The National Program “Governing Skills” is targeted to young political and civic leaders from parliamentary represented political parties in Bulgaria, representatives of non-governmental organizations, central and local administrations and media. It is aimed at forming new European-type political and civil culture among young leaders and strengthening morale principles for their present and future development.
The beginning of the Program was in 2002. A unique concept not only for Bulgaria but also for the region, it trains future creators and implementers of public policies, and prepares them with vision, knowledge and responsibility for effective governance and leadership, based on the rule of law, respect to human rights, transparency, accountability, and open dialogue.
The Program “Governing Skills” is focused on political management and public policies and combines three elements:
- Presentation of the basic political concepts and platforms
- Analysis of contemporary situation and key topics for the society
- Searching for practical solutions of pressing problems
The Program is based on the balance between theoretical and practical, and between the main issues and ad-hoc topics from public and political life in Bulgaria, as well as further development in Europe and the world. It is designed as a series of five 5-days training seminars conducted from September through June. The final 5th seminar is organized by the Council of Europe and takes place in Strasbourg at the beginning of July.
Since 2002 above 400 people have graduated the Program. Many of them hold key positions in political parties, governmental institutions or civil organizations and continue their active participation in different activities organized by the School.
- To provide opportunities to young political and civic leaders from the whole public spectrum for discussing together problems from the public agenda and search for common decisions through developing particular policies
- To introduce participants to the basic ideas and concepts from political theory referring to principles and functioning of democratic institutions and democratic political process, to enrich their knowledge for good governance and how to develop long-term political strategies, to encourage transparency in the decision making process
- To provide participants with opportunities to improve their skills in the areas of leadership, communication and public speaking, and to help them develop their abilities for participation in public consultations and public debates
- To facilitate ongoing dialogue and cooperation between current participants in the Program and alumni of the School, thus contributing to the formation of a new generation of political and civic leaders in Bulgaria
Target group & eligibility criteria
The Program targets young political leaders from the parliamentary represented parties, representatives of municipal and regional administrations, of non-governmental organizations and civic groups as well as journalists. On average, Program participants are below 40 years of age. The School makes every effort to ensure gender balance, as well as equal representation of religious and ethnic minorities in the Program.
Each class has a balance between participants from political parties and civil society organizations, as 75 % are representatives of political parties and 25% - of civil organizations. Candidates for the Program are nominated by the leaderships of the parliamentary represented political parties, by civil society organizations and alumni of the Program.
Training methods and lecturers
The applied training methods are based on the interactive approach. Participants acquire new knowledge, skills, values and behavioral models through creation of learning environment encouraging active involvement and making them co-authors of the learning process. The trainees have the opportunity to explore different points of view by identifying with them and taking part in informed public debate. To achieve these, the training methods used include lecturers, discussions, work on individual and group assignments, participation in simulations, role plays, brain storming sessions and case studies, out door trainings, group homework tasks and individual final theses.
In each course there are special panels in which participants work in small groups to develop their skills. Specific skills are also trained through working on particular problems, presented during lectures and discussions. Lecturers in the Program are prominent Bulgarian and foreign politicians, business leaders, public figures, university professors and journalists. Most of the lecturers have significant practical experience in the areas, where they teach. Small group work is facilitated by professional moderators.
Upon successful completion of the National Program, each participant receives a Certificate for Specialization in Political Management from the New Bulgarian University and a Certificate for participation in the Summer University for Democracy at the Council of Europe. All graduates of the School become members of the School’s Alumni Association.
The National Program “Governing skills” is implemented with the financial support from the America for Bulgaria Foundation and the Council of Europe. Since its establishment, the partners of the Program have also been the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs - MATRA Program and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.