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.




The Cultural Management Academy concluded its annual program with an international conference in Sofia. On 29 September, cultural managers from Bulgaria, Romania and Greece got together in the Red House. This year, the Academy expanded its activities and, with the support of Goethe Institutes in Bucharest and Thessaloniki, promoted partnerships among cultural operators from the three countries. The main topic of the meeting in Sofia was “Innovations in Culture”, which aimed to draw the attention towards the different models of cultural events management and the challenges facing managers in our countries. We discussed the role of the cultural manager not only in “organizing” and “managing” cultural processes, but also in provoking and stimulating innovations and new approaches.

The choice of topics at the conference is based on the specifics of the local contexts in Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki, such as the Academy’s profile in 2017, as well as the reports presented by the cultural managers from the three countries. This is the second major step in the development of the Academy this year - the one year’s training will end with the publication of reports by the program participants as well as by experts and moderators.
Texts were developed in the following areas:

Digital innovation: New technologies, new ways of attracting the audience and socializing cultural heritage.

Social innovation: The social Impact of culture - social dimensions and the responsibility of cultural management.

Innovations for partnerships: Achieving more through professional networks and clustering, new forms of cooperation and partnerships.

Innovations in the work process: Implementing the new challenges in the way cultural manager and cultural organizations work (flexibility, mobility, diversity, multi-genre orientation, project work, needs to perform many different tasks simultaneously).

Innovations and new audiences: Ways to reach new audiences and preserve existing ones, the role of cultural policies and cultural institutions in stimulating new forms of attracting new audiences.

Sofia Development Association plans to present the publication in the beginning of 2018.

This year, the participants in the Academy training faced another challenge - Goethe Institute, Bulgaria, announced the selection of project ideas that will be funded. The following days of the meeting in Sofia were devoted to discussions on project ideas and the future Bulgarian-Romanian-Greek teams.

The start of these teams was given on 28 September, when the Academy trainees arrived in Sofia and instead of an official dinner they had to prepare their own food. We organized the culinary evening together with Multi Culti, as well as with great enthusiasm and good mood on the part of the cultural managers and organizers.

History: The Cultural Management Academy was established in 2013, in the process of the preparation of Sofia for the European Capital of Culture competition.

This is one of the projects created at that time which has been steadily developing over the years. In 2015, we started a joint course with Goethe Institute, Bulgaria. A special quota was granted to participants from Plovdiv 2019. Sofia fulfilled its promise to support the city that won the European Capital of Culture 2019 title. Since 2016, the training has been conducted in English and cultural operators from Belgrade participated in the program. In 2017, we developed a partnership with the Goethe institutes of Thessaloniki and Bucharest. In June/July, local trainings were held in Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki. At the end of September, all the participants from Bulgaria, Romania and Greece gathered in Sofia for a final training session. The Academy's 2017 program will end with a publication of reports and funded joint projects.

The Academy is funded by Sofia Municipality and Goethe Institute, Bulgaria.

The successful graduates of the one-year training receive post-graduate qualification for cultural managers from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “.


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

"Smart School 4 Smart School Children” School Hackaton was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, co organized by Sofia Development Association

On 20th September 2017 the "Smart School 4 Smart School Children” School Hackaton was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, co organized by Sofia Development Association.

The idea behind the event was to bring young people with bright ideas together and create a bridge between their imagination and new, innovative technologies.

The competitive categories given to the participants to choose from were all connected to the subject of technologies, innovation and positive communication between students and young people as a whole. The Hackaton helped not only the participants, but also the experts of the team of "New Generation Skills" project. The innovative projects ideas will find place in the Sofia Youth Innovation agenda in order to bridging the gap between education, and new generation skills needed for navigating in the changing world and give young innovators support in bringing their ideas to life.

The participants developed several great project, like a robot that can help you learn English, a platform that can contribute to the communication between students, teachers and parents, and the first prize project - a system which helps with the sharing of information about deadlines, exams and tasks between students.

The Sofia NGS team and the participants in the Hackaton exchanged ideas and learned from one another during the event, helping to bring the gap between students and experts.

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.

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