National Program

To apply for the 2024 training cycle please click here.

Program overview

The National Program “Governing Skills” is targeted to young political and civic leaders from parliamentary represented political parties in Bulgaria, representatives of the central and local administrations, civic leaders from civil and professional organizations who work in prioritized areas on strategic level such as education, health care, social policy, ecology, energy, judicial system, local self-government and civic participation.  It is aimed at forming new political and civic culture among young leaders and strengthening morale principles for their present and future development.

The main objective of the program is its development as a clear and accurate mechanism for connecting different parts of the political spectrum with each other as well as of the political and the civil sectors. It is a place for transfer of knowledge and skills and strategic thinking development. The program is aimed at developing a new type of political and civic culture among young leaders and strengthening of moral principles to their present and future development.

The beginning of the Program was in 2002. A unique concept, not only for Bulgaria, 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 several elements:

  1. Presentation of basic political concepts and platforms
  2. Analysis of contemporary situation and key topics for the society
  3. Searching for practical solutions to pressing problems
  4. Behavioral trainings that develop basic leadership skills

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 four 4-days training seminars conducted from November through March. The final 5th seminar is the World Forum for Democracy, which is organized by the Council of Europe and takes place in Strasbourg in November. Part of the training is a visit to European institutions in Brussels.

Since 2002 above 800 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.

Program goals:

  1. Outlining the moral principles on which modern politics should be based, considering the change of generations in Bulgarian political life and the possibility the School to offer its views on the ethical rules of political behavior and speech
  2. View as a priority policy-making based on evidence, decicion-making “beyond the mandate” both on local and national levels and stimulating taking strategic policy actions
  3. Knowledge and skills capacity building of young leaders to actively participate in the European political debate shaping the European agenda
  4. Developing of innovations, network communications, online learning and working methods as a long-term strategic advantage of the young leaders

Program Participants

The Program targets young political leaders from the parliamentary represented parties, representatives of municipal and regional administrations, of non-governmental and professional organizations.  The School makes every effort to ensure gender, age, regional and professional balance.Each class has a balance between participants from political parties and civil society organizations, as between 70% and 60 % are representatives of political parties and 30%-40% – of civic organizations.

Training methods and lecturers

The applied training methods are based on intense and interactive approach. Participants acquire new knowledge, skills, values and behavioural 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 and take part in informed public debate. To achieve these, the training methods used include lectures, discussions, participation in simulations, role plays and case studies, 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 experts, public figures, politicians. Most of them have significant practical experience in the areas, where they teach. Small group work is facilitated by professional moderators, experts in group dynamic trainings.


Upon successful completion of the National Program, each participant receives a certificate issued by the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” and the Council of Europe.


The National Program “Governing skills” is implemented with the financial support from 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, the America for Bulgaria Foundation.


Each year the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” makes an assessment of the National Program “Governing Skills”. It consists of three parts – the level of knowledge of graduates, the development of skills of the participants and the satisfaction of the group from the program. The assessment supports the whole process of programming and improves the effectiveness of the training.