Linking Expertise of Civil Society, Businesses, Academia and Young Political Leaders (2015-2016)


The project “ Linking Expertise of Civil Society, Businesses, Academia and Young Political Leaders”, financed by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, supports the National Program of the School, in which young political and civic leaders train their leadership skills. Its aim is within the Program to build a new type of communication between the political parties, business and civil society structures; communication leading to practical solutions and stimulating democratic development of Bulgaria and its economy.

Overview
The main feature of Bulgarian political life during the transition to market economy is the lack of sustainable mechanism for finding practical decisions to actual social problems. Valuable knowledge accumulated by Bulgarian and international think-tanks, research groups and universities remain on paper only, away from those that have to implement it. At the same time, policy making in the context of EU membership of our country requires expertise, information and a mechanism for converting this knowledge into practical solutions and responding to community needs. Our project aims are to turn the School into a mechanism for cooperation which includes the trainees, the Alumni, and representatives of NGOs, universities and businesses. We want to build a new type of communication between the political parties, business and civil society structures; communication leading to practical solutions and stimulating democratic development of Bulgaria and its economy.

The project is implemented through the National Program “Governing skills”, which trains young political and civic leaders of Bulgaria. Throughout an intensive training program, including lectures, small group activities on case studies and practical simulations, debates and assigned group homework tasks, the participants jointly work on specific problems of society and business and apply the results into practice. The topics of the group assignments are selected among the problems which are considered as important for the sustainable political development or business growth. The Alumni of the National program, many of whom are representatives of legislative, executive and judiciary power or the civic sector, are also included in the project via a second round of debates, special lectures and additional trainings.  The program results are monitored through an evaluation system which measures the development of participants` knowledge and skills.

Project Goals
•    Our goal is to overcome the practice that most political decisions are taken in “cabinet conditions.” We want to build on the National Program of the School by increasingly deploying it as a place where the capacity and knowledge of experts from civil society, business and academic community meet with those of the political leaders.
•    Our goal is to expand the scope of areas for which to seek practical decisions and to make sustainable and irreversible mechanism for finding them. We want important decisions to be debated, taking into account the views of all stakeholders.
•    We want the debate to include more than 400 graduates of the School many of whom are representatives of legislative, executive and judiciary power and are responsible for the design and implementation of public policies in the country.
•    In order to prepare a quality debate, we want to build on the capacity of the School to do research related to the actual problems of our society and to improve the mechanism for transfer of expertise to politicians and civic leaders.
•    Our goal is to continue to strengthen the School as a center for knowledge transfer by disseminating knowledge generated within the National Program among the graduates and providing them with the opportunity to improve their skills in creating working policies.
•    We want to expand on the public outreach of the School and to turn it into a mechanism for cooperation, which includes graduates, representatives of NGOs, universities and businesses. Our goal is to build a new type of communication between political parties, business and civil society structures; communication leading to practical solutions and stimulating democratic development of Bulgaria and its economy.
•    Our ambition is to develop and accredit the School as a factor for changing the environment and a center that meets the potential of young political and civic leaders and the expertise of business, academia and the NGO sector. The idea is to make the School an institution which work leads to concrete results that can be objectively measured.

Project Activities
•    Conducting 8 five-day courses within the National Program of the School, based on intensive training
•    Researches on key topics for the sustainable development of the country
•    Development of group homework assignments on the strategic topics
•    Conducting debates on the key topics
•     Organizing public debates
•     Conducting training courses for the Alumni
•    Implementing and refining the Monitoring and Evaluation System of the training results
•    Organizing a public lecture of a guest of international prominence
Funding
The project is financed by the America for Bulgaria Foundation
Implementation Period
October 2012 – October 2014
Expected Results

 

•    Creation of a sustainable and effective mechanism for cooperation among parliamentary parties, civil society and business in making practical decisions on important for our society and economy issues
•    Provision of expertise required by politicians for policy-making in the economic and social life.
•    Providing practical skills important for civil and political leaders in developing policies.
•    Involvement in a real debate on how to deal with the most important challenges for the country of more than 400 graduates of the National Program of the School. The majority of them are part of the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities.


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