The Sport Diplomacy Academy is officially launched
17.01.2019
In the period 14-17 January, 2019 the first meeting of the partners in the project "Sports diplomatic academy" was held in Sofia. 7 initiatives have been funded under the mobility program in the sphere of sport, with the Diplomacy Academy being the contribution of our country to the purposeful development of human capacity in sport, which the European Commission is starting to support this year. The total budget of this call for project proposals is 1.2 million EUR. The call was intended to contribute to the development of sports organizations by supporting the learning mobility of their staff. The exchange of people, ideas and good practices could be beneficial to people, their organizations for sport and society as a whole are going to be one of the main priorities of Erasmus + in its sporting part after 2020 when it is expected and doubling the budget. Full information on the selection is available on the European Commission's website: https://ec.europa.eu/sport/news/2018/results-published-call-proposals-exchanges-and-mobility-sport_en.

Sport Diplomacy Academy project is legacy of recent First Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which took place in the first half of 2018. The project will focus on the cooperation with Western Balkans as a logical follow up of all implemented activities under #EU2018BG priority: the EU perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans, referring to the Sofia Declaration and Sofia Priority Agenda. Both European Union and Western Balkan partners should continue to invest efforts in strengthening the cooperation and good practices exchange, focused on democracy, security and fundamental rights.

The project will ensure the educational mobility of coaches and other staff of sport organizations (incl. volunteers) linked to professional and grassroots sport. The 4 modules of mobility, held in each one of the partners countries with the same group of participants from the project target group will improve their competences as well as their qualifications and acquire new skills through learning mobility and spending a period of time in a foreign country (in and outside of the EU). The learning mobility will be an investment in human capital and a contribution to the capacity building of sport organizations with clear focus on building a network of well-trained sport diplomats.

After the implementation of the project mobility, each of the partner countries will have at least 20 well-trained diplomats in sport suits, with practical skills and knowledge in the field of sports diplomacy (political dialogue and international relations, campaigning, successful verbal and non-verbal communication, public speaking, media, protocol and etiquette, EU foreign policy and values). The network that the project will create (4 countries with 20 participants from each country) will focus on supporting and developing the integration of the Western Balkans in the field of sport and will be a quality provider of EU values in the local environment. The modules will attract the best EU experts in each specified area and non-formal learning methods will be used.

Four partner organizations are involved in the project – Bulgarian sports development association – coordinator and initiator of the academy, Rijeka Sports Association, Croatia, the Italian sports organization "ENDAS" and BRAVO – a NGO from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The partners have been working together for several years, implementing projects of varying sizes and collaborating in different fields in the sphere of sport, education and youth policy.

The project also includes the following concrete outputs:
• 80 "diplomats in sport suits" (20 from each partner country) aimed at achieving European integration in the Western Balkan countries through sport;
• National, regional and local dissemination events (involving at least 400 people) - multiplier effect of acquired skills and knowledge;
• Platform for the development of sport in the Western Balkans - a practical tool for EU resources and values in the field of sport, with a focus on sports diplomacy and good governance in sport.

The learning mobility will be an investment in human capital and a contribution to the capacity building of sport organizations with clear focus on building a network of well-trained sport diplomats.
• Module 1: Sport diplomacy, EU foreign policy, EU values, political dialogue and international relations;
• Module 2: Summary and Feedback of Module 1, analysis of local events, Good governance in the field of sport;
• Module 3: Summary and feedback of module 2, local event analysis, campaign management, successful communication (verbal and nonverbal), public speaking, protocol and label;
• Module 4: Summary and feedback of Module 3, analysis of local events, Working with the media, Working with specific target groups, Sport diplomacy for development, How to apply the knowledge we have accumulated.

During the meeting the partners discussed the details of the project activities, analyzed the possible implementation challenges and selected the appropriate approaches to be implemented for the quality performance of each activity. Sport Diplomacy Academy project is co-funded by ErasmusPlus Programme of the European Union.