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Tentative Program
Course Description

Course Description

Course 1: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Lecturer: Prof. George Siedel, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, MI

The ability to negotiate effectively is an important skill in our personal and professional lives. This course is designed to help students become better negotiators. Among the topics covered are negotiation strategies, a legal and ethical framework for negotiation, traps that arise during negotiation, and cross-cultural negotiation. The course also includes various processes such as mediation and arbitration that are used by leaders of organizations to resolve disputes. During the course students will participate in negotiation exercises and will receive feedback on how to improve their negotiation skills.

Course 2: Business Communication: Acquiring the Skills and Tools for Successful Career Development
Lecturer: Dr. Maria Petrova, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA, USA

Communication skills hold the key to professional and personal success. Such skills are crucial in a tight employment market when jobs are few and competition is fierce. In the present economic downturn, superior communication skills will give you a tremendous advantage over other job applicants. A powerful career filter, your ability to communicate will make you marketable and continue to be your ticket to success regardless of the economic climate.

In the business environment, writing and presenting information clearly, concisely, and comprehensibly are critical success factors. Evidence of the importance that business ascribes to communication skills comes from many sources; one of them is the Robert Half International survey of the 1,000 largest employers in the United States. In this study, 96 percent reported that employees must have good communication skills to get ahead. A similar study, this time concerning MBA applicants, found that 85 percent of recruiters consider communication skills to be the most important skills sought. Unfortunately, business’s need for employees with good communication skills is all too often unfulfilled.

In the FISI course, we will address this need by developing your potential to communicate effectively. We will learn techniques for clarifying purpose, understanding readers, and organizing ideas. Through in-class writing exercises, we will practice proven strategies for overcoming writer’s block and creating concise, appropriate, and grammatically correct work. Practice exercises include editing and writing letters, memos, reports, email messages, summaries, resumes, and cover letters. You will be required to bring a resume and a cover letter with you when you come to this class. Vocabulary development, using correct grammar and punctuation techniques for reducing writing time, and proofreading will also be addressed.

By the end of this one-week course, you will have developed the ability to understand how communication works, how to write from the reader’s point of view, and how to make effective presentations. Moreover, you will be able to practice your listening skills, recognize how culture influences communication, and improve your career prospects by mastering non-verbal communications. You will also gain an appreciation for the fact that regardless of your sphere of employment—finance, IT, medicine— if you’re unable to promote your services and communicate effectively with clients and colleagues, your potential is limited.

Perhaps you are already working or will soon apply for your first job. How do your skills measure up? The good news is that effective communication can be learned. This course can immediately improve your communication skills, thereby making a significant difference in your ability to find a job and be promoted.

Course Syllabus:

Day 1: Foundations of business communications
Today’s workplace revolves around communication. Just what is communication? It serves to inform, of course, but more importantly its central objective is to transmit meaning. In this class, we will examine the five steps of the communication process and discover if we know how to be effective listeners. Research suggests that we listen at 25 to 50 percent efficiency. Such poor listening habits are costly in business and affect professional relationships. To improve listening skills, we will first recognize the seven barriers that prevent effective listening and focus on specific techniques that are effective in improving listening skills. We will also discuss the cues sent by our bodies, known as nonverbal communication. Finally, we will complete an assessment of how we rate on four critical communications skills: writing, reading, speaking, and listening; and build and practice strategies for developing powerful listening and strong nonverbal skills.

Day 2: The writing process
“Businesses are crying out—they need to have people who write better,” said Gaston Caperton, College Board president. The ability to write opens doors to professional employment. Writing is a marker of high-skill, high-wage, professional work, according to Bob Kerrey, president of The New School in New York. If you can’t express yourself clearly, he says, you limit your opportunities for many positions. This class focuses on the skills needed for effective business writing. We will discuss how business writing differs from any other type of writing and examine the three phases of the writing process—prewriting, writing, and revising. We will review what each phase involves and discuss how much time should be spent on each phase. Techniques for overcoming writer’s block will be provided. We will conduct an exercise about audience profiling and outline the characteristics of audience-centered business messages.

Day 3: Using technology to write persuasively
In the last two decades information technology and the Internet have transformed the world of work, enabling employees to transmit messages fast, over long distances, and to large audiences. What are the advantages and pitfalls of instant communication? When the average worker sends and receives more than 200 messages a day, how do we filter out what is important and what is not? Moreover, how do we get our message to stand out and achieve its desired effect? Here, we will discuss the techniques for designing persuasive messages using style, grammar, and organization. We will review and critique both successful and not-so-successful messages, and practice writing one in class.

Day 4: Designing and delivering oral presentations
Communicating business ideas effectively in front of an audience is one of the most feared tasks for many employees. Speaking in public creates so much anxiety that the fear of it ranks second, after the fear of dying. In this class, we will discuss techniques to overcome one’s fear of speaking in public and go over the steps of preparing a presentation. We will also examine the most common tools used in presentation and the need for visual materials to support oral delivery. Students will prepare and present a short, three-minute presentation in front of their classmates and get their and the Professor’s feedback on the level of their effective delivery.

