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.


Sofia Fund for Innovations Becomes Best European Practice

Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations, established in 2014 and managed by Sofia Development Association, has been adopted as a good European practice and is now published in the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform good practice database. Policy makers around Europe will be able to consult our good practice online and contact SDA team through the Policy Learning Platform for further exchange of experiences and scaling up our innovative Sofia initiative.

"The practice is an interesting example of how regional public and private actors can join forces to provide funding for high risk creative and cultural industry projects. It can serve as inspiration to other regions interested in boosting innovation within the specific sector. The practice should have a good potential of transfer thanks to its adaptability,” says the review of the thematic expert Carl Arvid Dahlöf.

Visit the database to see our good practice and the expert opinion written by one of the thematic experts:

Positive Messengers Coalition was joint by new members in Athens

The Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech forth partners meeting took place in Athens, Municipality of Agii Anargiri on 27 – 28 March 2018.

On 28 March we were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Agii Anargirii and Deputy Mayor who debated with us the different aspects of combatting hate speech and the role of the local stakeholders. The department of Social Services of the Municipality team joined the discussions and shared with us their activities integrating vulnerable groups.

Stakeholders from National Electronic Crime Division on hate Speech, Greek Centre for Safe Internet and Arsis presented their activities in combatting hate online and offline.

Partners showcased main Hotlines since Campaign has started.
Thanks to the interesting tools we produced and stakeholders we involved have already reached more than 30 000 target audience.

Positive Messengers Held Experimental Workshop in Second Chance School of Agii Anargiri

A Second Chance School in Greece is an innovative public adult education school of two academic years’ duration. A certificate equivalent to secondary school diploma is provided after successful attendance. The school’s curriculum differs from that of the normal education, it is more flexible and it follows an adapted teaching methodology and assessment of the trainees. The programme forms part of the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs and it is co-funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and national funding.

On March 27, 2018, the Positive Messengers project partners visited the Second Chance School of Agii Anargiri and held an experimental workshop with the students and faculty. The students - aged between 18 and 76 - used the psychodrama method to understand and learn to resolve interpersonal and societal conflicts caused by hate speech, gain new knowledge and skills to deal with life and fulfil their personal potential. The students had also engaged in participatory photo hunt on the topic, and the best photos were selected via popular vote.

“The policy of our municipality is to be active, to take part in projects tackling sensitive issues. Projects like Positive Messengers raise awareness among our citizens, bring societal results and prepare our administration to be in the front row of developments”, said Mr. Nikos Pantelias, Deputy Mayor of Agii Anargiri.

The experimental workshop was a great example of interregional learning and strengthening the transnational coalition of Positive Messengers to counter online hate speech.

Research Infrastructure Role in Innovation – the Case of Krakow

Solaris – the first large scale research infrastructure in Poland, appeared in Krakow very recently. Synchrotron radiation (also called synchrotron light) is produced in a synchrotron, and then directed to beamlines with experimental end-stations. The infrastructure allows performing multiple experiments at the same time, in many areas of science, processing 3 billion samples per second. Examples of research vary from the study of ribosome to the optimal temperature to form ice cream crystals. Solaris already has 320 contracts with users, turning it into a major driver of innovation and development in the Malopolske Region. 

Partner regions visited Solaris from March 20-22, 2018 and met with other key innovation ecosystem players like representatives of Krakow Tech Park, of the Regional Operational Program for Innovations, Jagiellonian University, start ups, to discuss the main drivers for innovation development and draft scenarios for the future. The interregional learning event will contribute also to the innovation policy development in Sofia, Castilla y Leon, Evora, Lower Austria, Tampere, Gyor and Bolzano. The workshop and study visit were part of the InnoBridge project, funded by INTERREG Europe, and Sofia Development Association is a partner in it.


The Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech has grown bigger once again

A class of students from the National High School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences "Academician Lyubomir Chakalov" in Sofia led by their teacher Neli Georgieva just became a part of Sofia Development Association’s “Positive Messengers – HOT LINE” campaign.

On 16th March 2018 both the students and the experts from SDA looked for answers to questions like “What does hate speech mean?”, “”Where is it most commonly found?”, “”Who are hate speech’s most common victims?”, “”How can we counter online hate speech?”, “Is there a point in creating mechanisms to report online hate speech and its sources?” and “Should new mechanisms be created or will this be taken as a hit on the idea of a free speech Internet space?”.

The group of young people joined the Coalition and shared their positive messages like “Don’t judge a book by its cover – get to know somebody before you make assumptions.”, “Nobody is born a racist!”, “Words matter. Choose them carefully. They can be a source of true love, or pointless arguments.” and “To all the gamers out there – Don’t hate – play the game!”

Nadya Obretenova – a leading journalist from the Bulgarian National Television and author of the book “Who Sits Against You on the Net?” – was a special guest of the event. She warned the new Coalition members that everything that is once said on the net stays there forever and can be used against you after time.

Coming soon: new YOUTH INNOVATION LAB in Sofia

During the award ceremony in competitions for youth initiatives “Youth World and Volunteering" and "Our School Sports Holiday", hosted by Irena Dimitrova, Sport&Youth Direction in Sofia in the presence of Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and more than 70 students from Sofia schools and their teachers, we briefed the participants on the New Generations Skills project actualities.

They were among the first to learn that the Sofia Youth Innovation Lab is to be set in couple of months and that in April the Dynamic Learning Training Program will be announced and open for applications.

We believe the young people who already started developing winning project ideas we were with will be among the entrepreneurs that will make the Sofia Lab alive and kicking.

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