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Saturday, 08 July 2017 18:24 School of Politics

Vice-President Iliyana Yotova arrived in Pravets in order to award the diplomas to the participants at this year's International Summer Academy of the Bulgarian School of Politics.

The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Andre Azoulay, Senior Advisor to the King of Morocco, the Ambassador of Morocco to Bulgaria H.E. Ms. Zakia El Midaoui and Mr. Michael Remmert, Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Department of Council of Europe.

"I am sure you have been looking for and have found a solution to overcome this crisis that has conquered our society. Over the past week you have heard many speakers, people with their own opinion, you have created many contacts and I am sure you will have solutions for some of the problems”, said the Vice-President of Bulgaria. Iliana Yotova did not miss to mention that the Bulgarian School of Politics has trained many of the current Bulgarian politicians and representatives of civil society.

Each of the 21 participants from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Bulgaria received their diploma personally from Mrs. Yotova with a wish for future success. No one missed the opportunity to take a photo for a memory with the Bulgarian Vice-President. The Executive Director of the Bulgarian School of Politics Mrs. Irina Alexieva gave each participant traditional Bulgarian souvenirs and wished good luck to the participants of the Academy. The day ended with a lot of photos, invitations and promises for visits in different countries.

Saturday, 08 July 2017 15:21 School of Politics

The Senior adviser to the Moroccan King Mohammed VI was the long-awaited guest lecturer on the last day of the International Summer Academy in Pravets. Graduated Journalism, Economics and International Relations in Paris, Andre Azoulay, who plays an important role in reforming the Moroccan economy through private sector development, spoke about the challenges that the Euro-Mediterranean region is facing. "In 1995, the Barcelona Process began with the desire of Europe and its partners in the Southern Mediterranean to connect with each other and to change the rules of the game, to deal with migration and people on both sides of the sea to get to know each other”, said Andre Azoulay in front of 21 young political and civic leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Bulgaria. Today the trust between us has reached a tragic level. We have spoiled so many opportunities. In order to move forward, first we must tell the truth. If the Barcelona Declaration was fully implemented, things would not be the same today. "

Morocco's Senior Adviser to the king stressed that he still believes in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. According to him, it should return to the top of the region's agenda.

"We share the same rules of the game, the definition of dignity is the same on both sides of the Mediterranean. But we have to admit the truth. We have to be aware that being a Muslim or not being a Muslim, being a European, or being a Moroccan is not the same as 22 years ago, "said Andre Azoulay, adding that there is still a chance for change if we have the courage to tell the truth.

The only titled as King's “Senior Advisor” and member of the High Level Group of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Azoulay has presented himself in front of the participants as a citizen of Moroccan citizen, Berber, Arab, Jewish person, European in culture and proximity thanks to Gibraltar, that separates Europe and Morocco for only 15 km. In his words, the Mediterranean has become today a place of migration, a place of tragic events, and it is not any more a region of mutual respect where people live together and where democracy and equality are born and implemented.

“Gender Equality: a needed asset for democracy” was the topic of Boriana Jonsson, Executive Director of the Euro-Med Feminist Initiative and a human rights lawyer with many years of experience.

Ms. Johnson reminded young leaders that in the new Global Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN, gender equality is recognized to be important in eradicating hunger, poverty and disease. At the same time, however, only 10 of the UN member states have women as a head of state.

"Discussing the topic of gender equality should start from looking at concepts such as democracy, human rights, citizenship from the point of view of women and their access to “resources” such as health, education, labor, power", Johnson said.

Friday, 07 July 2017 21:04 School of Politics

fandakovaVisiting institutions, meetings and a tour of Sofia have filled the program of the fourth working day of the participants in the International Summer Academy. Early in the morning young leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Bulgaria had a meeting with the Deputy Chairperson of the Bulgarian parliament Ms. Tsveta Karayancheva. They learned more about the history and the activities of the legislative institution.

"By bringing together young leaders, we create our future," said Mrs. Karayancheva and congratulated the Bulgarian School of Politics for the organization of the forum. "I am sure that today you will learn a lot of interesting things in the Bulgarian Parliament, you will get acquainted with the governmental structure of Bulgaria, the democratic principles that are enshrined in our legislation and you will be able to share them when you go back to your countries", told the Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament to the Academy participants.
"We live in dynamic times, we have to make adequate decisions, so I think that the academies organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics will help for the development of the Euro-Mediterranean countries and the relations between young people and politicians from these countries", added Karayancheva. According to her, the Mediterranean region is extremely dynamic and therefore opportunities to raise the level of good neighborhood talks and relations should be searched for. The Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament called for responding to aggression with education, to respect the different traditions and to proactively attract young people to the good side.
The young leaders asked the Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly what the representation of young people in the Bulgarian politics and the National Assembly is, what is the role of women in politics, what are the challenges for women who want to be part of the political life in Bulgaria, if there are certain quotas for women's participation in social and political life, etc. Members of Parliament Ms. Maria Ilieva and Ms. Asya Peeva participated in the conversation.The participants in the International Summer Academy met in the Parliament Mr. Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Mrs. Kornelia Ninova and were greeted by the parliamentary chairperson Mr. Dimitar Glavchev during the Friday plenary session.
The second stop of today's working day was the Sofia Municipality, where the participants were personally greeted by the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova. Mrs. Fandakova spoke in front of the young political and civic leaders about the thousand-year history of the capital, shared about the most important modern projects such as the development of the metro and the green system in the city. The participants learned that in order for a mayor to be successful, first of all, they must have good management skills that Mrs. Fandakova has developed at the Bulgarian School of Politics.
End of the work schedule was put on Rakovska Str. where the Head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria Mr. Ognian Zlatev spoke to the Summer Academy participants about the current topics for Bulgaria and Europe. Young leaders have learned more about the priorities of the Troika of the Presidency of the Council of EU (Estonia, Bulgaria, Austria) that started last week. They also heard about Europe's refugee crisis policies and the development of the different scenarios of the White Paper presented by Jean-Claude Juncker. The participants were impressed by the fact that the European Union is the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world.
The day ended with a tour of Sofia, which acquainted the participants with emblematic buildings of the capital, their history and contemporary functions, and also showed them archaeological monuments from ancient Serdika.

