Yulia Gourkovska (1945 - 2001)

Programme Director, Political Research

Dju was a truly amazing person and experienced a number of amazing things during the 56 years of her life. But the most wonderful one was that she fulfilled her dreams. 
She crossed The Black Sea (1972), the Atlantic (1974), and the Pacific (1976)  on a lifeboat. In 777 days she sailed around the world on the yacht Tivia (Konrad’45, 1979-1981) together with husband Doncho and Yana, their six years old daughter. The trips were part of the PLANKTON research expedition initiated and accomplished by Yulia and Doncho Papazov.
She crossed India and Nepal, climbed to the Ama Dablam base camp (1987), and visited the Antarctic (1993).

Dju was a musician, graduated in 1968 from the Bulgarian Musical Academy, majoring piano and musical theory. For 22 years she was a sound director at the Documentary Film Studio “Vreme”.
Before the democratic changes in Bulgaria (1989) she was involved in the dissidents’ movements. In 1992 she became the chief of staff of the first democratically elected President Dr. Zheliu Zhelev. She was involved in the first Presidential Primaries in Bulgaria and resigned after Dr. Zhelev’s loss in 1996. She was program director at CLS (1996-2001)

Yulia Gourkovska (Dju) is co-author of three books:
“Across the Atlantic with Dju”, Narodna Mladej, Sofia, 1975; Progress, Moscow, 1976
“Across the Pacific with Dju”, Narodna Mladej, Sofia, 1977; Progress, Moscow, 1978
“Around the World with Yana”, Narodna mladej, Sofia, 1983; Progress, Moscow, 1984,1995
The President and the Presidency, November 1996; CLS’s occasional papers
Opposition Primaries ’96: Incumbent’s Angle, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington D.C. 1997
Could Bulgarian transition be a model for SEE, in “Bulgaria and EU Enlargement”, European Institute, Sofia, 2000

In 2002 the Centre for Liberal Strategies launched the annual Memorial Lectures DJU to commemorate Yulia Gourkovska (1945-2001)