There are events and events. Some suffer from lack of organization, clarified goals and make you say “I should have stayed home”. Others stun you not only with impeccable organisation, but with incredibly chosen and developed themes, leaving a pleasant and long-lasting “scent” behind them, so that you don’t want them to end – I had the opportunity to participate in that type of event.
On November 20, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy in Sofia held the ceremony for the opening of Model Republic of Bulgaria – a three-day simulation of state power aimed to bring together young students with different views and ideas. The organisers were “Bulgaria of the Young” – a group of students who believe in the ability of the young generation to contribute to a positive change in Bulgaria. Interestingly, the entire organisational team consists of students – an event done for students by students. Each of us took a different role in the simulation – there were MPs, ministers, journalists and representatives of NGOs. The simulation was opened by the deputy chair of the State Agency for Child Protection (SACP) and the 17-year-old organiser of the event, Arno Piegeler.
The theme of the event was “State Budget 2019”. We had the task of allocating the budget surplus in the most reasonable way possible. Mr. Piegeler has mentioned a few times that the way we approach our personal finances is the same as for the budget allocation. Talking about young people who have little (or no) experience in politics, we must mention that lectures on State Building and State Budget Structure were held on the first day. We had the opportunity to meet almost all participants during an informal networking.
The next two days were a mix of different emotions and experiences. There were internal press conferences, noisy, but classy, debates, tricky journalistic interviews and, very similar to real life, meetings of ministers and MPs. All the press conferences were conducted under the same strict regulation under which the real ones are running. Everyone had the opportunity to express an opinion on the assigned topic, and ministers made relevant decisions and justifications concerning the change in the budget of their ministry. Everything happened so realistically that at the end of the third day, we turned to each other as with MPs, even outside the meeting room.
The organisers had made sure that there was no way for the participants to get bored. A platform was given to journalists to publish the most prominent stories about the simulation deputies. Through “The Gossip Box”, each of the participants had the opportunity to share spicy stories and gossip he witnessed and publish them anonymously. This was the occasion for following simulated scandals and, of course, made the atmosphere extremely intense.
The event ended with the awarding of certificates to the participants by the SACP Deputy chair Valeriy Yordanov and a gala dinner, where we had the opportunity to really know each other and share similar ideas and, I dare to say, we parted with the thought that we found friends and adherents.
“One of the really beautiful things people have always been able to do is the art of gathering – gathering suitable people is one of the things in this life that will always have the potential to change the world of someone because very often, our inspirations or salvations are only two contacts away. We should never underestimate the power of the connection between people” Arno Piegeler commented on social media regarding the event. This is also my reason to be part of the incredible IBA team, because networking has the power to change fates and lives. “Model Republic of Bulgaria” has definitely justified my beliefs.
We all know that this is not the end, because today Model Republic of Bulgaria was a simulation but tomorrow it will be our reality.
Photo credit: Desislava Pavlova and Kamen Trifonov