Day 5: Writing resumes and application letters
Perhaps you will soon be on the job market looking for your dream job or you already have a job but would like to develop your career by applying for another one. Most job ads require that you submit a resume and a cover letter. Here we will review what makes a cover letter and a resume stand out. What are the secrets of effective resume writing?

Course 3: Philanthropy and Fundraising for NGOs
Lecturer: Dr. George Kosar, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

The success of non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations depends significantly on understanding philanthropy and funding sources, as well as being able to carry out a challenging yet vital form of intercultural communication: raising money. Fundraising skills are one of the most important keys to the success of nonprofits in the European Union. Indeed, the European Fundraising Association’s 2013 report “Fundraising in Europe,” which surveyed 1,140 fundraising organizations with 8,800 individual fundraisers in 17 countries, concluded that increasing the professionalism of fundraising was the overwhelmingly top factor that has most positively impacted charitable giving in Europe over the last ten years. At the same time, the survey noted that a shortage of fundraising skills is “the most common restriction to have impacted fundraising.”

This course addresses this vital need by building on two premises: First, the American system of professional fundraising has a mature—yet constantly adapting and innovating—array of methods, skills, perspectives, and approaches that can help organizations in Europe.  And second, donor development must always take into account the cultural, legal, historical, regulatory, and economic contexts that affect a country’s and region’s philanthropy. With this in mind, the course examines important developments in American and international philanthropy and provides a hands-on practicum in fundraising for not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations. It introduces fundraising principles and methodologies in practical ways that are adaptable to European and Bulgarian conditions.

The course provides a practicum on various fundraising methods, including major gifts, annual giving, grantseeking, and planned (legacy) giving. It assesses why donors (whether individuals, foundations, or corporations) decide to give money; reviews ethical principles; discusses the roles of boards of directors; identifies and articulates how to make a program or organization appealing to donors; and explains the importance of “case statements” and “problem statements” in successful fundraising.

Upon completion of the course, students will have gained a deeper understanding of who is philanthropic, why they are philanthropic, and how they are philanthropic. They will be better prepared to “make the case” for funding, to “make the ask,” and to develop fundraising operations.

Course Syllabus:

Day 1:  The Principles, Concepts, and Contexts of Fundraising
This session lays the groundwork for understanding the fundraising process by focusing on the dynamics between donors, NGOs, and the ultimate beneficiaries of philanthropy. We will also review the five-stage Fundraising Cycle and the concept of Gift Pyramids. Finally, to ensure that this is an interactive course that students can readily apply to their own work and future career goals, we will discuss the needs of Bulgarian and other NGOs and how to achieve fundraising success in the appropriate “philanthropic context.” For example, should we be seeking to obtain a подарък? A дарение?  A принос?  Подкрепа?

Day 2:  Enticing a Donor and Successfully Asking for a Large Gift
How do you ask for large sums of money without being overwhelmed by nervousness and anxiety? How can you engage donors with feelings of confidence and calm—of passion and purpose? To answer these questions, students will learn how to tap into donor motivations and build meaningful relationships with prospective donors. We will do this by learning to take a donor-centered approach to fundraising and to operate on three different planes, or levels, of activity.  Finally, the class will discuss a case study to determine how to respond to a crisis situation of “fundraising gone wrong,” and to avoid tactical and strategic mistakes when cultivating donors.

We will also explore the importance of “leading with your problem” and share ideas about how an organization can create a conceptual foundation for successful resource development. After all, one mistake fundraisers make is telling prospective donors about their solution, without ever sharing their problem—they talk about what they want to do, and not about why they want to do it.

Day 3:  Creating the Bases for Sustaining Your Organization
This class will discuss the most effective ways to ask for money in order to build a sustained, dynamic base of donors at the so-called “Base of the Pyramid.” Students will learn how to identify, segment, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors by asking questions that will help guide them through almost any situation. 

In addition to a base of donors, we will learn how to develop another “base”:  the logic by which an organization can convince donors to give money.  To do this, we will discuss Theory of Change, analyze a Logic Model, and learn the differences between goals, objectives, inputs, outputs, outcomes, and indicators. Developing the logic of your “ask” can help convince businesses that your organization is a worthwhile philanthropic investment.

Day 4:  Grantseeking, Ethics, and Case Statements
This class will cover three important topics.  First, we will review the world of grantseeking and important strategies for successfully winning grants—not gifts—from foundations and other organizations. Some questions we will answer:  What is the difference between a gift and a grant?  How exactly does one apply for grants?  What can help make a grant application successful? 

Second, we will discuss how fundraisers should conduct themselves to maintain proper ethical standards. What ethical guidelines exist in Europe and the United States to develop and maintain healthy relationships with donors? 

