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Friday, 05 July 2019 19:11 Велизар Георгиев

balkanska_programa_cveta_2019_saitThe penultimate working day of the Regional Academy "European Perspective for the Western Balkans" was devoted to meetings and discussions with representatives of the state and local authorities.

The young leaders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia visited the Bulgarian National Assembly at the invitation of its President and a graduate of the Bulgarian School of Politics Mrs. Cveta Karayancheva. Before talking to her, the participants in the Academy attended the session of the National Assembly. During the meeting, they asked the President of the National Assembly to share with them the experience of Bulgaria in the negotiation process for EU membership and in the harmonization of legislation with European norms. After that, the representatives of the seven Balkan countries had a tour of the National Assembly and got acquainted with its history.

The meeting with the Mayor of Sofia, Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, was held in the meeting room of the city council. The Mayor of Sofia spoke about the opportunities our capital had received with Bulgaria's EU membership. Mrs. Fandakova provided examples of a waste-treatment plant, the subway, the modernization of urban land transport, the opportunity for young people to travel and educate themselves around the world.

"The BSoP is my school. Before I became a mayor, I attended lectures and classes at the School and felt very happy. Certainly, the BSoP has given me a lot, but one piece of advice is extremely important: have fun during your studies, because the work as a politician is very difficult", the Mayor of Sofia addressed the young leaders.

The working program of the day ended with a meeting at the Council of Ministers with the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Tomislav Donchev. For more than an hour, the participants talked with the him about economic issues. Tjey also asked him about his opinion on the need for a change in the profile of the Balkan politician.

Afterwards, it was time to get acquainted with the history and sights of Sofia. With the help of a guide, the young people, participants in the Academy, had a look at the Bulgarian capital.

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 19:43 Велизар Георгиев

balkan_academy_iotova_sait"The exchange of experience between Bulgaria as an EU member state and the countries of the Western Balkans is extremely valuable. Yesterday, roaming prices have dropped in Western Balkan countries, and by 2021 they should be dropped altogether. I hope that the walls between the countries in the region will fall." This was stated by the Vice-President Iliyana Yotova, who was the first guest at the Regional Academy "European Perspective for the Western Balkans" organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics. Yotova thanked the School for its activities as a whole, for the organization of the Academy and for the revival of the tradition of conducting international forums with participants from this region.

27 young civic leaders from Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia are participating in the Western Balkans Regional Academy “European Perspective for the Western Balkans". Among them are journalists, experts, civil servants, representatives of non-governmental organizations. All of them are graduates of the political schools in their countries.

In front of the participants, the Vice-President of Bulgaria expressed her conviction that the place of the countries of the Western Balkans was in the European Union. According to Yotova, the issue of the enlargement of the Union should not come out of the agenda of Europe. The Vice-President also highlighted Bulgaria's leading role in the European integration of the Western Balkans and said that there was no dilemma between economic partnership with the Western Balkans and political enlargement.

The visit of the Vice President ended with many questions from the participants.

The Regional Academy "European Perspective for the Western Balkans" is held from 2 to 6 July in Sofia.

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 19:40 Велизар Георгиев

balkan_academy_zaharieva_saitThe Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva officially opened the Regional Academy "The European Perspective for the Western Balkans", organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics. It involves young leaders from seven Balkan countries, including Bulgaria. In front of the young people, Zaharieva confirmed Bulgaria's support for the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkan countries and stressed that our country continued to persuade the skeptics of EU enlargement in its necessity.

"We are constantly working to persuade opponents of the idea of enlargement. The countries of the Western Balkans are much closer geographically to some skeptical countries than others in the EU", Zaharieva said.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister noted that the progress of the Western Balkan countries towards European integration depended on the concrete results they had to show in implementing the reforms. She stressed that no one outside can solve the problems on the Balkans without the countries in the region doing so.

"I am proud to be from the Balkans. We should not deny our history or our problems and throw them away. We need to solve them so that you, the youth, stay here and your countries become part of the EU", Ekaterina Zaharieva pointed out.

Her visit ended with many questions from the participants and many photos.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 17:15 Велизар Георгиев

parlament_2019_saitThe Head of the Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Bulgaria Mr. Teodor Stoychev, the MEP Mr. Asim Ademov, the sociologists Mr. Stefan Georgiev and Mr. Dobromir Zhivkov, the deputy director of the European Council for Foreign Policy and director of its Sofia office Ms. Vesela Cherneva discussed with young people and graduates of the BSoP the expected and unexpected results of the 2019 Euro elections which took place at the end of May. This happened during the discussion "The 2019 European Elections - the Balance. Prospects and Challenges for the New Members of the European Parliament".

The forum was held on the 20thof June 2019 at Grand Hotel Sofia and was the final event of the project "Europe Hears You. Vote!", which the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" implements with the support of the European Parliament. The event was moderated by the host of the BNT “Referendum” program Ms. Dobrina Cheshmedzhieva.

