With the Regional programs for Southeastern Europe and North Africa we share the unique experience of the School with training representatives of different political parties and civic organizations in tolerance, pluralism and informed debate. We prepare young leaders to manage democratic processes and build active civil society in the Balkans and North African countries. We also stimulate active dialogue and cooperation on political, economic and social problems, key for the respective regions, encourage application of best practices and models for successful reforms.
Since 2003, more than 200 young political and civic leaders from Southeastern Europe - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro - have been trained in the Regional Program “Political Debate in Southeastern Europe.”
In 2010 we laid the foundations of our program for North Africa. Representatives of six African countries – Benin, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Guinea, Morocco and Mauritania, attended a special course aimed at supporting establishing a school of politics in Africa.
Regional Program for Southeastern Europe
The Regional Program of the School of Politics was founded in 2003. Its primary purpose is to promote active exchange of experience and ideas for cooperation and democratic development in Southeast Europe. The Program is implemented in cooperation with schools from the Network of Schools of Political Studies, established under the auspices of the Council of Europe, whose main objective is to support democracy, human rights, rule of law and European values in the transition countries of Southeastern Europe, Russia and the European CIS countries.
Over the past 7 years, more than 200 young political and civic leaders from Southeastern Europe - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro - have been trained in the Regional Program “Political Debate in Southeastern Europe.”
The Regional Program seeks to promote the development of democratic political process in the Western Balkans, and to provide a forum for prominent young political and civic leaders from the region to study and analyze, in a constructive dialogue, the underlying values and principles of Western democracy and human rights, as well as the responsibilities of public and political leaders for transparent government consistent with the law.
- To develop skills of responsible and ethical leadership and good governance among young political and civic leaders from countries in Southeast Europe by preparing them for management of democratic processes and building of an active civil society in their countries
- To promote transnational cooperation and constructive dialogue between political activists, experts, academicians, political parties, civil society and media in Southeast Europe region as key to political, social, and economic problems
- Through participants’ training and research initiatives, to promote the development of models of positive reforms in countries that may become models for positive development in the region
- To create an active network of transnational political and civic leaders prepared to participate in public debate and to work towards the development and establishment of best practices in conflict resolution in the region, human rights, minority integration, regional security and regional cooperation.
Participants and Selection Criteria
Each year, between 25 and 35 young political and civic leaders are selected for participation from the countries in the region - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia. The program includes an equal number of participants from each country. Participants are representatives of political parties, civil society and NGOs in the region. The required minimal age for participants is 25 years, and they must have at least 2 years of professional experience in the areas chosen for the program.
Main Activities of the Program
- Training seminars and conferences
- Meetings with political leaders and representatives of official authorities at national, regional and local level in the host country
- Public discussion of economic, political and social issues of importance to the region
- Individual and group projects of participants in the Program, such as reports on the design and implementation of policies, public opinion research
The Program consists of a series of three 5-day training seminars held between May and November each year. Each country of those participating in the Program hosts a seminar at some point of time. Sessions include lectures and presentations, public hearings, working in small groups, interactive exercises. Speakers and moderators in the
Program are well-known scientists, experts, former and current political leaders, representatives of official authorities of Bulgaria, Europe and USA.
Visits to various municipal and national institutions in the host country are organized within each seminar: ministries, national parliaments, town halls. Thus, participants have the opportunity to communicate directly with existing politicians and learn how the government and political parties operate at different levels.
Upon successful completion of the Program, participants receive credits and Certificate of Specialization in Political Management from the New Bulgarian University and the Council of Europe. Credits may be used for further training in the masters program at NBU.
Throughout the years, the Regional Program for Southeastern Europe has been supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, “East East: Partnership Beyond Boarders” Program, the Open Society Institute, the Council of Europe, the Organisation Internacionale De La Francophonie, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and the Freedom House.
Regional Program for North Africa
In July 2010 representatives of seven African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Guinea, Morocco and Mauritania, attended a special course aimed at supporting establishing a school of politics in Africa.
- To transfer to participants the unique experience of the Bulgarian School of Politics with training representatives of different political parties and civic organizations in tolerance, pluralism and informed debate,
- To support establishing a school of politics in one or a group of several African countries, which could encourage development of consensus thinking, leadership and skills for effective government among African politicians, parliamentarians, representatives of civil society and media.
- To provide opportunities to Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian School of Politics in particular, to share their experience with transferring these values and skills.
Participants and Selection Criteria
The participants in the Program were eight representatives of political parties, administrative bodies, civic organizations and media from different African countries. Selection of participants was made by the Organisation Internacionale De La Francophonie. All participants were students of the 5th Summer University for Democracy at the Council of Europe, in which the sixteen schools of political sciences from the Network at the Council of Europe also took part.
Main Activities of the Program
- Special presentations how the Bulgarian School of Politics works – of the team, of the small group moderators, of the Class 2010 of the National Program, as well as of the School Alumni.
- Meetings with Bulgarian politicians – president Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev, Svetoslav Malinov – member of the European Parliament, and the members of parliament Monika Panayotova, Yuliana Koleva and Mihail Nikolovski.
- Meetings with experts from Bulgarian institutions – Administration of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Discussions with professors from the New Bulgarian University
- Meetings with the directors of IFAG, CREFECO and the French Cultural Institute in Sofia
- Dinner with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa in Sofia Her Excellency Sheila Camerer.
- Interview with a Bulgarian media
Upon successful completion of the Program, participants receive certificates from the Bulgarian School of Politics.
The Program is financed by the Organisation Internacionale De La Francophonie.
The Tunisian School of Politics
The Tunisian School of Politics was launched on 26th February 2012. It was established with the support of the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Dutch Institute of Multiparty Democracy, DemoFinland, the Tunisian Center of Mediterranean and International Studies and the Organisation Internacionale De La Francophonie. Mr. Julian Popov, the Chairman of the BSoP Board of Directors, is a member of the Strategic Council of the Tunisian School. From the same beginning, the Bulgarian School of Politics provides methodological support to the Tunisian School. A series of study visits of representatives from the Tunisian School to courses from the BSoP National Program was held, and meetings with lecturers, small group moderators and the School’s team, as well as with participants in the Program, alumni and members of the Consultative Council were organized. Bulgarian experts also visited Tunisia for transferring experience and providing methodological support during the seminars. The Bulgarian School of Politics developed a special training manual, which was initially adapted to the specifics of the training process in Tunisia. The manual is in a process of а refinement and enrichment and will be used in the trainings seminars of the Tunisian School. By the end of 2012, the second class will graduate the School. The participants are young prominent Tunisian civic and political leaders, including over 30 members of the Constituent Assembly.