Cooperation with the academic community and forum “The academic community and the system for integration and social inclusion of refugees in Bulgaria”
Europe faces an unprecedented refugee crisis linked to people fleeing Ukraine and increased migration pressure. In this context, the academic community in Europe and Bulgaria is exploring the aspects and challenges of refugee protection and integration, regardless of where they come from.
Academic collaboration with refugee protection and integration stakeholders broadens research expertise and can lead to more effective practical approaches. Such collaborations contribute to innovative solutions for the social inclusion and integration of refugees. They encourage research on both the opportunities that refugee integration brings and the challenges faced by host countries.
The Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants (BCRM) is an association founded by the Bulgarian Red Cross, Caritas Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee as a platform for advocacy to build an effective refugee protection system with the active role of civil society. The mission of the BCRM is to build partnerships with like-minded institutions, local authorities, civil society and academia to integrate refugees and build a supportive environment.
On 24 October – International UN Day, BCRM, in partnership with UNHCR Representation in Bulgaria and Sofia University – Faculty of Pedagogy and Faculty of History, organised a forum on “The Academic Community and the System for Integration and Social Inclusion of Refugees in Bulgaria”. The forum was opened by Dr Kina Sabeva, President of the BCRM. Welcoming speeches were given by Petya Karayaneva, Protection Officer at the UNHCR Representation, and Prof. Dr Lilyana Strakova, Dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy and Assoc. Prof. Dr Mira Markova, Dean of the Faculty of History.
Research papers on the protection, integration and social inclusion of refugees in Bulgaria were presented at the forum:
▪ Current highlights of the academic training of specialists in the field of integration and social inclusion of refugees in Bulgaria
Prof. Dr Siyka Chavdarova – Kostova, Faculty of Pedagogy, head of the master’s program “Social Work with Refugees and Migrants”, member of the Academic Council for Refugee Affairs at the UNHCR Representation in Bulgaria
▪Academic projections of cultural ideas regarding the refugee issue
Assoc. PhD. Maya Cholakova, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts, member of the Academic Council for Refugee Affairs at the UNHCR representation in Bulgaria
▪Factors and mechanisms of therapeutic assistance in group work with refugees
Prof. Dr Ginka Mekhanjiyska, Faculty of Pedagogy, lecturer in the master’s program “Social Work with Refugees and Migrants”
▪Quality management in organizations working with refugees – current challenges
Assoc. Dr Rositsa Simeonova, Faculty of Pedagogy, a lecturer in the master’s program “Social Work with Refugees and Migrants”
▪Cultural mediation – to understand and support the work with refugees and migrants
Ch. Assistant Professor Teodorina Milusheva, PhD, Faculty of Pedagogy
▪Social and pedagogical challenges to the social inclusion of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children in Bulgaria
Ch. Assistant Professor Daniela Racheva, Faculty of Pedagogy, a lecturer in the master’s program “Social Work with Refugees and Migrants”
▪The war in Ukraine and the fate of refugees
Prof. Mihail Stanchev, Kharkiv University “Karazin”, visiting professor at the Faculty of History and Assoc. Prof. Mira Markova, Faculty of History
▪Providing temporary protection – Bulgaria’s experience with Ukrainian refugees
Mariana Tosheva, Faculty of Pedagogy, PhD student, President of the State Agency for Refugees
▪The extracurricular work of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology students with refugees
Ch. assistant Dr Violeta Kotseva – Popova and head Kremena Yordanova, assistant professor, Faculty of History
▪How to raise awareness about refugees – student ideas
Assistant Professor Ekaterina Tomova, Faculty of Pedagogy
▪Possibilities and limitations in the use of photography to preserve the cultural identity of refugees
Prof. Dr Vladislav Gospodinov, Faculty of Pedagogy, a lecturer in the master’s program “Social Work with Refugees and Migrants”
▪Confirmation and expansion of research in the field of integration of refugees in Bulgaria: the example of the academic bulletin “Refugees: Today and Tomorrow”
Ch. asst. Dr Vanya Ivanova, Bulgarian Academy of Science
BCRM’s initiatives to collaborate and partner with academic institutions and the academic community are part of the response to the stated objective in Article 43 of the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees: ‘To establish a global academic network on refugees, other forced migration and statelessness that will involve universities, academic communities, research institutes, together with UNHCR and other stakeholders, to foster research, training and scholarship opportunities that will lead to concrete outcomes.