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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.

Friday, 12 April 2019 13:27 Велизар Георгиев

blagoevgrad_saitThe challenges of the European labor market have been discussed by experts with young people and students in Blagoevgrad.

The European labor market enables people to look for the best place to live and work. Despite the principle of free movement, the labor market is still very fragmented - one in Greece, another in Italy, the UK. Legislation is different, and therefore the results are very different. Youth unemployment in Germany and the Czech Republic is under 6%, in Spain and Greece 40%. In the Netherlands, for example, 84% of young people work while in Bulgaria the percentage is 17. One reason for the situation is that in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and northern countries at all, there is a lot of flexible labor legislation and various forms of employment are very common.

This was stated by the economic analyst Lachezar Bogdanov during a discussion with students and young people on "Youth employment - the challenges of the European labor market." The debate took place on 12 April at the American University in Blagoevgrad with the participation of Ivan Velkov , member of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Industrial Association and Dobromir Ivanov, founder and manager of the Bulgarian Start-up Association. The organizer of the discussion is the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" with the support of the European Parliament. In his performance, Lachezar Bogdanov also talked about the future of the labor market, which with the development of technology, computers and robots became unpredictable. According to the economic analyst, the experts do not agree whether more low-skilled or highly qualified professions will remain in the past due to the development of artificial intelligence and computers. Ivan Velkov also advocated the thesis that machines are increasingly replacing the human labor force. He is Vice President of the Sofia Municipal Council, a university lecturer and entrepreneur and has recently joined the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Industrial Association.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed how different tasks performed by an expert can be executed by machines and systems, and the role of man in all these activities is becoming more and more controlling. Nowadays, in the current context marketing, finance and all the activities that improve the working environment and thus the living environment become extremely important, said Velkov. According to him, years ago, it was not possible for anyone to work in one place and at the same time to perform a project at another place, and to watch a movie that has nothing to do with his geographic location – all these changing activities make us all choose each day what and how to do. European programs provide a framework, an environment in which everyone has unlimited opportunities to choose. These choices depend mostly on man's motivation. "The changing environment creates new projects and new sectors in the economy," he summed up.

In the discussion, the manager of the Bulgarian Start-up Association Dobromir Ivanov took the stand on the topic of youth employment. "What makes a person successful is not his autobiography but his character. We shape our character every day, whether we do it consciously or not," Ivanov told the students from the American and Southwest Universities in Blagoevgrad, students from high schools and representatives of the youth structures of parties in the southern city. "We are struggling for hundreds of changes in the laws that affect the business and the economy as a whole, but without a change in our way of thinking, all this will crash, because everything depends ultimately on how people perform it," Dobromir Ivanov said.

The lecturers also addressed the issue of the literacy of the population in Bulgaria and the worrying situation of the demographic crisis. The discussion also focused on what the government could do to ensure a good working environment and to make Bulgaria more attractive to young people. Here, the role of MEPs, who in practice form the working conditions of the EU with their decisions, was defined as extremely important. "Now there will be new elections and the newly elected representatives in the European Parliament will have the opportunity to become ambassadors of the important topics, and subsequently their contractors. Here I would like to say that I was also pleasantly impressed by MEPs from other countries, who sometimes participated in Bulgarian themes, saw where the logic was and in the context of the European objectives went into details and stated: "You have the right, we can try to do something," said Ivan Velkov.

The debate in Blagoevgrad is the last of the planned five discussions with students, young people and people from vulnerable groups in different cities in Bulgaria. The aim of all of them is to raise awareness among young Bulgarians on certain topics related to the European Union and to pay attention to the importance of exercising the right to vote in the European elections on May 26th. The Forum in Blagoevgrad is part of the project "Europe Hears You. Vote!", which the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza " implements with the support of the European Parliament.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 14:52 Велизар Георгиев

kustendil_saitNearly 17 million Europeans are unemployed and 25 million children live in poverty, with the proportion of people aged 0 to 17 being higher than any other age group. More than 70 million people with disabilities are in the EU, and they often face obstacles that prevent them from working equally with others in society. The data was presented during the discussion "Social Policy of Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights" organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" with the support of the European Parliament. The guests of the event were the Ambassador of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Bulgaria and Executive Director of the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation Iliana Nikolova and Lydia Chorbanova, Program Director of the Institute for European Strategies and Practices and Advisor to MEP Kostadinka Kuneva. Moderator of the discussion was Sasho Kovachev from "Largo" Association. The meeting was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Kyustendil Svetoslav Vassilev. 50 residents of Kyustendil, representatives of the municipality and trade unions, people from vulnerable groups and students attended the discussion.

