Evgen Bavčar receives French state decoration
French Ambassador to Slovenia Pierre-Francois Mourier bestowed the state decoration saying that only great minds such as Bavčar's could turn a hard life into a shining story.
Bavčar said he was particularly moved that he received the award on French National Day, remembering the Storming of the Bastille. Bastille was a large prison, but there are still many small bastilles around the world today, he warned.
Last week, Bavčar also received a Citizen of Europe award, which is conferred by the European Parliament to individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves in strengthening European cooperation.
Bavčar was born in 1946 near the south-western town of Ajdovščina. He received a degree in philosophy and history at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts. He continued his studies in philosophy and aesthetics at the Sorbonne where he received a PhD in 1976.
He lost his sight at the age of 11, but this did not stop him from dedicating himself to photography. He has had more than 150 photographic exhibitions in France and elsewhere. Today, he lives between Slovenia and France.
Bavčar is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and an outspoken advocate of the blind and visually impaired. He has published several books, collaborates in radio and television shows and holds photography seminars around the world.
His activism for the rights of the blind and visually impaired is not just about expanding the use of braille, but about reaching beyond the borders of language to connect with people, the European Parliament wrote as it conferred him the Citizen of Europe award.