Third, many organizations that launch fundraising campaigns develop a “case statement” that makes the case for funding, thereby providing the rationale by which fundraisers ask for money, and the conceptual basis for developing brochures, videos, and funding proposals. We will look at examples of case statements so that students themselves can determine what works and what doesn’t.

Day 5:  Legacy Giving and Applying Your Fundraising Knowledge
Some of the largest gifts to nonprofits are those that people give when thinking about the legacy they will leave behind. This class will look at various kinds of gifts—such as wills, trusts, stock, and real estate—and why people give them. By discussing specific cases, this session will help illuminate the “donor-centric” approach to raising funds. Finally, we will take a fun exam together:  after watching a video that was professionally produced as part of a billion-dollar fundraising campaign, we will apply our new-found knowledge to understand the strategic and tactical thinking on which the video was created.

Course 4: Project Writing and Project Management
Lecturer: Dr. Danail Danov, Communications and Human Resources Development Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

The course offers in-depth knowledge, strong practical skills and positive attitudes and appreciation in the field of project writing and management. By using a wide variety of methods (learning from the others, learning by doing, participatory observation, etc.) students will tackle in details all project compulsory elements such as rational of intervention, setting aims, goals and objectives, defining methods of delivery, identification of risks, and budgeting. Along with that they will learn how to manage team work successfully and how to maintain effective communication and partnership with key stakeholders by focusing closely on drafting of action plans, preparation of interim and final reports, and assessment of results and impact.

Course content
Lectures – 10 hours for interactive presentations
Seminars -10 hours of hands-on workshops and discussions based on topics strongly related to the presentations
Assignments – a few small tasks and a final one

Final assignment: presentation of a project proposal and action plan in groups (each student presents a specific part of the assignment based on his/her personal contribution but attends the presentation of two other groups to provide feedback)
Final grade will be based on students’ participation and progress in class throughout the course, positive development in their presentation and feedback providing skills, as well as on the result of the final assignment.

Course objectives
At the end of the course the students will achieve the following competences:
a)  Knowledge-wise

  1. Understand the logic of project writing
  2. Comprehend the different project elements as separate units and in their complexity
  3. Know at least two tools for problems’ identification and analysis
  4. Formulate aims, goals and objectives
  5. Identify risks and cope with them
  6. See the relationship between team capacity and the need of project intervention
  7. Understand the logic of project management
  8. Know the principles of drafting budget proposals
  9. Understand the principles of project reporting

b) Skills-wise

  1. Conduct different types of analysis
  2. Define problems
  3. Set SMART objectives
  4. Prepare project logical framework
  5. Write project proposals
  6. Manage project implementation
  7. Draft action plans
  8. Write project reports
  9. Evaluate projects’ results and impact

c) Attitude-wise
1. Feel willing to write projects
2. Become result-oriented
3. Appreciate team work and project management

Course Syllabus:

Day 1:
1. Introduction to the course: needs, expectations, program, methodology, course -framework - discussion
2. Writing a project: rational, intervention framework, compulsory elements - presentation
Day 2:
3. Defining the project’s aims, goals and objectives - discussion
4. Defining the problem. Tools for analysis: SWOT, SPIN, STAR-presentation and hands-on exercise
Day 3:
5. Assumptions and risks-hands-on exercise
6. Design of logical framework (LOGFRAME)-presentation and hands-on exercise
Day 4:
8. Working in teams: team management, effective communication and leadership – presentation and hands-on work
9. Project reporting: objectives, evaluation and assessment of impact
10. Presentation of assignments. Course wrap-up

Course 5: Crisis Management: Dealing With Personal and Professional Crises in Your Life
Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Timothy Ilg, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA

Unexpected events occur frequently in all aspects of our daily environment. Modern organizations cannot avoid all forms of threats and crises caused by the natural environment (Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami), human (Executive Pay), and technology (BP oil spill). Companies, community groups, and government entities find themselves as targets of aggressive legal action, media coverage and social pressure.  We will all face emergency situations in our personal and professional lives. This course on crisis management will offer participants the basics in identifying, preventing, and controlling crisis situations. This course will allow participants to investigate, articulate, and evaluate organizations that experience real-life conflict and crises (Carnival Cruise Line; Cyprus Bank Crisis). There will be an opportunity each day for students to take a real-world situation and relate it directly to the theory under discussion. This course is based on experience-learning, utilizing a rich set of case studies and crisis simulation exercises to help participants to improve their strategic thinking as well as team management and communication skills in high-stress situations. The course will include several group exercises and simulations. Throughout the course, participants will learn how to transform a crisis-prone organization to be crisis-prepared, and how to establish strategies and tactical plans to handle a crisis both in their professional as well as their personal lives. In addition to the introduction of relevant theory, each session will demonstrate “how-to” implement the theories. The importance of communication and making instant and effective decisions is also covered, as are a variety of emergency response scenarios. Finally, the course will conclude with guidance regarding damage control, the restoration of confidence in a business, company, government entity, and will offer participants a basic checklist that may be utilized as a jumping off point for a crisis management team in a variety of business environments or public sector scenarios.