"The European pillar of social rights has clear and specific dimensions to every citizen in the European Union," said Iliana Nikolova. She added that it is extremely important that we all know what the European Union does in the social sphere. The three basic principles of the European pillar of social rights include equal opportunities and access to employment, fair working conditions and social protection as well as inclusion. Each of them has specific dimensions and areas that covers. The principle of equal opportunity and access to the labor market involves four main points - education, training and lifelong learning, gender equality, equal opportunities for all and active support for employment. The fair working conditions cover all components associated with them such as safe and flexible employment, payroll, information on working conditions and protection in case of dismissal, social dialogue and employee participation, balance between work and personal life, healthy, safe and well-adapted work environment and protection of personal data. The third principle - social protection and inclusion, include care and support for children, social protection, unemployment benefits, minimum income benefits and old-age pensions, health care, integration of people with disabilities, long-term care, housing and support for homeless people as well as access to basic services.

"The European Social Pillar has not been easily created. Its creation has been speeded up by reasons we all have experienced more or less on our backs - the global economic crisis, the accession of Eastern European countries that were poorer, and at some point it turned out that inequalities were enormous", told Lydia Chorbanova during the discussion. For these reasons, Europe has set the target of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty by at least 20 million by 2020. In addition to setting up the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, a Development and Assistance Fund has been set up with a budget of € 3.8 billion, to be spent during 2014-2020 time period.

"Social policy is not the one to extinguish fires, help people in trouble or feed and dress someone. It is the work of the whole society, it is also the work of the citizens themselves. Social policy is that part of the policies that enables society to develop sustainably and live well, " Chobanova added. She was certain that we all must be active as a society in European life, and that the participation in the elections of the European Parliament is one of the ways to stay involved.

During the discussion, the participants also discussed further issues related to the Territorial expert medical commission reform, the absenteeism of students and the planned discontinuation of benefits, as well as the overall picture of the EU in regards to the labor force as a result of the demographic crisis and the continuing migration to the Old Continent.

The event in Kyustendil is part of the planned five debates with students, young people and vulnerable groups in different cities in Bulgaria. The discussions' aim is to raise the awareness of young Bulgarians on certain topics related to the European Union, to provoke their interest and commitment to the work of the European Parliament as well as to pay attention to the importance of exercising the right to vote in the upcoming European elections. The forum is part of the project "Europe Hears You. Vote!", implemented by the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" with the support of the European Parliament. The project also gives young people in Bulgaria the opportunity to participate in an audiovisual competition. The winner of which will win a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels. The contest is now open for participation. Details can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/europeandi.bg/.

Saturday, 30 March 2019 14:57 Велизар Георгиев

plovdiv_saitA political scientist, a political communications expert and a regional mayor have discussed with young people in Plovdiv the influence of the fake news on the European elections

"Fake news can not influence elections in which people have decided and gone voting. For more than thirty years I have been working on campaigns and I know that where people want to change something, they want to vote for someone and want things to happen, nothing is able to change their decision. During elections, we have the power to impose our decision. You should understand that the more you vote, the more politicians' bills on how the election results would look like get flurried. This is always a good news for us, the citizens. It is important that our interests are protected. "

This was stated by the political scientist Assoc. Prof. Tatyana Burudzhieva on Friday in Plovdiv. She, together with the political communications expert Prof. Rossen Stoyanov and the mayor of the Plovdiv region "South" Borislav Inchev, participated in a discussion with students and young people in Plovdiv on the topic: "Can the fake news threaten the European elections?". The debate took place at the Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski". The Chairman of the youth organization of BSP in the "city of the 7 hills and current MP Teodora Halacheva as well as Miroslav Tenev, Chairman of the youth organization of GERB in Plovdiv were present at the event as well.

"You have to realize that whenever there is news, it has been reported by someone. This one has some purpose. In the case of the fake news, the intention is important," said Tatyana Burudzhieva to the young people. According to her, one of the biggest problems in this sphere is the lack of critical thinking, which is why people often believe in completely unreal information without questioning it.

