SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


NewGenerationSkills naturally found its supporters at the first meeting of the Sofia city Youth Consultative Council

New Generation Skills project was presented by SDA team and Michaela Ivanova, Sofia Municipal Councilor and Sofia LIAG chairperson, on 11 October 2017 during the first meeting of the newly formed Sofia Youth Consultative Council.

The Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova welcomed more than 40 young people from 11 student associations, schools, youth organization that will assist the Mayor and the Municipal Council on youth policies and particularly the implementation and evaluation of Sofia Youth Strategy.

The knowledge and skills acquirement and professional orientation is one of the main priority in the Strategy, thus the NGS project and the Innovation Lab that SDA and city of Sofia will create is fundamental for achieving this priority. The involvement of Sofia Youth Consultative Council turns NGS project into a citywide initiative.



International Conference for Cultural Management and Network Meeting in Sofia

Sofia Development Association and Goethe-Institut organize an international conference “Paths to Innovation in Culture” in Sofia on September 28-30, 2017. The conference is in the framework of the 2017 Cultural Management Academy and aims to bring together cultural manager-practitioners from Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with leading academic scholars, researchers and political leaders, to exchange experiences and research findings. This year’s Academy participants from the three countries, selected by an academic editorial board, will present own research in the areas of digital innovation, social innovation, innovation together, innovation in the working process and new audiences. Among the international speakers are Krzysztof Maj, Director of Wroclaw 2016 European Capital of Culture, Rarita Zbranca, Director of Cultural Center CLuj, Dr. Evelin Hust, Director of Goethe-Institut Bucharest, Dr. Petya Koleva, Venelin Shurelov. The conference aims to establish an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss receont innovations, trends, problems and solutions in the realm of cultural management. Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and the Sofia Council Committee on Culture and Education chairperson Malina Edreva will also be in attendance.

The papers presented during the conference, will be included in a special academic conference proceedings publication.

The international conference builds upon the 5-year experience of SDA in organizing the Academy for Cultural Management, the partnership with Sofia University, Goethe-Institut and the European cultural institutes. By giving the opportunity to cultural manager to contribute conference content we help them market themselves and their organizations and projects and advance their career.

International conference QED’17

On September 20 -21, 2017, Sofia hosted the international conference Quality of Education’17: Children in the Digital Era, co-organized by UNESCO, Unit and Sofia Development Association. The conference was opened by the European Commissioner on digital economy Maria Gabriel. The delegates, coming from over 30 states, presented their proposals for the modernization of educational systems, information technologies in favor of professional and informal education, upbringing in the digital world. Sevdalina Voynova, SDA, was a panelist in the conference and presented the work of the Digital Transition Partnership, part of the Urban Agenda for the EU. The partnership aims to develop better regulations, financial mechanisms, business opportunities and public services in the process of digitatization of health care and social care, education, urban planning, e-governance. By the end of the year the Action plan to be discussed with the European Commission will be developed and presented. Sofia municipality with the support of SDA is the coordinator of the partnership together with Oulu, Finland, and Estonia.

The conferece was streamed online at

SDA participates in the workshop “Developing Skills and Knowledge in the Area of Cybersecurity”

The workshop, organized by “Law and Internet” foundation and the Ministry of Transport took place on September 20, 2017, in the framework of the international UNESCO conference “Children in the Digital Era”. Sevdalina Voynova with SDA was a pannelist in the program devoted to primary and secondary education. The panel discussed the effect of the digital transition on education and how to develop awareness and skills for cybersecurity among students. Among the panel’s recommendations are the development of integrated digital environment in schools, including school process, additional resources, interaction with parents and teachers; overcoming the digital divide; establishing links between cybersecurity and European values; mechanisms for human capital development. The discussion also focused ont he opportunities for the advancement of these measures provided by the Digital transition partnership of the European Urban Agenda, which is coordinated by Sofia.

Parallel to the workshop, also in the building of Sofia Library was launched the Students Hackathon “Smart School 4 Smart Schoolchildren”, co-organized by Sofia Development Association. The students are coding solutions for increased interest and motivation for learning, interaction between students, teachers and parents, combating aggression at school.

What does “hate speech” mean and why is it so important to know how to end it?

In 1997 the Council of Europe defines hate speech as “all forms of expressions that spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance”.

