History, Poetry and Something More: Ilko Drenkov
Couple of years ago, AUBG Daily told the story of a talent that only a few knew about – the poet Ilko Drenkov. Yes, it sounds familiar. Yes, he is the Hall Director of Skaptopara II. As it turns out he is much more than that. As a follow up to his intricate personality we decided to reveal one more side of Drenkov – the one of a History academician and lecturer.
Beginning my conversation with Drenkov, I asked him a general question of manner – how is he, and of course he hit me with his constant positivism – “No need to ask me, I always feel good.” And that sets the positive flow of energy that every interviewer can ask for.
Starting with his recent successes, Drenkov shares that in 2012 he got his Ph.D. in History from the South-West University “Neofit Rilski” and since then he has not stopped working in that sphere. To keep his passion alive, he continues researching on different historic topics, participating in international conferences, and observing what happens in the field. History has always been of interest to Drenkov and his scope of research is very broad. Still, what he focuses most on is Balkan history and British influence in the South-East European region.
For Drenkov, the most valuable gain from reading about history is the ability to make the right parallels between the past and the present. He believes that it is essential to analyze the current political and social situations worldwide with the awareness that they may have happened in the past as well. According to him, the fact that we can learn from the past is true if we relate what we read about to our personal experience. He says that the combination of being sapient should consist of 50 percent learning from other people’s experience and 50 percent learning on your own. For him, this is the best way to combine and apply the knowledge of history to our personal lives.
When it comes to applying his knowledge in the field of history, Drenkov has written more than eight issued articles and now he works on publishing two books. The first one, which is already signed for publication in 2017, is going to be in Bulgarian with the name “Great Britain and the Macedonian Question between the Two World Wars” and is based on his Ph.D. thesis. When he is done with that project, Drenkov plans to move to another one which will consist of his collection of more than a thousand unpublished documents on the topic of the Eastern question – the territorial conflicts during the time of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkan peninsula. He got all of the data after visiting four times the National archive of Great Britain, which access is public. He will make public a number of diplomatic documents of British policy on the Balkans which turned out to be legal seventy years after the events in those documents occurred, but no one has revealed them so far.
Writing is still not enough of an application for the knowledge of Drenkov. He misses the personal contact with people. That is why, he thinks that he is ready to teach as a full-time professor. For now he has shown interest in teaching at AUBG and at the Southwestern University (SWU). At AUBG, he might join the History department, if the department approves his request. At SWU he already has a position as an Assistant Professor for a couple of hours per week, depending on what the demand there. He teaches “Balkan History (19th and 20th century),” “Bulgarian History since 1878” and “New Modern History.”As a comparison between the universities, Drenkov believes that the two of them have both hardworking and inactive students, but his major critique is that the two universities do not interact enough with each other though they are the core of the Blagoevgrad city.
Regarding his AUBG life, Drenkov says he loves his job. At some point, he is ready to move on to teaching, but for now he is enjoying his position and still cannot say when he will make his next move. Commenting on the change in the students‘ characters throughout the years, he says that he can definitely see an increase in the “chalga” culture in recent years. According to him, people became much more business-oriented and this has an effect on different aspects of their lives including love, friendships and social interaction. Students are becoming more selfish and self-centered, they prefer to stay in their personal bubble of work and interests and perceive every additional interaction as a threat. “People are afraid to feel anymore,” says Drenkov. He still believes that at some point love will prevail, because in the end of the day we are all humans and this is our only way to succeed and continue existing.
With so many historic and serious researches, does Drenkov have time for poetry? “Poetry is a way of living, you cannot just stop it,” says Drenkov. He continues writing poetry and shares that love is always the engine for that.
“We have only two eternal gifts from the nature – one is love and the other one is death, so until you go to the next level you need to enjoy at the fullest the first one.”
According to Drenkov, it doesn’t matter what type of love will inspire you – it might be love towards the nature, love towards your beloved one or love towards your enemies. As long as it brings you completion and satisfaction it is enough to be your inspiration to create.