Course Syllabus:
This course operates on a highly practical level. Participants will acquire a set of useful, practical tools and techniques to be used in planning for possible crises, and in handling “in the moment” problems/issues. By the end of the course, participants will:

  1. Describe the defining characteristics of crises – (a) a threat to the organization, (b) an element of surprise, (c) a short decision time frame, (d) and the need for consequent change.
  2. Be in a position to plan effectively for crises.
  3. Understand the potential effect of successful and unsuccessful crisis management on an organization.
  4. Develop an understanding of the appropriate forms of crisis communication, both to the public and the media, and to one’s employees.
  5. Create a crisis management checklist.

Assignments throughout the course are designed to develop practical skills for crisis communication management. Depending on the interests of the participants and/or their professional backgrounds, students will be able to select from several different assignments.

Two examples follow:

Rumor Analysis Assignment: Using one of the many website rumor “clearing houses,” participants will find an Internet rumor or hoax that could be damaging to an organization, investigate the website, and explain how the organization responded to the rumor. Participants will then recommend other steps that could have been taken to counter the rumor.

Crisis Communication Plan: Utilizing one of the crisis communication plan models, participants will write a crisis communication plan for an organization of their choice.

During the last day of the course, there will be an in-class simulation during which participants will work in teams to respond to a fictional crisis involving multiple stages.

Course 6: D.A.R.E. --- Debate. Argue. Reason. Examine.
Lecturer: David M. Korn, Phelps Dunbar LLP, New Orleans, LA

Do you want to be on the winning side of an argument? Would you like to be able to analyze issues and communicate your position in a persuasive manner? This course is for students who want to sharpen their analytical skills, improve their ability to debate issues and learn to effectively present their position in writing and through oral communications.  

The paradigm under which D.A.R.E. is taught is through a mock jury trial. D.A.R.E. teaches the skills that trial lawyers must learn to be effective. However, it doesn’t matter whether you want to be a lawyer, teacher, politician or entrepreneur to benefit from D.A.R.E. After participating in the exercises taught in this course, you will excel at oral advocacy, communication and persuasion which are skill sets that will benefit you in whatever professional occupation you choose. 

A component of this course will also include an overview of the United States and other International judicial systems along with a practicum on litigating a trial. This class is dynamic, exciting and will challenge you to become a better communicator in all areas where you are an advocate. Do you dare to D.A.R.E.?

Course Syllabus:

The D.A.R.E course will be held during a five-day period with two classes per day, each consisting of 75 minutes. During the classes, students will learn both the theory, procedure and realities of the legal system in the United States and as it compares to other countries.  Students will also learn and practice the skills required of litigators and participate as lawyers in a mock jury trial that will be held before their peers in a public forum on the last day of the class.

Course 7: Ethnic Conflicts, Human Rights, and Civil Unrest in the EU and Its Neighborhood
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Mark Kramer, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

This course provides an overview of ethnic conflicts, human rights, civil unrest issues in the EU and its neighborhood, including international as well as internal dimensions of these problems. The course surveys a wide variety of relevant questions, such as the status of separatist minorities, the potential for ethnically divided societies to live in peace, the status of Roma/Gypsies, the management of violent ethnic strife, and the causes and dynamics of mass civil unrest. Illustrative cases come from all over the EU and its neighborhood, particularly from the Balkans. In addition to discussing problems within EU countries, the course considers the role of the EU in nearby civil strife, most notably in the western Balkans, Ukraine, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. The course examines practical as well as conceptual issues, helping students to analyze ethnic conflicts, human rights, and mass unrest and to think about ways of trying to resolve existing and future problems. The course consists of a series of lectures and concludes with in-class presentations by students on topics assigned by the professor.

Specific topics to be covered include:

  • Ways of conceptualizing ethnic conflicts and minority rights
  • The status of large ethnic minorities in EU countries (Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, etc.)
  • The EU and the Turkish and Roma/Gypsie minorities in Bulgaria
  • EU policy and ethnic conflicts in the western Balkans (Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo-Serbia, Macedonia)
  • EU policy and ethnic conflicts in the EU Neighborhood (Ukraine, Moldova-Transnistria, Georgia) and in Russia’s Northern Caucasus
  • Mass civil unrest in EU countries (Bulgaria, Slovenia, Greece) and EU neighborhood countries (Ukraine, Turkey, Bosnia and Hercegovina)
  • Protection of human rights and resolution of ethnic and political disputes

Suggested readings (optional but recommended) will be distributed by email attachment to class members several weeks before the start.

