Platform –AGORΑ - Active Communities for Development Alternatives

AGORA logoAssociation "AGORA Platform – Active Communities for Development Alternatives – branch Burgas" was registered in 2011 as a non-profit association working in public interest. However, the headquarters of the Association is operational since 2008 and works for building active communities for sustainable development through the community cultural centers in Bulgaria (about 130 members)..

The associations' activities are directed towards: development of the Bulgarian national culture identity as part of the multi-culture European community; elaboration and application of approaches for incorporation and support of socially expelled community groups; support the real involvement of children and young people into the public processes through development of their personal, artistic and civic potential; encouragement of the elderly people to lead an active life and participate in the public processes by working “together with” and “for them"; support the establishment of favourable environment for exchange of knowledge and experience between generations.

Among AGORA's active members are more than 130 cultural centers from all over the country, many of which have good practice and capacities in community development, vocational training and organization and holding of musical, dance and food festivals. The traditional for Bulgaria community centers have cultural, educational, informational, social and civic functions. The cultural centers function also as civil society organizations. At many locations in Bulgaria they are the only cultural organizations that provide space and opportunities for the locals to attend amateur dance (folklore, Latino, modern, break dances, ballet, etc.), music, singing classes and theater classes, language and ICT courses, all have also a library.

The Association has developed and is applying the "AGORA" active community model. The model is based on the belief in the transformative power of civic involvement and participation for identifying sustainable solutions for local development and improved quality of life. It is developing the cultural centers as the community “meeting point” or the “agora” in rural and small urban communities. For the last five years, the model was tested and introduced in 34 communities all over Bulgaria. In the process more than 40 local problems were solved with citizens' participation and mobilized local resources, voluntary labor and advocacy campaigns. Most of the local issues were oriented towards elderly people, children and youth with the direct involvement of 11 000 citizens.

Platform AGORA implemented a youth artistic project that resulted in 3 performances together with Romanian and Turkish partners for promotion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the UN. It has happened within the project "Art Changes Lives", action 4.6 "Youth in Action" programme, Action 4.5. in 2011-2012 and motivated a group of young people for participation, media literacy on MDG as well as cultural expression by means of performing arts. The project met the priorities of the Programme for cultural diversity by provoking participants for an informal discussion on common human rights and values. In addition the project managed to develop the solidarity and tolerance among young people by including participants with fewer opportunities. Beside the coordination work and partnership meetings the project activities included artistic and research work done by the youth themselves in each of the three respective countries (Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania). As result of the research done, the project participants from each partner prepared presentation of the situation regarding the progress towards the achievement of MDGs in their country, presented live their research during three-day workshop in Sofia and developed three different artistic interpretations on the MDGs. The premiere of the three performances was on December, 3th during the International day of people with fewer opportunities. The venue of the event was the professional stage of the Youth Theatre “Nikolai Binev”, Sofia. Among the guests of the premiere were pupils from schools in Sofia and members of eco-clubs, art fans and people with disabilities, but also representatives of UNDP Office in Bulgaria, Embassy of Romania in Bulgaria, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Sofia, as well as greetings from head of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria. Video of the three performances is available here. In the first months of 2012 the Bulgarian team together with the video of the two partners’ performances made a marathon in schools in vast areas of Sofia and other Bulgarian cities (among them Burgas, Pomorie, etc.) where the performances were showed and discussions with the audience were provoked. Also, the cultural products were disseminated in the partner countries: in Turkey - Luleburgaz and Kirklareli and in Romania - at Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest.

In October 2014 Platform AGORA – branch Burgas started the implementation of the project "Festival of Generations" in partnership with two schools (in Bulgaria and Turkey). The overall objective of the project is to create a joint communication environment on the base of accumulated social and cultural experience of representatives of different generations. In this regard the project will address the generation gaps with artistic means and will develop generations' friendly communication environment. The project teams will build Youth Units at the two partner schools which will work with elderly people on topics of their choice. The project work will also include creation of two Artistic Ateliers for creation of cultural products interpreting generational issues. It will be an artistic expression via theater in Bulgaria and dance and music in Turkey. In the process of the “generational” celebrations two Festivals of the Generations will be held on both sides of the border. They will be composed as joint cultural public events presenting the results of all activities with an international conference, open stages with guest artists' from the region and a photo exhibition. On one hand the project will reinforce the social and cultural links among the generations through exchange and upgrade of their knowledge and skills for change. And on other hand it will improve the self expression abilities of youngsters and adults as well as fostering the cultural cross border communication.

Contact details

Association "Platform AGORA – branch Burgass", Burgas, Bulgaria 15 b, Khan Krum Street, floor 3, Burgas 8000

Mobile phone: +359 896669229

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Contact person: Mrs. Rayna Milanova, Branch Manager

Association "Platform AGORA", Sofia, Bulgaria 43, Gen. Eduard Totleben Blvd., floor.2, apt. 6 Sofia 1606, Bulgaria

Phone/fax: +3592462 7111

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Contact person: Mrs. Emilia Lissichkova, Chairperson

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