Professor Rossen Stoyanov has called the young people to strive for more awareness and critical thinking. He told them to make more effort to reach the information. "This is a pill that will not cure us completely, but it will help us a lot," the professor said. According to him fake news thrives where awareness lacks. The fake news thrives where there is a low level of education and lack of awareness, and where the value system is broken and destroyed. The only way to fight them is the intellectual approach. "In the world of digital technologies, we are the active part", Prof. Stoyanov said.

"Europe - it's you! Europe is here and now!", the professor addressed the young people.

According to the Mayor of the Southern Region of Plovdiv, Borislav Inchev, Bulgarian society is increasingly ready to put questions of responsibility in its different dimensions, and the time has already come for people who generate fake news to be held responsible, including those who distribute it afterwards.

"The most important thing is that everyone will go voting. This means that with your voice you have expressed your opinion and give trust to the person or organization you voted for, to defend the things you believe in, "said Inchev to the students and the young people.

During the discussion, the role of traditional media as well as social networks in contemporary society was raised.

The youngsters have shown exclusive activity during the debate as well as good knowledge of topical issues in society, which often cause fake news.

The debate in Plovdiv is the third one of the planned five discussions with students, young people and people from vulnerable groups in different cities in Bulgaria. Before Plovdiv, debates took place in Veliko Tarnovo and Vratza. The aim of all of them is to raise awareness among young Bulgarians on certain topics related to the European Union and to pay attention to the importance of exercising the right to vote in the European elections on May 26th. The Forum in Plovdiv is part of the project "Europe Hears You. Vote!", which the Bulgarian School of Politics" Dimitry Panitza" implements with the support of the European Parliament.

Thursday, 11 October 2018 19:40 Велизар Георгиев
sresta_tarnovo_sait"I am convinced that what we are doing is in the name of the children and their better future. In order to provide them with a dignified life and to implement these children's development policies, not only documents and solutions, but also suitable and prepared people are needed. The human factor in this sphere is the most important one for realizing our common goals." This was stated by the district governor of Veliko Tarnovo, Prof. Dr. Lubomira Popova, who opened and attended a regional meeting on the problems of children from Northern Bulgaria. It was held on October 11 in the old capital and presented a national analysis of the problems of the young inhabitants of the country with emphasis placed on the children from Northern Bulgaria. The study was developed by the expert Mr. Ivaylo Milanov on the basis of the conducted and presented analyzes of the six administrative regions of Bulgaria.
Representatives of district administrations, local authorities, NGOs and graduates of the BSoP from Northern Bulgaria also learned about the European experience in solving children's problems thanks to the educational expert Ms. Mariana Georgieva, a PhD student in Pedagogical and Aging Psychology at the University of Veliko Tarnovo and at the Stefan Zweig University "In Salzburg.
The meeting in Veliko Tarnovo was part of the project "The Voice of Bulgarian Children".
Tuesday, 09 October 2018 18:37 Велизар Георгиев
sresta_plovdiv_saitThe graduates of the BSoP - the MP Ms. Asya Peeva and the Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv Mr. Stefan Stoyanov, opened the regional meeting on the problems of the children in South Bulgaria.
The forum which is a part of “The Voice of Bulgarian Children” project was held on 9 October in Plovdiv and was attended by over 30 representatives of regional and local authorities, NGOs, representatives of the Agency for Social Assistance and    alumni of the Bulgarian School of Politics from Southern Bulgaria.
A national analysis on the problems of the small inhabitants of the country with an emphasis on the problems of the children from South Central, South-Eastern and South-West regions was presented during the event. The research was conducted by the expert Mr. Ivailo Milanov on the basis of the developed and presented analyzes of the six administrative regions of Bulgaria.
According to the document, the population in Southern Bulgaria under working age is almost twice as high as compared to the Northern part of the country. In 2017, 689,808 children lived south of the Balkan, which is 5432 more than in 2016. In North Bulgaria, however, in 2017 the number of children was 346,220 and continued to decline. Further statistics and conclusions on welfare, education, health and child justice were presented.
The educational expert Ms. Mariana Georgieva shared with the participants in the meeting Europe's experience of coping with children's problems.

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