Master of Public Administration and Ph.D in Public Affairs students participated in a study abroad program “Multilevel Governance Issues and the European Union: The Case of Bulgaria." The course, which involved sessions at FIU before and after, featured five days of seminars and site visits in Bulgaria between October 26-30, 2015. The study abroad program was organized by FIU’s Department of Public Administration and the Institute for Public Management and Community Service in coordination with the University of National and World Economy (UNWE). Drs. Allan Rosenbaum and Milena Neshkova from FIU led the study abroad program. Prominent Bulgarian Professor Polya Katsamunska was responsible for organizing the activities in Bulgaria.
The country provides a very useful learning laboratory for public administration students. As one of the two least economically developed countries in the European Union, as well as a highly centralized one, Bulgaria represents a particularly interesting case which illustrates the complexity of addressing issues of centralization and decentralization. FIU Master of Public Administration and PhD in Public Affairs students had the opportunity to engage with UNWE faculty and students and discussed not only Bulgarian government and policy issues, but also US politics and local governance in Miami-Dade County.
While in Sofia, the group met with a former Prime Minister, a former member of Parliament and other prominent figures from the country. FIU students also visited the Bulgarian Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the University of Sofia, various non-governmental organizations and other historic monuments and churches. The program included field trips to the City of Veliko Tarnovo, the historic former capital of Bulgaria, and the town of Koprivshtitsa, considered the birthplace of the national heroes that liberated the country from Ottoman Empire occupation in 1876.