Thursday, 06 July 2017 21:06 School of Politics

yassineTerrorist organizations have different strategies for recruitment of new members and followers. The key messages in this process of affiliation of people can be summed up in four words: unity - they become part of a community; dignity - discover new life and work; purity - join the right faith; salvation - whatever happens, they will be saved, they will go to the "paradise".

The mechanism of recruitment of new members was revealed by Dr. Yassine Souidi to the participants in the Fourth International Summer Academy. He is a researcher in the Moroccan organization Rabita Mohammedia of Ulemas and a specialist in youth policy.

Dr. Souidi and the journalist Petar Karaboev have opened the third working day of the Academy for Political and Civil Leaders in Pravets with a lecture on the socio-economic challenges ahead the young generation in the Euro-Mediterranean region and explained the reason why young people choose radicalization or migration.

Yassine Souidi shared his experience of working with young people in Morocco in fighting extremism and preventing radicalism. Part of this experience is also a project whose aim is to change the narrative of social networks, and in particular Facebook, which is the leading social media in Morocco.

Educational policies for preventing violent radicalization and extremism was the topic of the lecture of Prof. Rumyana Kolarova, Head of the Political Studies Department at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski", who is also a former Minister of Education. Kolarova paid special attention to the fact that education can not prevent radical extremism, but it can make it harder to turn a person into a radical one. In her opinion, the main aspects that all educational policies should take into account are citizenship education, the development of different skills and, more importantly, the development of skills that will be applicable to finding a job.

"School must be a safe place, with a non-violent environment. It needs to guarantee equal opportunities. The school occupies 70% -80% of children's time and therefore it must promote their resilience. It has to develop in the children skills to see different information, to search for arguments and not just facts", the former education minister told young leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Bulgaria.

The psychologist Nikola Yordanov joined the third day of the Summer Academy with a presentation on the decision-making process - negotiating and engaging the stakeholders.

The participants had the opportunity to apply what they had learned in practice with a stakeholder analysis workshop.

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 17:39 School of Politics

attalah"The Mediterranean is a place where there is an incredible diversity of cultures, and this diversity is a richness because it has built values ​​of tolerance through the ages.", Hatem Attalah shared with the participants in the International Summer Academy for leaders of the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Executive Director of Anna Lindh Foundation, the largest foundation in the Mediterranean region, that has as a member Bulgaria, was a lecturer during the second day of the Academy for Political and Civic Society Leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Bulgaria that is held in Pravets. Ambassador Attalah talked about the ability of societies to address the problem with differences and inequalities and to create identities. He advised the participants to preserve their cultural differences, because if they lose them, there will be little to learn from each other. Hatem Attalah paid special attention to the role of young people and education in addressing the challenges that are facing the Euro-Mediterranean countries. According to a recent study by the Anna Lindh Foundation in 13 Euro-Mediterranean countries, over 80% of respondents believe that the way to tackle today's challenges is through educational and youth driven initiatives. Hatem Atallah also said that over 70% of the population in the Southern Mediterranean is young people. Therefore, young people want to be part of the decision-making process and not someone else to make youth policies for them. He ended his speech with the words of French President Jacques Chirac: "There is no clash of civilizations, but a clash of ignorance."

Professor Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Chairmen of the International Relations Department, Director of the Center for International and European Studies at Kadir Hass University in Istanbul was also a lecturer during the second day of the forum. He shared with the participating 21 young leaders his vision of the changing neighborhood and the common solutions to the security issues and extremism that the European Union and the Maghreb countries must find.

The famous TV journalist Boyko Vassilev put an end to the second working day of the Summer Academy by giving very practical advices and examples how political and civic leaders should behave and talk during a TV debate. The participants had the opportunity to check what they had learned from him by participating in a TV debate simulation.

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 07:20 School of Politics

Improved cooperation between all countries from the Euro-Mediterranean region is needed for the reduction of terrorism threats, said during the Official Opening of the Fourth Summer Academy for Democracy in the Euro-Med Region the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Sterk. He addressed the forum organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza", dedicated to the problems of radicalization and extremism.