Course 8: Civil Society Development in Eastern and Central Europe
Lecturer: Lucien Peters, Offices of the Secretary General, European Parliament, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Purpose of the Course
This course aims to give students an introduction to what civil society is, how it is organized, how it makes itself heard, and how it can influence policy making.
The role of civil society in policy making is analysed both in a national and in an EU policy context.
Particular attention is given to civil society in post-communist European countries, with the example of Bulgaria being more closely scrutinized.

Course Description
This course is especially suitable for undergraduate students of junior and senior standing.
It examines:

  • The typical composition of civil society and its actual, current composition in the ECE;
  • Traditional policy making mechanisms;
  • Traditional ways of influencing policy making;  
  • Emerging channels of influence;  
  • Typical features of civil society in post-Communist states;  
  • Ways to overcome structural weaknesses;
  • Case study: Bulgarian Civil Society

Course Delivery
Daily lectures
Group exercises
Final group presentations

The Weakness of Post-communist Civil Society, Marc Morje Howard; Journal of Democracy
Volume 13, Number 1, January 2002, pp. 157-169. (Text will be distributed in-class)

Course 9: Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in the 21st Century
Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan

Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution are the subjects about which we all know something, since we experience them regularly in our daily lives. Often we do not notice that peace and conflict are happening. It is said that "it is a sign of life to be in conflict. A person or society without conflict is dead". And a society without peace-building is governed by jungle laws. In international relations, peace-building is part of an evolution of intervention and peace-keeping carried out by the international community which is aimed at sowing the seeds of long-term peace in war ravaged and dysfunctional states. Peace and conflict resolution are the primary objectives in every country’s fledging foreign policy. They theoretically aspire for conflict prevention, resolution and transformation, through the eradication of the root causes of conflict. However, in most cases, the students of international relations and politics do not understand such policies due to lack of theoretical concepts and values of peace and conflict resolution. 

Taking a strong comparative approach, this course explores the concepts, principal determinants; frame of analysis; and theories of peace and conflict dynamics. It further discusses how a theoretical literature of peace and conflict is translated into practice. In this respect, the course assesses such theoretical analysis with their application in Balkan states, Middle East and Afghanistan in the twenty-first century. In exploring peaceful alternatives to violence, students will learn to understand peace as a multifaceted vision for transformed human relations. In addition to gaining a more sophisticated understanding of peace and conflict, students will also learn about and practice skills necessary for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. The course consists of a series of lectures (on PowerPoint) and in-class group discussions by students on following themes:

  • Causes of Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Global Conflict Resolution with case studies
  • Institutional Conflict Resolution
  • Interpersonal Conflict Resolution
  • Peace Studies
  • Building peaceful and just systems and societies

Course 10: Intercultural Communications: How to Survive and Thrive in the Global Workforce
Lecturer: Dan Fellner, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA

As our world becomes smaller, the need to communicate with others from different cultures continues to grow.  This course will identify the building blocks of intercultural communication and help give you the tools to effectively relate to people with different backgrounds.  These tools can be used to enhance communication in both our personal and professional lives.  Current events around the world relating to the course content also will be discussed.  This is a practical course with theoretical underpinnings designed to make students more marketable to international NGOs and multinational corporations in the increasingly globalized economy.

Among the topics to be discussed:

  • Barriers to intercultural communications, including stereotyping and discrimination
  • Globalization and cultural imperialism
  • Verbal and nonverbal patterns around the world will be analyzed in order to effectively communicate with people from different cultures
  • Culture and conflict
  • Intercultural relationships in tourism
  • Intercultural communication and business 
  • As a class assignment, students will make a presentation about a fellow student in the course with a different cultural background
  • A humorous look at how the culture in America differs from Eastern Europe

Course 11: Activist Media: Post-Modern Documentary Films in an International Context
Lecturer: Prof. Kathryn Jenson White, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

From their beginnings in the 1920s as travelogues, ethnographic records and instructional videos to the powerful, genre-bending films of today, documentaries are a key component of the American film scene and a growing part of international cinema.  They are also engaging and entertaining given their evolution from dry, informational textbooks-on-film to carefully constructed examples of film art borrowing freely from the toolbox of fiction filmmaking. The result of the use of the techniques and grammar of fiction film in documentary filmmaking is a category of film with drama, intrigue and fascinating characters in addition to serious potential as agents of social change. Issues of note are political tensions and uprisings; race, gender and class equity; civil and individual rights; climate change; and many more topics of the utmost relevance to those engaged with the major social and political questions of our time. 

