Sofia Platform in cooperation with UNDP-Iraq organised a training seminar on the topic “Minorities rights and minorities participation and representation in politics. National and local level governance – policies and practices” with the participation of representatives of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament and the non-governmental sector in Iraq. The training was conducted in Sofia, Bulgaria on 18-20 November 2015.
The training programme consisted of numerous meetings and training sessions with Bulgarian politicians, officials, researchers and NGO representatives. The Iraqi delegation met with Bulgarian members of Parliament, including representatives of different political parties and members of the Foreign Policy Committee, the Education and Science Committee, the Interaction with Non-governmental Organizations and Citizen’s Committee, the Labour and Social Policy Committee, the Anti-corruption, Conflict of Interests and Parliamentary Ethics Committee and the Culture and Media Committee. The participants were also welcomed by the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Iraq at the National Assembly.
The delegation was introduced to representatives from several Bulgarian non-governmental organisations including Foundation for Reforms in the Local Self-governance, Open Society Institute, TimeHeroes and Reach for Change. In addition, they were welcomed by the Secretary for Education, Science and Civil Society of the Bulgarian President, by the Managing Partner of Alpha Research and at the Committee for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army.
The Iraqi delegation gained an in-depth understanding of the Bulgarian political and social dynamics, particularly when it comes to minority rights, local governance, education and civil society. They gathered valuable insights and shared their own experience with their Bulgarian counterparts. The exchanges were highly appreciated by both the Iraqi delegation and the Bulgarian participants in the training.