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The Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Educational Program to Build Future Leaders of Change

March 29, 2018

The official launch of the new Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program was announced on March 26 at the Elieff Center for Education and Culture in Sofia. The program will provide unique opportunity to acquire knowledge on sustainable business development. It was developed jointly by the Bulgarian Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) and the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) with the support of well-known international professors. The event was attended by representatives of the business, state administration and educational institutions in the country. Special guest at the ceremony was Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (2012-2017), Special Envoy of the American University in Bulgaria.

“Sustainable development is a way of thinking. We need to unite our efforts and work together – governments, institutions, businesses and citizens. We all share one common home – the planet Earth. We need to think smart, act sustainably and change our approach to leave future generations a beautiful, healthy and prosperous planet”, Plevneliev said at the ceremony.

The program aims to educate professionals in the field of sustainable development and best business practices. Professionals will be trained over the course of five full days on the premises of the American University in Bulgaria. The course will be offered twice this year in two cohorts – April 23-27 and in October-November, 2018. The organizers’ ambition is to continue the training in the years to come, upgrading the program and turning it into a master’s degree course at the national level.

“The program is unique in its structure and content, with no analogue in Bulgaria. The educational modules are developed to meet the needs of the business but also to be applicable in the everyday practice,” said Jana Velichkova, Executive Director of BSDA.

AUBG President Dr. Steven Sullivan stressed on the importance of such intitiatives for the development of the region. “Bulgaria needs a new generation of leaders to work towards creating a more sustainable social, environmental and business system. We all share the responsibility to build a sustainable community together,” he said.

The Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program is part of the wider Crystal Clear initiative which was launched in April 2017 by eight companies, members of the Bulgarian Soft Drinks Association. Its goal is to introduce rules and norms to enforce compliance with the highest quality standards in the sector and promote clear, responsible and transparent business environment – both in the bottling industry and in the Bulgarian economy as a whole.

“Organizations don’t change, people do. So it’s essential we invest in our leaders of tomorrow as we move to make sustainability just good business,” said Wendy Purcell, a professor from Harvard University and one of the instructors at the program. “Our expert consultancy connects program participants to a network of global thought leaders and supports the partnership. We want to help leaders to position sustainability as innovation’s new frontier, with the new program underpinning Bulgaria’s ambitious plans for inclusive growth.”

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