Why do we provide you with this definition? Because we believe that the first step towards defeating a certain problem is to pinpoint what that problem is. So now we know what hate speech is, but what does it look like?

The answer is simple. We see it every day. We read about it on social media, we pass by it on the streets. Hate speech is the article you read yesterday about the young man from Iraq, Syria or Egypt, who beat a child on the streets, the article which turns out to be a lie, targeting you as the next victim of its popularization. Hate speech is the man who is offending another person on the streets because of the language he speaks or his skin colour. Hate speech is everywhere. It doesn’t have a day off or a curfew, it goes beyond business hours.

So we now know what it looks like, but why does hate speech exist? It exists because we allow it to exist. It exists because we agree to listen to it, read it and see it everywhere. It exists because we don’t take action.

So how do we stop it? We, from the Sofia Development Association, start from where the modern world meets its fastest development – the internet.
Alongside 7 other organizations from 6 other countries - Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM - IUL and Associazione FORMA.Azione from Italy, the Languages Company from the UK, Center for Peace from Croatia, People in Need from the Czech Republic, Asociația Divers from Romania and the Municipality of Agii Anargiri-Kamatero from Greece – and with the financial help of the European Commission we started working on the “Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech” project.

We began our work on 1 October 2016 and we hope to achieve our goals until 30 September 2018.

Our initiative addresses the need for a more effective answer to hate speech from our society. The project focuses on two main goals – establishing a coalition of many people and organizations which works towards demolishing hate speech online and spreading positive messages by creating campaigns aiming towards educating and informing people about what it is like to be an immigrant and the challenges you face when you have very few choices in your life.

Our main goal is to create a working mechanism for pushing back hate speech and stopping xenophobia from developing and spreading in our society.
We also aim towards providing new data about the essence, range and impact of hate speech online, so we can help local and national authorities to develop more effective ways of combating hate speech and encourage communication and tolerance between the European society and the most vulnerable people groups – immigrants and refugees.

So how can YOU help?

Take action when you see a display of xenophobia and lack of tolerance, don’t allow yourself to get used to them. Spread positive messages in your community and together with the people around you create an environment of tolerance and understanding.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more news and information on our campaigns and how you can join our cause.


European and local cultural policies and future scenarios for cultural management

Open call for papers
in the framework of the
Cultural Management Academy - Sofia, Thessaloniki and Bucharest 2017

The Goethe-Institutes in Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki, the City of Sofia and the Sofia Development Association are glad to announce an open call for papers in the framework of their joint project – the Cultural Management Academy, which is certified by the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia and the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

Тheoreticians and practitioners from Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania can submit papers proposing innovative approaches and new perspectives on cultural management and cultural policies on European, national and local level.

The editorial board consisting of experts from the field of cultural management from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Germany will select papers to be presented and discussed at the international conference of the same name on 29 September 2017 in Sofia and to be published in a print and digital publication later on.


1. Requirements
2. Submission
3. Editorial board
4. Who can apply?
5. Why to apply?
6. About the Cultural Management Academy (CMA)

1. Requirements

1.1. Content

What innovation in culture do we need if we take into consideration the current state of things and the cultural policies? How can cultural management contribute to such an innovation in culture? What is the future of cultural management? What are possible new approaches and tools? How can cultural policies on European, national and local level be more responsive to the needs of culture? What is the role of the cultural manager in the field of policy?

Theoreticians and practitioners from the field of cultural management are invited to propose possible answers and solutions, but also to ask more questions about the cultural context in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Europe in general.

Through the open call the organisers look for various positions and points of view on European, national and local cultural policies, comments, critiques, reflections and recommendations based on examples from the practice and the practical experience of the applicants. The organisers aim at mapping possible solutions and suggestions for changes, development and innovation through new approaches in culture and through stimulating the dialogue between policy and practice in the field of cultural management. Argumentation through examples and study cases from the practice will be highly appreciated.

Furthermore, the papers can be developed in the context of the European Agenda for Culture:

The Commission Communication ‘Towards an EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations’ presented by the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in mid-2016 is aimed at encouraging cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries and promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values.

1.2. Format

Papers can be in English, Bulgarian, Greek or Romanian, but preferably in English.

