Centre for Social Practices (NBU-CSP), New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

The NBU-CSP was set up in 1993 to serve as a strategic and policy-promoting interface between civil society (NGOs), government (municipal and central) and academia. In 1996 the NBU-CSP became a department at the New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria’s largest and oldest of the independent (non-state) Universities. The NBU-CSP is Bulgaria’s leading independent institution in the field of participatory, sustainable development, policy formation and community building. The mission of the NBU-CSP is to employ up-to-date interdisciplinary analysis in practical work in order to achieve good governance and sustainable development based on a stable and self-confident civil society.

The Centre has a decade-long relationship with the central, regional and municipal authorities, as well as with the electronic and print media (the work of the Centre and its leading staff is featured on average once a week in the national media). The NBU-CSP has an established pattern of participation in international policy forums, including the EU, the OSCE and the Global Development Network and has worked in Slovakia, Macedonia, Serbia and Uzbekistan.
The NBU-CSP uniquely brings together the capacities of relevant academic disciplines (not only from the NBU, but also from other universities on a needs-basis), the practical knowledge of municipal and central government, civic organisations and independent expertise. The NBU-CSP works with a pool of up to 25 (depending on need) experienced representatives from all these fields and relies on a further pool of 10-12 volunteers. An average of one foreign researcher per year is hosted by the NBU-CSP.
Nationally and internationally, the NBU-CSP is best known for projects such as: introduction of the Ombudsman institution in a total of 15 municipalities (including the capital); analytical back-up for reform of the central and local administration; policy-making, in partnership with the relevant Ministries, in the field of military reform, administration reform, economic policy and in the implementation of EU Water Directive 2000/60; setting up Development Forums in municipalities and regions; as well as for policy work on the inclusion of minorities.