Day 1
Background: The Evolution of Documentary Film
From imperialism to spotlight on social justice
Day 2
Creation: The Art of Filming
The democratization of filmmaking through the lens of filmmaker
Day 3
Impact: Social Activism Through Film
Using individual talent for the collective good
Day 4
Twisted: Playing with Genre Conventions
The concepts of truth, facts and documentation in a post-modern world
Day 5
Engaging: Smart-Phone Documentary Short Reveal
Out of the chair and into the conversation

Potential Films:

The Act of Killing (2013)
Director Joshua Oppenheimer exposes a corrupt regime that celebrates death squad leaders as heroes. When the Indonesian government was overthrown in 1965, small-time gangster Anwar Congo and his friends went from selling movie tickets on the black market to leading death squads in the mass murder of over a million opponents of the new military dictatorship. In this film, they re-create their real-life killings as they dance their way through musical sequences, twist arms in film noir gangster scenes, and gallop across prairies as Western cowboys. Through this filmmaking process, the moral reality of the act of killing begins to haunt Anwar and his friends with varying degrees of acknowledgment, justification and denial.

Five Broken Cameras (2012)
Nominated for an Oscar, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village where Israel is building a security fence. Palestinian Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, shot the film, and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi co-directed. The filmmakers follow one family’s evolution over five years, witnessing a child’s growth from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him.

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013)
Filmed over the course of six months, this documentary tells the incredible story of three young women: Nadia, Masha and Katia. Who is really on trial in a case that has gripped the nation and the world beyond – young artists or the society they live in?

This is Not a Film (2012)
Renowned Iranian director, Jafar Panahi, received a 6-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press due to his open support of the opposition party in Iran's 2009 election. In this documentary, which was secretly shot on an iPhone and a modest DV camera by Panahi's close friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, Panahi shares his day-to-day life as he waits for a decision on his appeal.

The Square (2013)
The Egyptian Revolution has been an ongoing rollercoaster over the past two and a half years. Through the news, we only get a glimpse of the bloodiest battle, an election, or a million man march. At the beginning of July 2013, we witnessed the second president deposed within the space of three years. The Square is an immersive experience, transporting the viewer deeply into the intense emotional drama and personal stories behind the news. It is the inspirational story of young people claiming their rights, struggling through multiple forces, in the fight to create a society of conscience.

Concerning Violence (2013)/The Black Power Mixtape (2011)
Swedish documentarian G?ran Hugo Olsson’s “The Black Power Mixtape” provided a revelatory overview of the black power movement in the United States through the unique perspective of rare news footage gathered from a Swedish archive. More than a clip show, “Black Power Mixtape” combined many of its scenes with contemporary black voices ruminating on the significance of the movement. Olsson’s follow-up, the bracingly unconventional “Concerning Violence,” contains a radically different focus and tone. However, Olsson’s non-linear, found footage snapshot of African colonialism mirrors “Black Power” for its similar use of preexisting material repurposed to strengthen its modern significance. Viewed together, the two movies offer a wholly unique process of interrogating history.

A River Changes Course (2013)
Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at Sundance, A River Changes Course tells the story of three families living in contemporary Cambodia as they face hard choices forced by rapid development and struggle to maintain their traditional ways of life as the modern world closes in around them.

Course 12: The Power of Telling True Stories
Lecturer: Nancy Bartley, Asst. Metro Editor, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, USA

It was long and thin and wrapped in a stiff, red-and-blue hand-woven blanket. The mother clutched the bundle to her chest and leaned against the adobe wall beneath the shade of the oleander. Others like her –Indians from the surrounding villages – waited to see the doctor at Guatemala City’s clinic for malnourished children. Finally, the mother’s name was called and she entered the clinic. A moment later, the doctor summoned me, a visiting journalist, as well.

“You have to see this,’’ he said. The mother’s burden was unwrapped and there lay a 15-pound, five-year-old girl with the skeletal body of an old woman. Her name was Rosalia and most of her hair and teeth were missing. She stared at me and blinked her eyes.
“What have you been feeding her?’’ the doctor asked.
“Coca-Cola, because it tastes good,’’ the mother replied.  

The story of a five-year-old, who was malnourished from having been fed a diet of Coca-Cola because her uneducated parents believed American advertising, was a story I’ve written about many times.  With each telling, it releases some of the horror I felt and I hope it raises public awareness on many levels. Likewise, I hope the book I wrote – the true-story of a 12-year-old murderer who was sent to an adult prison for life in 1931 – provokes thought about how societies cope with juvenile crime.   

This class will be an overview of the many kinds of story- telling and its importance in bridging cultures, emphasizing our shared humanity and giving us a sense of being citizens of the world with a responsibility to each other that transcends nations.

We all ride the wave of history, but in some countries, that wave is more of a tsunami as governments collapse and new ones come into power.  When that happens, it is a rich opportunity for collecting the stories of change, preserving history for future generations and disseminating the lessons learned to a wider audience.

This class will encourage participants to both write their own true stories and those of others, to find the universal truth in writing and, when possible to capture moments of social change. It will emphasize interviewing, narrative techniques and research – the basics no matter what form the story may finally take – film, radio or print.  

