Antonina Stoyanova (Bulgarian: Антонина Стоянова), born Naydenova, is a Bulgarian IP lawyer, diplomat and social activist, who was First Lady of Bulgaria between 1997 and 2002, as the wife of the then president of Bulgaria Petar Stoyanov (1997–2002). She got her law degree and Phd degree in international relations from the University of Leipzig.
Early life and education
Antonina Stoyanova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in a family of Bulgarian intellectuals. One of her grand mothers Maria Sutitch participated in the Revival Revolution for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish Ocupation, and fought under the leadership of the revolutionary hero Georgi Benkovski. She is related to Hristo Punev, member of the National Parliament before 1944 and Olga Petrova, a famous actress at the National Theatre. Mrs Stoyanvova is also related to the Bulgarian graphiker Veselin Staikov. After her education in an English Language School in Plovdiv, she went to study at the University of Leipzig, Germany, where she completed her Bachelor and Master's degree in International Law at the top of her year. She joined the Bulgarian bar in 1979 and practiced law until 1992 when she became diplomat at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the transition period in Bulgaria, Mrs Stoyanova toured for six months in USA as part of the Bulgarian legal delegation to exchange information for the drafting of the New democraric Constitution to be adopted. In 1992 she practiced commercial law in Cologne, Germany. She was posted as a diplomat at the Bulgarian Embassy in London, UK in charge of the legal affairs, in 1992. In 1996 her husband Petar Stoyanov was elected President of Bulgaria and she returned to the country. As a first lady of Bulgaria Mrs Stoyanova dedicated her activity to social and cultural projects. In 1998 Mrs Stoyanova founded the Values Foundation /www.values.bg/ , which main purpose is to assist and promote the development of the Bulgarian art, education and science, as part of the European culture, as well as to represent and promote their achievements abroad. The Values Foundation aims both at supporting and asserting traditional Bulgarian values as well as at contributing to the process of exposing the Bulgarian culture to the world. After the mandate of her husband, in 2002, Antonina Stoyanova went to work as a lawyer at the World Intellectual Property Organisation - WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2015 she returned to her country and renewed her activity as Predsident of the Values Foundation in Sofia. Mrs Stoyanova speaks besides Bulgarian also German, English, French and Russian.
In 1978 as a trainee at the Plovdiv Regional Court, she met the fututre President and husband Petar Stoyanov. They married in 1979. Her children are Stefan Stoyanov, born 1979 and Teofana Stoyanova, born 1990. She had a pioneering role as a First lady in Bulgaria.
Medals and awards
Grand Cordon of the Order of the precious crown, awarded to Mrs Stoyanova at the State Visit in Japan, 1997.
Grand Cross of the Order of the Redemeer, awarded by the President of the Republic of Greece, 1999.
Appreciation award by the Association of friends of children with cancer, awarded by Mrs Marianna Vardinoyanis, 08.06.2015.
Merito civil, awarded by the King and Queen of Spain, 14.07.1999.
Dame Comander Grand Cross, awarded by the King of Sweden, 2000.
The Grand Cross, awarded by the Queen of Denmark, 2000.