Papers must contain:

- Title and subtitle of the paper
- Author's name and information about the author (position, working place, academic title)
- Key words
- Bibliography
- Figures, tables and images (if applicable)


- In English
- Up to 1500 characters

Final versions of the papers

- In English, Bulgarian, Greek or Romanian, but preferably in English.
- 6 to 10 A4 pages, incl. figures and tables, images and literature (images to be gathered on 2 pages)
- Times New Roman, 12 pt.
- 2 cm margins on all sides

2. Submission and deadlines

First phase of the call for papers:
Applicants submit a summary of the paper and a short autobiography until 10th September 2017 (extended) in digital form (.doc, .docx) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Selected applicants will be informed until 17th September 2017 (extended).

Second phase of the call for papers:
The summaries of the selected applicants will be presented and discussed in working groups during the international conference of the CMA 2017 on 29th September.

Third phase of the call for papers:
Selected applicants submit their final papers until 31st October in digital form (.doc, .docx) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the spring of the 2018 the final publication consisting of all selected papers and commissioned articles/papers and impressions of the Cultural Management Academy 2017 to be published in print and digital form.

3. Editorial board

The editorial board selects the papers to be included in the publication based on the submitted summaries. Members of the editorial board:

- Argyro Barata (CMA Greece)
- Miki Braniste (CMA Bucharest)
- Stefka Tsaneva (CMA Sofia, Goethe-Institute Bulgaria)
- Enzio Wetzel (director of Goethe-Institut Bulgaria)
- Petya Koleva (Interkultura Consult)
- Vladiya Mihaylova (curator, Vaska Emanuilova Gallery Sofia, branch of the Sofia City Art Gallery)
- Malina Edreva (chair of the commission for culture and education of the City of Sofia)
- Svetlana Lomeva (director of Sofia Development Association)
- Dr. Nelly Stoeva (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
- Dr. Georgi Valchev (deputy rector of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)

4. Who can apply?

- Participants in all editions of the Cultural Management Academy 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Theoreticians and practitioners in the field of cultural management and cultural policies from Bulgaria, Greece and Romania.

5. Why to apply with a paper?

Selected applicants have:

- The opportunity to publish a paper in a professional publication on cultural management which will be distributed digitally and in print form in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Germany and other European countries through the communication channels of all organisers and partners of the Cultural Management Academy: the Goethe-Institutes in Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki as well as other Goethe-Institutes in Europe, the City of Sofia and the Sofia Development Association, the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Aristotle University, the foreign cultural institutes from the EUNIC-clusters in the three countries.
- Possibility for exchange and mentorship with the members of the editorial board.
- Possibility for professional exchange and discussion of the papers during the international conference.
- Selected participants (who have not participated in the CMA before) become part of the CMA network.
- Selected participants (who have not participated in the CMA before) get a 50% discount on the participation fee in future editions of the CMA.

6. About the Cultural Management Academy (CMA)

The CMA started as a project by the Sofia Development Association in cooperation with the Sofia University „St. Kliment Ohridski“ in 2014 as part of the city´s application for the title European Capital of Culture. The main goal of the project is to build capacity and to increase the competences of the cultural operators in Sofia and the region regarding the challenges of a large-scale initiative that the European Capital of Culture is. In 2015 the Goethe-Institut and its partners in Bulgaria, i.e. Instituto Cervantes, Czech Center, Polish Institute, Institut Français, British Council and Austrian Embassy got also involved in the project and the scope of the CMA was extended - there were participants from all around Bulgaria and lecturers from Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria and France. The CMA has included so far lectures, workshops and seminars, additional (public) events and discussions, network meetings and learning journeys to Berlin and Warsaw.

After two successful editions of the CMA realised by the Goethe-Institut Bulgaria in partnership with Sofia Municipality (Sofia Development Association) and with regard to the achieved results and the effect on the local cultural scene, the Goethe-Instituts in Bucharest and Thessaloniki got also involved and decided to apply the good example in their cities as well. In 2017, the CMA has three branches - in Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki. In each of the cities has been already formed a group of local participants who took part in an intensive 1-week-course in the respective city in June-July.

The international conference on cultural management in Sofia on 29th September is embedded into internal network meetings and working groups between the participants of the CMA. The main goal of the meetings is to stimulate cooperation and the development of joint projects, which can financed by the fund for projects of the Cultural Management Academy.


Page 1 of 19

Go to top