Forum Sofia

Towards a new understanding of regional development in a situation of crisis


Forum Sofia took place on 29 April 2009 in the National Archaeological Museum of Sofia and focused on Regional/Urban Development and Culture.


The main goal of Forum Sofia was to make the first step in Bulgaria toward a new understanding of regional and urban development which no longer excludes its cultural dimension. Unlike events organised by associations or governmental and administrative offices, Forum Sofia is an authentic civil society initiative.


Forum Sofia brought together representatives of the EU Institutions among them Meglena Kuneva, Commissioner for Consumer Affairs of the European Commission, the Bulgarian government and local authorities, among them Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Georgi Pirinski, President of the Bulgarian Parliament, Yordanka Fandukova, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, as well as experts and civil society representatives from about ten European countries, among them Rariţa Zbranca, director of the AltArt Foundation (Romania) and Strategy Group member of "A Soul for Europe" and Assya Kavrakova representing the Open Society Institute.


Foundation for Urban Projects and Research (Sofia) Family of NGOs in the field of Art and Culture (Sofia) in co-operation with the "A Soul for Europe" Initiative.


Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgarian Ministry of Culture
Sofia Municipality
Bulgarian National Fund “Culture”
Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe
Open Society Institute (Sofia)
Robert Bosch Stiftung
AGORA Platform (Active Communities for Development Alternatives)
Institute of Archaeology and Museum


Representatives of the Bulgarian government, the EU Commission and the Monitoring Committee of the Bulgarian Operational Programme "Regional Development" discussed the conclusions of Forum Sofia. As a result they decided that a part of the Operational Program budget will be directed toward "live culture" of the regions and not only for cultural heritage.

Forum Sofia was followed by Forum Cluj (Romania). The final objective will be to set up a Europe-wide platform for dialogue between European, national and local authorities and civil society on the questions of culture as a motor for regional development.