Welcome to the Summer Seminar website!

The Summer Seminar is an annual forum for young public policy professionals from South Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region serving as a platform for discussion and networking among young state officials and representatives of think-tanks and research centers.

This long-term regional initiative was launched by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) with the support of a joint project of the Bertelsmann Foundation and the World Bank in 2000 in order to contribute to meeting the most visible and pressing challenges for South-Eastern Europe (SEE) at that time. Since then, EPI continues building actively on this concept which initially targeted young state officials from Bulgaria and Romania working in the field of EU integration.

Throughout the years, the Summer Seminar initiative broadened significantly its scope and geographical coverage. The EU membership prospects for many countries along with the overall processes of democratic transformation and the deep-rooted socio-economic reforms paved the way for a gradual involvement of other countries from the Western Balkans and the Black Sea basin and as of today this traditional initiative covers 15 SEE and Black Sea countries – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Each year since 2000, after a competitive selection process, the Summer Seminar gathers app. 35 promising young professionals, coming nowadays from all the above-mentioned countries, for a week-long event in the vicinity of the city of Varna at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Thus, by bringing together this diverse group of participants to meet distinguished international experts and practitioners and to discuss not only topics of regional significance but also up-to-date issues in the field of the European politics and economy, EPI aims at encouraging the exchange of good practices in this part of Europe and creating an environment for successful professional networking.

2018 Summer Seminar: 19 years of fostering expert exchange on public policy and EU affairs

“Public Policy Challenges – European and Regional Dimensions” is the overarching theme under which the Economic Policy Institute continues to support for 19 years in a row the expert exchange and leadership growth in Bulgaria’s vicinity. The 2018 Summer Seminar for Young Public Policy Professionals from Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region that took place in the period May 28 – June 1, 2018 in Albena Resort further contributed to the sustainability of these efforts. The 19th edition of EPI’s flagship regional initiative was part of the official calendar of the first Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and was made possible thanks to the kind financial support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, the Central European Initiative and the Austrian Embassy in Sofia.

The rigorous selection process with a record number of applications resulted in a talented pool of participants from public administration structures and policy-oriented research centres from 14 countries – Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia,  Turkey and Ukraine. The diverse group of young professionals benefitted from the knowledge and expertise of 16 prominent speakers.