it was used for negative attacks by their opponents during the campaign.

“Some of their opponents use belonging to Harvard to hint at arrogance and thinking that you can do something great even though you are not prepared,” she said.

The lack of understanding of the difference between an MBA and a Harvard college degree has led to some drama in the Bulgarian media, according to Popova.

“Journalists sent an inquiry to Harvard, and Harvard College replied that he did not graduate there, and they said to themselves, ‘Look, he’s making it up,'” Popova said.

Christian HM Ketels, a professor at Harvard Business School who taught Petkov, said he hoped to see Petkov implement his HBS education as prime minister.

“I hope that Kiril can learn a little from what he has learned, but also from the experience he has gained,” he said.

“It’s great to see that he has grown as a leader, is charismatic and is able to mobilize a lot of people,” he added.

Popova, who received her doctorate from Harvard, said she taught Vassilev while working as an assistant in an introductory course in comparative politics. She added that Vassilev is an excellent student.

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“He really was one of the best students in this section,” she added. “He wasn’t the person who dominated the sectional discussions, but the one who, when he said something, was always really accurate, to the point, insightful.”


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