Risks to global security have reached unprecedented levels and the terrorist threat is constantly evolving. Our assessment is that there are a number of unused opportunities for improving cooperation on counter-terrorism issues in the Euro-Mediterranean region, said the Bulgarian Deputy Minister.

For the period of six days 21 young members of parliament, members of various political parties and civic organizations from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Bulgaria will have lectures and share experience on the leading topic of this year's edition "Violent Radicalization and Extremism in the Euro-Med Region and the Role of Civil Society in Developing Successful Countering Strategies".

"Over the past few years the world has witnessed colossal changes in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The changes have transformed from the ground the image of both the region and the world. The sense of security of all of us has changed ", Yuri Sterk said to the participants. He listed the contemporary challenges that the international community is facing as a result of the increasingly uncontrollable migration pressure and the growing threat of radicalization and infiltration of extremism. These are social shocks that have followed the collapse of authoritarian regimes in a number of countries from the Middle East and North Africa, political instability, security issues and severe socio-economic consequences.

Sterk underlined the European Union's active work to address the common challenges: "The Review of the European Neighborhood Policy, which was also been put to public discussion, covers all aspects of the relations between the EU and our neighboring countries, already focusing on a new dimension - security. There is a work in progress in order to strengthen the dialogue with individual countries in the Middle East and North Africa on these issues, but also taking into account the need to create employment and opportunities for socio-economic development, especially among young people".

The Bulgarian Deputy Minister stressed the intention of Bulgaria during the forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU to improve the effectiveness of the proposed counter-terrorism policies in the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, and also presented important steps for the effective handling of the common challenges. "It is more than ever necessary to unite efforts at a global level between institutions, business and civil society for the development of a strategy for proactive rather than reactive handling of radicalization, violent extremism and terrorist threats," said Sterk. The Deputy Minister stressed the need for more active discussion about the reasons why young generations become more vulnerable to the messages of terrorist organizations. Тhe role of standard and social media is of utmost importance for the creation of a positive environment in which to spread messages of peace and stability.

"The effects of increasing radicalization and extremism around the world are reflected not only on the security in the world but also on the way we live today," said Dr. Irina Alexieva, Executive Director of the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" during the opening of the forum. She welcomed participants at the Fourth Summer Academy and expressed her delight of the joining of three new countries to the participating so far - Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Alexieva quoted the famous Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun: "He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, even if the trail has to be found again by others; and he who walks far ahead of his contemporaries is a leader, even though centuries pass before he is recognized as such."

Lectors during the first day of the Summer Academy of the Bulgarian School of Politics were Prof. Mariana Malinova, PhD, Associate professor at the Department of Mediterranean and Eastern Studies at New Bulgarian University, Prof. Ahmed Dris, Executive Director of the Tunisian School of Politics and journalist Mr. Ruslan Trad.

Participants are expecting with great impatience their meeting with André Azoulay, Senior Advisor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. On Saturday he will speak in front of the participants on the topic of building stability, sustainable development and inclusive societies in the Euro-Mediterranean region and why regional cooperation matters.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 17:05 Велизар Георгиев

photo1The Executive Director of Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" Dr. Irina Alexieva took part in the International Neighborhood Symposium that was held in Odessa from 13 to 18 June 2017. This year the Symposium was organized for 7th time and the topic was "Changemakers in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South".

A changemaker is a business leader, a policy maker, an activist, a young leader, a scholar, as well as a social entrepreneur that believes in change while also seeking to make it happen. A changemaker is thus an innovator, a trendsetter, and a visionary; someone who is willing to take creative action to solve social and societal problems.

The Symposium focused principally on the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South, two regions that are shared neighborhoods of the European Union, its member states, the Russian Federation, and Turkey. While each region is distinct with its own historical, political, social, cultural and economic features; their vicinity implies a number of synergies and shared experiences on a variety of themes.

Hence, the aim of the 2017 edition of the International Neighbourhood Symposium is to discuss, assess, and understand the regional dynamics as well as the impact these are having on the transformation of the societies of the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South. 

The Executive Director of Bulgarian School of Politics Dr. Alexieva spoke about the topic: „Politics versus Populism" giving examples for the social, economic and cultural factors that are influencing the rise of populism in the recent years.

The Symposium is organized by The Center for International and European Studies (CIES) at Kadir Has University in cooperation with local partners UA: Ukraine Analytica and the Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism".

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 14:30 Велизар Георгиев

monikaMonika Panayotova that graduated the Bulgarian School of Politics (BSoP) has been appointed as Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Mrs. Panayotova has graduated the National Program of BSoP in 2009. She has a PhD in Political Studies from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia and holds a Master degree in International Economic Relations with a specialization "Management of International Projects". She has a bachelor degree in International Relations from the same university.

In the last year Mrs. Panayotova has worked as an independent expert to the European Commission for the preparation of the 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

She was a Member of the European Parliament from December 2012 to July 2014, and before that she was a member of the 41st National Assembly of Bulgaria.


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