By writing about first-hand accounts of historical events or interviewing those who have been eye-witnesses, it keeps alive the conditions and memories lessening the chance of the tragedies of history being repeated.   

Recently, the movie Twelve Years a Slave, made the public painfully aware of a first-hand account of slavery.  It was made possible because a long time ago a former slave wrote a memoir.  Today, that memoir teaches us on a massive scale.  We will discuss that film as well as others, in addition to books, and news narratives.

Telling stories is an ancient tradition. The class helps to do it better and with the goal of understanding other cultures, people and ultimately ourselves.

Course 13: Writing from the Body, Leading with Inspiration
Lecturers: Greg Harris, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and Kathryn Posin, New York University, New York, NY, USA

"The call to write is a call that's received in the body first," John Lee writes. This workshop, taught collaboratively by a creative writer and contemporary choreographer, teaches you how to heed the call—to wake up body and mind and become a source of creative, transformative expression.  Learn to keep a rich personal journal, and to use yoga, breathing exercises, stretching, and dance technique to limber up the imaginative (and actual) muscles that support powerful, original perception.  By week’s end you will be equipped with the writing tools you need to craft insightful narratives drawing on personal experience, and a range of movement skills drawn from Bulgarian and American dance idioms. Suitable for those interested in all forms of writing, including fiction and creative non-fiction, travel writing, personal commentary, and personal statements for fellowships and graduate school. Writers of all levels of experience are encouraged to attend.  No dance training is necessary.

Course Syllabus:

Bring your journal and yoga mat!  Each class will begin with exercises that cultivate mind/body integration and a freeing of the path to the writers voice. There will be assignments each day leading toward completion of a personal essay and (for those so motivated) short choreographed piece by the end of the week.

Day 1: Openings:  Following the Breath, Meeting the Page

We begin with breathing exercises, yoga, moving to music.   We’ll discuss writing and creative process, and begin to improvise on the page without judgment or criticism.  Emphasis will be on openness to felt sense and authenticity, trust in inspiration even when fragmentary, and open/playful response to environment.
Followup assignment:  following the senses, writing the image.

Day 2:  Style:  Finding Voice, Story, & Movement Style

After warming-up exercises on page and mat, we examine published essays and key innovations of modern dance with an eye to technique.  What transforms images into idea, event into meaning, movement into a unique style?  We’ll explore what gives story emotional power and originality, and draw on Rudolf von Laban's Eight Efforts to see how drama and suspense are created in movement.
Followup assignment:  capturing evocative objects, evocative gestures

Day 3:  Storymaking:  Language, Image, Movement, Metaphor

Drawing on theories from Lakoff’s Metaphors We Live By and other sources, we learn how image and physical experience relate.   We’ll begin to study form, in both story and dance, using—on the one hand—powerful personal essays by writers such as George Orwell to learn how private experiences can become public meaning—and on the other, a short  Bulgarian dance as an example of how it encodes culture and history all the way back to Thracian times in the movement, the music and the rhythms.  
Followup assignment:  sketching, and moving through, stories with purpose.

Day 4:   Workshop:  Reading, and Moving, Together

Creation is both individual and collaborative.  This workshop teaches ways to allow for editing and critical distance and shapeliness in a way that doesn't freeze you from taking the next risks.  Through constructive feedback and authentic response, we’ll identify the most promising stories and movements and map out how to develop sketches into finished projects. The use of the model of Laban’s kinesphere gives us freedom to see our own and other’s work in directions and patterns.
Followup assignment:  completing a draft of a short written work or choreographing a short ensemble piece.

Day 5:  Workshop II:  Making Decisions, Staying Unstuck (How to).

We revisit the drafts and ensemble pieces to note their development.  We revisit the opening day’s suggestions about writing and creative process, with the idea of how best to continue creating, beyond the supportive structure of the class.
Work will be presented, in all forms-- whether a work in progress, a brief dance or written study, or collaborative projects.  Students will leave the class with a rich set of ideas for further development.

Course 14: Language, Politics and Identity in the Balkans
Lecturer: Dr. Mary Ann Walter, Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus, Nicosia, Cyprus

This course will examine ways of speaking used in the Balkans both at present and in the past, focusing primarily on Bulgaria. Ways in which linguistic choices have reflected and formed identity and politics in the region will be discussed. Topics to be covered include: linguistic nationalism, language laws, rights of minority languages, language discrimination, alphabet issues, standard language, and others.  This course will introduce the student to some of the key issues that have plagued the Balkans in the past and continue to shape its future. 

The readings will be provided electronically by the instructor. They are listed on the syllabus in the rough order of their assignment.

Students must attend at least 7 of the 10 class hours per week to receive credit.

Linguistic Biography:
Students will submit a biography focusing on someone at FISI based on interviews conducted with that person outside of class. The write-up of the interview should be approximately two pages (double-spaced if typed, single if handwritten). The instructor’s linguistic autobiography as well as additional examples and suggested questions for the interview will be provided. This assignment will be due on the third class day.

