You(TH) Participate:

Innovating Civic Engagement in Bulgaria Through Deliberative Democracy

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About the Project

The pioneering initiative "You(TH) Participate: Innovating Civic Engagement in Bulgaria Through Deliberative Democracy" is implemented by the Center for Information, Democracy, and Citizenship (CIDC) at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG). The project is aimed at empowering university students across Bulgaria by enhancing their understanding of civil rights and democratic engagement. This effort is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and further supported by Heinrich Boll Stiftung in Greece. The project’s core objective is to cultivate a community of informed and proactive youth leaders, educating them on the principles and practices of deliberative democracy. This flagship program is designed to contribute to a more inclusive and democratic society by fostering cooperation and dialogue among students from diverse backgrounds. The goals of the project are to:

  • Build the capacity of university students to engage in and advocate for participatory and deliberative democratic processes.
  • Encourage and empower youth to take active roles in democratic practices and pursue legislative changes to support Bulgaria's democratic development.

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As Democracy Youth Ambassadors (DYAs)

The Democracy Youth Ambassadors (DYAs) are a group of dynamic and motivated university students from across Bulgaria, chosen to lead and inspire their peers in the principles and practices of deliberative democracy. As part of the project, DYAs will participate in hands-on training and youth assembly, where they will collaborate on addressing real-world issues and advocating for legislative changes. Through their leadership, DYAs will engage and collaborate with their peers to build a more inclusive and democratic society in Bulgaria.

The position offers an honorarium of €300 per DYA for their leadership role in the project.

  • By participating in this project, DYAs will enhance their understanding of democratic processes, develop leadership capabilities, and contribute to building a more democratic and inclusive society in Bulgaria. They will play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of active civic participation, bridging the gap between youth and democratic institutions, and driving positive legislative changes in their communities.
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Program Goals and Objectives

The ultimate goal is to strengthen the leadership skills of Bulgarian youth, enhance their civic engagement, and involve them in innovative democratic processes to improve their trust in democratic institutions. To achieve this goal, we have set the following objectives: 

  1. Increase understanding of deliberative democracy among student leaders. 
  2. Stimulate civic participation by developing complex problem-solving skills through citizen assemblies. 
  3. Foster interest in policymaking by providing hands-on experience. 

Project Activities

The project activities will be executed as follows: 

Selection and Training of DYAs: 

  • Training program for DYAs, starting with a two-day retreat in October 2024 at AUBG’s campus, followed by online sessions. 
  • Self-assessments and mentorship sessions for DYAs, drawing on global best practices and innovative methods. 

Youth Assembly: 

  • Designing and launching the youth assembly process by the DYAs. 
  • Selecting and training approximately 50 students from across Bulgaria to participate in deliberative sessions. 
  • Organizing of in-person Youth Assembly at AUBG’s campus in Blagoevgrad in April 2025. 

Impact

From this program we expect to build a generation of informed and engaged citizens ready to drive societal change. 

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