Summer Academy for Strengthening Democracy in

the Euro-Med region (2017)


Bulgarian school of politics «Dimitry Panitza»( BSOP )

Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” was established in 2001. It is part of the network of schools of political studies under the auspices of the Council of Europe, in which 21 organisations from Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and the South Mediterranean region take part. The BSoP`s mission is to support the creation of a community of civic and political leaders with an active stand in national, European and global political and public life, devoted to contemporary democratic values of pluralism, tolerance and informed debate.

BSoP has extensive experience in several key areas. Through training programs the School aims to encourage the process of democratization in Bulgaria and the countries from the Western Balkans, Black Sea region and the South Mediterranean.

In the National Program “Governing Skills” public and political leaders from parliamentary represented parties, NGOs, central and local administration, trade unions and magistrates are trained. The aim of the trainings is to promote public debate on important topics such as principles of effective and ethical governance, human rights, gender equality, and supremacy of law and judiciary reform. The BSoP maintains a network of more than 690 alumni of the National program, and supports their work on important public causes.

From 2003 to 2011 more than 200 young public and political leaders from Southeast European states went through the Regional Programme “Political Debate in Southeast Europe”. The goal of this programme was to promote a transnational constructive dialogue on common problems for the region. 

The School also actively offers its know-how to the countries in North Africa. The Tunisian school of politics was founded with the support of BSoP. The main role of the Bulgarian School is to provide methodological assistance to the Tunisian School of Politics and to help in its capacity building. The Citizen School of Political Studies in Morocco and BSoP have a strategic agreement for cooperation and exchange of expertise. Due to the Bulgarian expertise, the establishment of the Civic and Political school in Yaoundé, Cameroon, was supported.

The School supports the methodological and institutional development of Ukrainian and Moldovan Schools of Politics and shares its specific expertise in the field of the accession to NATO and EU. BSoP is contributing towards the creation of better training opportunities for politicians, government officials and leaders of non-governmental sector through the implementation of training of trainers’ projects. 

The Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” also works for the promotion of civil participation in Bulgaria’s public life. The School does researches of the forms of institutional public control and supports means of informed choice for the citizens through various initiatives and on-line tools. Part of BSoP’s activities is also the topic about climate change and energy, as the realization of sustainable low-carbon growth both for the economies of Bulgaria and Europe and in the world is one of the biggest challenges ahead of the humanity today. The School has a long-standing tradition in the area of philanthropy. With numerous initiatives, it aims to revive the value of charity in the society and runs public debates on problems and challenges that philanthropy faces in Bulgaria.

The Citizenship School of Political Studies ( CSPS )

The Citizenship School of Political Studies in Morocco was established in December 2012 with the aim to support Moroccan leaders who actively participate in public and political life.

The School was created by 40 national and regional non-governmental organizations, which work in different areas of democratic government and human rights, and has being supported by the Council of Europe. The focus of its activities is on training of young Moroccan leaders in the areas of national public policies and on topics related to challenges in applying the new Constitution of the country, adopted in 2011. The School strives at creating conditions for debate, bridging theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and making political processes more accessible and understandable to all.

The annual training cycle includes a cohort of 30 participants - men and women from all regions of the country. The trainings are in the form of seminars, round tables and conferences, in which national and international experts with diverse experience are invited.

The School's mission is to support young leaders from political parties, trade unions, NGOs, public and local administration and to stimulate public debate related to human rights and democratization.

The School is a member of the Association of Schools of Political Studies and is part of the CoE efforts to promote democratic reforms in the Southern Mediterranean.

Tunisian School of Politics  ( TSOP )

The Tunisian School of Politics is a joint initiative of Tunisian Centre of Mediterranean and International Studies, the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy and Demo Finland.

Its overall objective is to strengthen inclusive democracy and youth participation in politics in Tunisia. For implementing this objective, the specific objective of the School’s work is to increase the capacity and skills of politically active youth.

This is achieved by establishing a cross-party training network of leading youth politicians. The training network takes the form of a Tunisian School of Politics (TSoP) that targets young people already active in political parties. The TSoP consists of courses that provide youth politicians with increased knowledge in multiparty system and democratic practices. The courses also provide them with the necessary skills and tools to influence political decision-making process in a more effective manner.

