"Academy for Social Policy"

The project

In 2003, ISI launched the pilot project "For Professionalism in Politics and Public Participation Encouragement". The main objective of the project is to enhance the building of a new political culture of the younger generation through informal education, organized in a series of modules. To create a generation of politicians, who meet public expectations for accountability, integrity and serving the public interest. Their lack threatens the development of a legitimate democratic political system and leads to the involvement of non-public actors in the political process.

The methodology and content of the trainings, carried out by the Institute's team, attract great interest, lead to higher efficiency, knowledge and skills as well as to the formation of new attitudes in the successfully graduated young politicians.

To participate in the project were selected young politicians from the Bulgarian Socialist Party /BSP/, representatives of all districts in the country, where at least half of them were from municipalities outside the regional centers. After the successful completion of the pilot project, it grew into the project:

 "Academy for Social Policy"

The total project duration is eleven months - from January to November inclusive, and the school year for the trainees is eight months - from March to November. Together we learn through experience, using all elements of training methodology - presentations, discussions, trainings, assignments. The program of the modules follows a specific logic of knowledge and skills, and any failure to attend a module or part of it prevents the participant from experiencing the process thoroughly.

So far, 354 people from all municipalities in the country have completed the training. Many of the project participants have been elected as municipality councilors or mayors; have participated in the parliamentary elections and in elections for the European Parliament. They have participated efficiently in the election staff headquarters of the Left-wing in all elections since 2003 until now. The graduates’ network has serious professional resource to effectively support the process of policy making.

In 2010 the Alumni Club of the “Academy for Social Policy" graduates was established, with nine separate regional clubs. In the next year, 2011, they elected their National Coordinator. The work of the club will be further developed in future.

How to apply

All active young people, aged up to 40, can apply for the Academy for Social Policy. After sending letters in the period December - January to announce the procedure, nominations to the staff of the Institute for Social Integration have been made by: The managing authorities of: the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), "Movement for Social Humanism" Party, "Bulgarian Social Democrats” Party, Social Democrats Political Movement; Members of the General Assembly of ISI; Members of the Alumni Club of the Academy for Social Policy.

Basic requirements for the applicants are: Completed at least secondary education; Age up to 40; Active participation in political activities; Knowledge of at least one foreign language.

Enrollment in the program takes place after: Writing a motivation text on: "Why do I want to participate in this training?" Sitting for an individual video interview and replying the questions: "What is the most important thing in my native place?" and "What would I change if it were up to me?" Filling in a test for political culture.

The interviews for the selection of candidates (writing a text, individual interview and filling in a test) are carried out by a Commission, specially appointed by the Board of ISI, till the end of February of the current year. Candidates should know in advance that when joining the program they make a commitment to participate in the whole training until November of that year. Training schedules take into account the election campaigns and the celebration of national holidays. During interviews, these schedules are distributed to candidates in order to enable them to plan their absence in due time.

Upon graduating the Academy, students receive a certificate for Political Management.