At the end of the discussion, the winners of the audio-visual competition "Europe Hears You. Vote!" were announced and awarded. Among the dozens of performances sent, a jury of five members: Prof. Ingrid Shikova - founder of the European Studies major and lecturer at Sofia University, Boris Pankin - director, Danail Shcherbanov - photographer, Tanya Chuntova - public relations at the EP Liaison Office in Bulgaria and Bilyana Bogoeva from the  BSoP, chose the three winners and the winners of two more incentive awards. The 18-year-old Nikolay Petrov won first place, and with it a trip to Brussels and a visit to the European Parliament. Second place and a camera were grabbed by students from the National High School of Commerce, Plovdiv. The third place was taken by Yana Voinova, who received a mobile phone. The audience award, a video camera, was won by Radoslav Sviretsov.

Monday, 10 June 2019 17:18 Велизар Георгиев

blagotvoritelna_vecher_vipusk_2019"Books - a Window to Bulgaria". Under this motto, the Class of 2019 of the Bulgarian School of Politics organized a charity event in support of its cause. The event was held on the 8th of June 2019 and gathered over 100 guests at the Military Club in Sofia. Among them were a minister, a deputy minister, MPs, municipal councilors, many civic and political leaders, graduates of the BSoP from different cohorts. The last class of the School continued the tradition of its predecessors to choose and work on a charitable initiative. This year it was to raise funds to support Bulgarian communities abroad with Bulgarian literature, because "Bulgaria is where there are Bulgarians, and the word is what keeps us alive for centuries."

"Today, here, we will all support the noble endeavor to spread some of the Bulgarian national culture among our communities abroad. We hope to raise funds for the purchase of children's and teenage literature from Bulgarian authors, which we know is necessary for our compatriots abroad", the event's presenter Mr. Lyuben Dilov - son, told the audience and drew attention to the fact that Dimi Panitza, a founder and a patron of the BSoP, was also a great philanthropist. The Administrative Director of the School Mr. Velizar Georgiev thanked the Class of 2019 for continuing to develop and promote charity, which had been a leading cause of Dimi Panitza.

During the ensuing charity auction, the guests bade on nearly 20 works of art, personal belongings and sports equipment with the signatures of our great athletes. Among them were a picture painted personally by the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Krasen Kralev, an icon, a candlestick and a statuette of wrought iron, a personal hat of the world outdoor swimming champion Petar Stoychev, a ball with the signatures of the girls from the national rhythmic gymnastics team, a ball autographed by all CSKA football players, T-shirt signed by Dimitar Berbatov and others. At the end of the auction, it was revealed that over BGN 5,500 had been raised, which would go to buy Bulgarian literature and, along with the books that each guest brought as an entrance to the ball, would be sent to Bulgarian communities abroad.

Thursday, 16 May 2019 14:22 Велизар Георгиев

ulitca_panitza_saitA small street of a symbolic place in Sofia - between "Narodno Sabranie" Sqr. and "Vassil Levski" Blvd, parallel to "Tsar Osvoboditel" Blvd. - is today named after Dimi Panitza. On the street "Dimitry-Ivan Evstatiev Panitza" is the home where the great patriot and philanthropist was born. Politicians, public figures, citizens, relatives and many graduates of the Bulgarian School of Politics participated in the opening ceremony.

"Dimi's fate is related to the democratic process in Bulgaria and the strengthening of civil society in Bulgaria. In the years of the toughest transition, he helped strengthen democratic values and left behind many followers. I am glad that on the eve of May 24th we are sending this message of honor to the great Bulgarian and democrat, who worked tirelessly for the place of Bulgaria in the developed democracies." This is what the mayor of the capital Yordanka Fandakova said in an emotional speech at the opening of the street. She told the attendees that she had personally had the honor to learn from Dimi at the Bulgarian School of Politics, and that she had received many valuable lessons from him - about strict discipline, political controversies and debates that were important to a democratic society. However, for her the most important of Dimi's lessons is that there are causes and goals that should unite the whole society.

"Dimi Panitza is a man of honor and dignity who grew up in a spirit of sound morality. Each of his steps was highly ethical," excitedly told about his closest friend the great Bulgarian physicist Prof. Minko Balkanski. He focused on Dimi's life work and the view that education is the key, the most important factor in promoting the development of one community.

H.E. the French Ambassador to Bulgaria, Eric Lebedel, hoped that this act would be followed by similar gestures of tribute to the Bulgarians who lived abroad for years but returned to work and donate to their country. "People like Dimi Panitza, Prof. Balkanski and others - although they are citizens of the world, these people are first Bulgarians. They are deeply connected with their country. And these deep roots are seen by their visits and their causes. "

Marina von Krysersonon, a niece of Dimi Panitza, thanked on behalf of the family to all who had implemented and supported the initiative. "Dimi has always taught us to tell the truth, to be honest and valiant. These were the values that he always and everywhere advocated. It is great the street in front of our family home to bear our generic name."

Together with the opening of "Dimitry-Ivan Evstatiev Panitza" Str., in the Largo is already arranged an open-air exhibition, which will introduce the citizens and guests of the capital with the life, the work and the contribution of the great patriot.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 14:41 Велизар Георгиев

oak_conference_saitI have seen neighborhoods in Sliven and Montana, which resemble neighborhoods in Africa, said at a conference on children problems the representative of UNICEF in Bulgaria.

