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.


The dream Youth Innovation Lab

What would be the dream Youth Innovation Lab was the main issue we ideated with 30 young people representing different youth NGOs, organizations advocating people with disabilities rights, students, representatives of Sofia Municipal Council and Local Advisory Group.

The Sofia Development Association team in cooperation with the Sofia Municipality team organized the interactive event under NewGeneration Skills project, funded by Interreg Danube Programme.

The discussion had 3 ideation sessions: the (infra) – structure: the PLACE – how it would look like in order to attract young innovators; the PEOPLE – whom we would like to have there working and who would be the main target; the SERVICES – what would be the services our Sofia Innovation Lab would offer.

We believe the involvement of decision makers from the Sofia Municipal Council and the future users of the Innovation Lab in the beginning of the process of creating the Sofia concept is a guarantee for its successful creation. 





In the “Month of the Refugee”, Sofia Development Association presents three educational videos on the topic of hate speech towards refugees and migrants on the Internet. The videos explain how to recognize online hate speech, how to report it and how to counteract with positive narratives.

The three videos were developed within the framework of the project “Coalition of Positive

Messengers to Counteract Online Hate Speech”, co-funded by the European Union's Justice, Equality and Citizenship Program – DG Justice, bringing together partners from Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece , Italy, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, with Sofia Development Association being the lead partner.

We will be happy if you distribute and use the videos. You can see them at the following links:

– dubbed in English:

Our main goal, together with our partners, is to support a coalition of people, institutions and organizations across Europe, who oppose online hate speech, but not with hatred and violence, but with positivity and creation of an environment of tolerance and acceptance. We want to contribute to creating a community of people who protect the rights of every person to be admitted to society, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality. You can read more about the ways of countering hate speech on the multilingual platform we created


We are offering you a new challenge: a 48-hour hackathon on healthcare issues.

Sofia Municipality, through SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION, is partner at Hack4Health international hackathon, organized by DEPARK Technology Development Zone and Sofia Tech Park - part of “StartinIzmir Hackathon Series”, which will be held concurrently in Sofia and Izmir through a direct video link.

Hack4Health is held with the support of Mtel and Webit.

You can find more information and how to register for participation HERE.

Civil Society Empowerment Program (CSEP) Training Seminar in Sofia

On Oct. 19, 2017 a training seminar under the Civil Society Empowerment Program (CSEP) took place in Sofia. The purpose of this program is to support and empower civil society organisations to become more active in the online domain. The training seminar provided an opportunity for civil society organizations in Sofia to learn how to use social media as part of their prevention and outreach strategies on various topics, such as radicalization, violent extremism, hate speech. Snezhina Atanassova took part in the training and presented the successful approach of the project Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, which is coordinated by Sofia Development Association. The training was a good opportunity to learn from leading European experts, to share ideas with fellow civil society organizations and to look for ways to collaborate more effectively in the future.

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 “.


Page 44 of 55

Go to top