First International Olympiad in Linguistics (2003)
In early September 2003 the First International Olympiad in Linguistics in history was held in the mountain resort Borovetz, Bulgaria.
The idea of holding such an event stems from the experience with the Olympics in Linguistics and Mathematics organised in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Since 1965 some three to five hundred secondary school students have been participating annually in the Moscow Linguistic Olympiads, many of them later going on to study linguistics in college and becoming professional linguists. Since 1995 the Olympiads have been held in St. Petersburg as well. A full account of the Moscow Olympiads (in Russian) is available here and at ling.narod.ru.
Organisers and participants
Since 1984 linguistic contests have also been held regularly in Bulgaria. In recent years similar events have been organised in the United States and the Netherlands. Additionally, teams of winners of the Moscow Linguistic Olympiad have successfully competed in Bulgaria and vice versa, demonstrating good potential for international cooperation in the field. At this stage the idea of holding an International olympiad was born. The first International Organising Committee was chaired by Professor Alexander E. Kibrik, Head of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the Philological Faculty of the Lomonosov Moscow State University; it comprised professors and students of this University, the Russian State University for the Humanities, research fellows from several institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, high school teachers from Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as researchers and teachers from Bulgaria, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Teams of four students aged 15 to 19 were selected for participation in the International Olympiad. There were eight teams. Two teams represented Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg), Bulgaria also sent two teams. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and the Netherlands were each represented by one team. Boris Gelfer (Lyceum "School #2"), Elena Maslova (Moscow State Fifty-Seventh School), Boris Turosky (Gymnasium #1514), and Maria Shkapa (School #525) represented Moscow; Yulia Glazova (Anichkov Lyceum), the sisters Polina and Sofia Oskolskaya (Second Gymnasium at the St. Petersburg State University), and Alexandra Petrova (Classical Gymnasium #610) represented St. Petersburg. The full list of participants can be found here.
Dr. Ivan Derzhanski, senior researcher at the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, author of many linguistic problems and President of the Jury of all linguistic contests in Bulgaria, was elected President of the International Jury consisting of himself, Alexander Berdichevsky (Moscow State University), Dr. Boris Iomdin (Institute for Russian Language, Russian Academy of Sciences), and Dr. Elena Muravenko (Department for Russian Language, Russian State University for the Humanities), members of the Problem Committee and the Jury of Moscow Linguistic Olympics.