The Summer Academy for Building Democracy through Cultural Diplomacy started today, 4 June, in RIU Hotel Pravetz. The Academy is the first and unique initiative for experience and know-how exchange among alumni of the National Programs from the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”, The Citizenship School of Political Studies in Morocco, and the Tunisian School Politics. The program was opened by the executive director of the BSoP – Dr. Irina Alexieva and the executive director of the CSPS – Mr. Youssef Laaraj.
Dr. Alexieva quoted the Arab historiographer Ibn Khaldūn saying that “the past resembles the future more than one drop of water resembles another”. She made a parallel between the transition period in Bulgaria and the transition that is just about to begin in Tunisia and Morocco. That is why the main goal of the Academy is to share the experience between the three countries regarding the building of a modern democratic society, to analyze the successes and the failures, and after that mutually to design the next step, so that it can be better than the former.
“Key words during this training are dialogue and exchange” agreed Youssef Laaraj. According to him, debates and negotiations are very important for Bulgaria, Morocco and Tunisia so that they can be active while the changes are happening, not simply to wait for them. Mr. Laaraj believes this is the reason the Schools of political studies to be highly motivated to involve in the civic daily agenda the talk on democratic change. He also wished good luck to the participants in the program in Bulgaria, hoping the program to turn into an annual event and the following ones to be held in Morocco and Tunisia.
The schools in Bulgaria, Morocco and Tunisia are part of the Network of the Schools of Political Studies under the auspices of the Council of Europe. 18 young civic and political leaders from the three countries are taking part in the training. The Academy is a logical continuation of the BSoP “Dimitry Panitza” efforts to support its partners from Morocco and Tunisia. It is exchanging with them experience and its methodology of training young leaders and supports their efforts for an institutional building at times of transition towards a multi-party democracy.
The Summer Academy for Building Democracy through Cultural Diplomacy is supported by the Program “Strengthening the democratic reforms in the south Neighborhood”, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.