Despite Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, poverty in the country is still high. 40% of the children in the country live in poverty, while in Europe they are on average 24%. This was stated by Dr. Jane Muita, a UNICEF representative in Bulgaria. She added that she had visited neighborhoods in Sliven and Montana, where she surprisingly found that they resembled neighborhoods in Africa. Dr. Muita was among the participants at a conference on "Children's Policies - Problems, Solutions, Foreign Experience." The forum was held on Tuesday and it was the final part of the project "The Voice of Bulgarian Children", in which the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" works together with the National Network for Children. The UNICEF representative in Bulgaria spoke to more than 70 participants in the conference, including current and former MPs, representatives of ministries, local and court authorities, social assistance agencies and NGOs about the possibilities of supporting the state as well as the local authorities in the reforms of the child care system and deinstitutionalization. Dr. Muita noted that in 2000 more than 30,000 children were in institutions, whereas in April 2019, their number is less than 500. In order to share Bulgarian knowledge and experience in this process UNICEF has supported visits by delegations from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and North Macedonia.

The conference part of the project "The Voice off the Bulgarian Children" supported by OAK Foundation was opened by the Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection, Dr. Eleonora Lilova. "The children's voice is important and the more we listen to the children, the better our way will be," Lilova said, adding that the social challenges are extremely high and despite the economic upturn in Bulgaria, there is still an uneven distribution of the incomes.

"Bulgarians live mainly in the virtual world. We are at the first place in Europe in terms of using social networks, but children today are becoming more and more lonely. The topics of children's loneliness as well as social inequalities are the basis of the strategic document, developed by experts from 9 ministries, ASS, NSSI, the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the National Drug Council, NSI, the Central Commission for Combating Juvenile Delinquency, the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria and 12 NGOs, members of the largest consultative body - the National Council for Child Protection in Bulgaria. According to the Constitution, family, motherhood and child are protected by the state, but a large part of the society does not know the norms in Bulgaria and they now try to impose a new rule - namely, no rules", said Dr. Lilova. Developing the competences of the children and their parents, developing the potential of each child, as well as the potential of all professionals working with children are among the main goals of the strategic document.

A national analysis of children's problems in Bulgaria, prepared on the basis of analyzes of all administrative regions in the country, was also presented at the conference. It covers four areas: education, health, justice and social protection. The document is commissioned by the Bulgarian School of Politics and its author is the expert on "working with children and families" Ivaylo Milanov.

"Poverty makes it difficult for children to access healthcare, education and development," Milanov said. According to him, 22.8% of the children in Bulgaria or every fourth or fifth child in our country grows without a parent or without two parents because they work abroad. The Northwest region is the most affected one by the emigration. This is the cause of antisocial behavior, alcohol and drug use, aggression, difficult interpersonal contacts, impaired communication, difficulties in the process of socialization, lack of self-control, tendency to impulsivity or isolation, dropping out of school. Departure abroad is the most common reason for leaving the classrooms of first to fourth grade students (3504 children) and fifth to eighth grades students (3328 children). Next are family reasons - for dropping out of 2251 children from the first to the fourth grade and 2944 from the fifth to the eighth grade. According to Milanov, the proportion of functionally illiterate people in the country is also threatened - people who can not read and write, can not manage their emotions and communicate and at same time become equal members of society with their adulthood.

„A key element in coping with dropping out of school is literacy," said the educational expert Mariana Georgieva, who presented good examples from European countries of solving children's problems. In Germany, for example, there are the so-called DAAD classes where children learn in order to gain decent language skills so they can easily get into the subject preparation. In Austria, there are also international schools where teachers have a great freedom in choosing a program while teaching the children. Unlike Bulgaria, in Germany it is not disgraceful for a child to repeat first or second class. This is an opportunity for children to catch up with the basic skills rather than lagging behind and leaving school. And for already dropped students and people over 18 without secondary education, there are schools named "Second chance".

At the conference on children's policies on local and national level also spoke the Mayor of Vratza Kalin Kamenov and the Sofia Ombudsman Lilia Hristova who shared solutions based on personal experience.

Friday, 19 April 2019 14:44 Велизар Георгиев

fokus_grupa_18_04_2019_saitTwelve representatives from the last three classes of the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza", including MPs, people with local experience, judges, professionals working with children, representatives of the civil and business sector, have discussed the challenges and opportunities in formulating adequate children's policies.

The aim of the focus group was that graduates of the BSoP share their opinion on the current status of the child protection system in Bulgaria as well as evaluate the training system of the organization in the field of children's policies. The public opinion leaders' willingness to participate in the formulation of child policies and system reforms has also been examined. Common goals and possible joint initiatives of the various stakeholders working on child and family issues have been identified.

The group discussion was part of the project "The Voice of Bulgarian Children", in which BSoP has been working for three years, thanks to the OAK Foundation.


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