Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Lawyers Strengthening Civic Education in Bulgaria

Street Law recently launched a new project in Bulgaria supporting civic education and connecting legal professionals with teachers and students in Sofia.

Two separate but auspiciously timed factors led to the development of this program. First, following educational reform legislation passed in Bulgaria in 2016, the Ministry of Education and Science is in the process of developing a new national civics course that will be required for all high school students. With Street Law’s recent experience in Ukraine helping a coalition of Ukrainian NGOs and the Ministry of Education and Science develop and implement a new national civics curriculum, we were well positioned to provide substantive assistance in Bulgaria. Second, longtime Street Law friend and supporter Bill Deckelman, EVP and General Counsel at DXC Technology, approached us about developing a project outside of the U.S. in which members of the DXC legal team could volunteer. 

With these two considerations in mind, we designed a program which would bring volunteer attorneys from DXC’s Sofia-based legal team into civics classrooms to teach and provide legal subject matter expertise in accordance with the new Bulgarian national curriculum. Street Law joined forces with the team at Sofia Platform—a Bulgarian NGO working to strengthen civic education and civic dialogue—to train the lawyers in student-centered teaching methods and guide them in the development of lesson plans.

Street Law Executive Director Lee Arbetman has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, twice to meet with the partners and to train the team of lawyer volunteers. The DXC lawyers will begin teaching lessons in spring 2020. The lessons will cover a variety of civics topics including practical law, the Bulgarian Constitution, the meaning of justice, business contracts, anti-corruption, and the rule of law. Street Law and Sofia Platform are seeking resources to bring lawyer support for civic education in Bulgaria to scale throughout the country.

Learn more about Street Law’s International Programs.