The overarching methodology of the TSoP is based on the importance of cross-party engagement in supporting the development of the Tunisian democratic system and capacity-building of its chosen target group - youth politicians. The cross-party approach encourages constructive engagement and communication between different political parties which will be vital for the democratic transition and stability of Tunisia in the longer term.


The Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe

 Building a new democratic political culture

For twenty years, the Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe have developed to provide training to emerging leaders aspiring to build a modern, democratic political culture. Today there are Schools in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and part of the Maghreb region in Northern Africa.

The Schools of Political Studies offer an open and fair-minded space where dialogue and exchange are encouraged between upcoming leaders active in the political, economic, social, media, cultural and environmental spheres. Annual cycles of seminars and other events address themes related   to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Participants are selected from various political parties, public administrations, different sectors of civil society and from minority groups. In this way, the Schools provide an opportunity to bring together stakeholders from all elements and shades of society who otherwise rarely communicate with each other; in some countries the Schools of Political Studies may be the only forum where such dialogue is possible.

A success story of the Council of Europe

The vitality of the European democratic model is under stress and faces a wide range of challenges such as political extremism, populism, impacts of economic and financial crises, electoral absenteeism and political stagnation. Responding to such threats is at the heart of the Council of Europe’s mandate and the Schools of Political Studies are reliable and active partners in this task, functioning as effective multipliers for the values and standards promoted by the Organisation.

At the same time, the Council of Europe offers the Schools a patronage that enables them to adhere to the high benchmarks advocated by the Organisation. This is particularly important in countries where they may be subject to political pressure.

Recognising this mutually beneficial relationship, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has identified the Schools of Political Studies as a priority area for the Organisation. A continuous effort is being made to further mainstream the Schools into the activities of other sectors of the Organisation, for example standard setting and monitoring bodies, capacity-building activities, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

An effective and expanding Network

The Network of the Schools of Political Studies was created by the Council of Europe in 2005 and has blossomed into one of the most successful and well-functioning European networks of democratic leadership training. It strengthens the ties amongst the Schools and between the Schools and the Council of Europe and enables the Schools to co-operate in a broad and diverse community of interest, whilst at the same time maintaining their specificity and autonomy. The Network helps to secure the independence of the Schools as well as their adherence to democratic values.

The Association of Schools of Political Studies: a Network for Democracy in the 21st century

In 2008, the Directors of the Schools of Political Studies founded the European Association of Schools of Political Studies in order to strengthen ties, stimulate development and support the Council of Europe’s activities to promote the Schools’ Network. Endowed with a legal framework, the Schools now have a tool which allows the Network to communicate with a voice of its own.

European Endowment for Democracy

The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a grant-giving organisation that supports civil society actors struggling for democratic change in their countries in the European Neighbourhood. A joint effort of the Member States and European Union institutions, EED is an independent private law foundation with its seat in Brussels.
EED supports pro-democratic civil society organisations, movements and individual activists acting in favour of a pluralistic multiparty system regardless of their size or formal status. EED also provides assistance to young leaders, independent media and journalists, provided they adhere to core democratic values and human rights, as well as subscribe to principles of non-violence. Women rights organisations and female activists are among the recipients of support and gender perspective is mainstreamed in all EED-funded actions.

Complementarity and added value
The European Endowment for Democracy operates in the most flexible and effective manner reflecting the situation, the specific context and the needs of its beneficiaries. It engages in regular consultations with relevant EU institutions and other actors in order to avoid duplication and ensure synergy, complementarity and added-value to EU instruments and Member States bilateral activities.
The EED draws on the experience of democratic transition in the Member States of the EU.

European and independent
The European Endowment for Democracy has been created to promote the European values of freedom and democracy. A joint effort of the Member States and European Union institutions, the European Endowment for Democracy remains an independent private law foundation with its seat in Brussels.

Fostering - not exporting - democracy and freedom
The European Endowment for Democracy advances and encourages “deep and sustainable democracy” in transition countries and in societies struggling for democratisation, with initial, although not exclusive focus, on the European Neighbourhood.
Democracy and freedom cannot be imported or imposed from outside. National ownership is indispensible to ignite the engine of change and ensure sustainable and inclusive democratisation process. The European Endowment for Democracy stands ready to assist the democratic change in the spirit of solidarity and partnership.

"The European Endowment for Democracy makes a real difference to democracy activists in the EU Neighbourhood, … with its speed, expertise and flexibility...”

Elmar Brok, Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of EED’s Board of Governors