Three alumni of the Bulgarian School of Politics – Mr. Kaloyan Pargov from Class 2010, Ms. Veronika Delibaltova and Ms. Ralitza Kirilova from Class 2013, participated in the 1st International Alumni Seminar of the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies. The forum was held on 19 and 20 June in Strasbourg and the topic was “Harnessing young people’s potential for building a democratic future”. The opening was done by Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, Director of Policy Planning, Council of Europe. The forum was addressed by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe. In their speeches, they encouraged the participants to be active and genuine, to share experience and to outline the most acute problems faced by young people in their countries.
Representatives of the Schools of Political Studies under the auspices of the Council of Europe from Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Romania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Tunisia and the Visegrád School also took part in the seminar.
The seminar was split into several panels dedicated to the broken link between generations and the reluctance of youngsters to actively participate in policy making, creation of more opportunities for young people in labour market, youth participation in civil society development, the role of education for spreading and strengthening democratic values, etc.
The participants outlined poverty, ineffective and insufficient quality of education, as well as the negative media image of the politics and politicians as the main reasons for young people’s marginalization and lack of involvement in political and civic life. In the discussion about the role of education in developing and spreading of democratic values, the participants defined the basic need for education in solidarity, tolerance, freedom of choice and civic rights which could be taught through different forms of formal and informal education.
A special panel was dedicated to brainstorming ideas how the alumni network of the Schools of Political Studies can function better and what activities could be initiated so as to make this network more active and engaged.