In small groups, students will investigate the language issues of an area in the Balkans not covered during the class meetings. Each group will prepare a presentation to be given for the class as whole at the last class meeting. Each group will also submit a written summary of their work to the instructor, also to be provided at the last class meeting.

Potential topics include language issues and language policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Romania…
Students may also focus on a linguistic/ethnic group such as Roma, Armenian or Jewish communities in Balkan locations other than Bulgaria, speakers of Albanian in Greece and/or Macedonia, speakers of Hungarian in Romania, speakers of Turkish in Greece, the changing role of Russian, Greek or Turkish in the Balkans, et cetera.

This project will broaden the scope of the course to the entire Balkan region and contextualize the Bulgarian experience.

Course 15: Gender and Sexuality
Lecturer: Dr. Shaban Darakchi, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria

This course consists of two parts. The first part is focused on the social aspects of gender as a social construct. The first section of the course tackles the most common, taken-for-granted approaches in studies of gender and concentrates on alternative conceptualizations of gender in social sciences. Some speak of gender as biological feature; some assume sex and/or sexuality are synonymous with gender. What is gender and how do we identify one’s gender? Key topics in this section are social regulators and social institutions such as media, religion, culture and politics, family, marriage and their relationship with gender identities and gender roles.

The second part of this course deals with human sexuality which is often considered only as a biological feature. This course will trace how gender “legitimizes” the “normal” sexual orientation and how this approach is being changed over the last 50 years. In contrast, this course introduces students to the different approaches and ways in which sexual desire and sexual activity are structured by social relations, and to the ways that sexuality, sexual practices, and sexual identities vary in time and space. Other topics include the historical context and development of different aspects of human sexuality: sexual socialization, sexual desire, sexual identities, sexual subcultures and communities, political manipulation of sexuality, the nature of “heteronormativity” and the intersectional theory of gender and sexuality.

Each student, upon completion of this course, should be able to recognize, define, and understand core issues in the sociology of gender and sexuality and they should be also bale to apply the basic researching methods when studying gender and sexuality. Additionally, students will gain a working knowledge of women's issues, men's issues, and how gender and sexuality are formed, changed, and maintained in different societies across the world. This course is also adapted for the purposes of this summer learning session where basic terms and concepts will be taught using interactive presentations combined with small group discussions and games. This structure of formal and informal ( role play) games and group presentations allows to student who have not previously dealt with sociology of gender and sexuality to learn the specific “language” of this academic field and also prepare them to be able to use this knowledge appropriately in further scientific and public discussions. Last, but not least this course gives the opportunity for the student to reflect on their own believes and views about gender and sexuality.

The course consists of 10 modules. Each topic is planned for 2 academic hours: 1 hour theoretical knowledge and 1 hour small group reflections, interactive games and group presentations (20 academic hours in total).

Lecture 1: Introduction: Why Gender Studies?
Concepts: Gender, Sex, Feminism, Patriarchy, Matriarchy, Femininity, Masculinity, Gender Roles and Gender Socialization

Lecture 2: Gender Identities: Femininity, Masculinity and…
Concepts: Masculinity, Femininity, LGBTQI, Sociobiology, Functionalism, Conflict Theory, Feminism, Postmodernism

Lecture 3: Gender and Media
Concepts: Gendered Media, Gender Display, Gender Performance, Gender Advertising.

Lecture 4: Gender Roles and Religion
Concepts: Religion, Gender Norms, Gender Culture, Gender Domination, Religious Textual Reasoning

Lecture 5: Gender, Family and Marriage
Concepts: Gender Based Families, Nuclear and Extended Family, Non Traditional Families, Marriage, Same Sex Marriages

Lecture 6: Sociological dimensions of sexuality: Sexual Socialization
Concepts: Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Biology, Social Constructivism, Heteronormativity

Lecture 7: Sexual identity
Concepts: Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Power, Sexual Politics

Lecture 8: Media and Sexuality
Concepts: Sexual Advertising, Media Content, Public Opinion, Feminism, Pornography, Sexual Behavior

Lecture 9: Gender, Sexuality and the Body
Concepts: Gender Embodiment, Sexual Harassment, Gender Based Violence, Feminization, Masculinization, Abortion.

Lecture 10: How to Study Gender and Sexuality: Methods and Practices
Concepts: Gender, Sexuality, Participant Observation, Content Analysis, In-Depth Interviews

Course 16: Philosophical and Social Dimensions of Imagination
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Alexander Gungov, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria

Modern imagination appeared in the works of two very different philosophers, Rene Descartes and Giambattista Vico; this led to two contradictory trends in studying this human faculty.  The next boost to the theory of imagination was given by Immanuel Kant and by his critic, Georg Hegel. Following these ‘classical’ thinkers, our discussion will be focused on imagination as it is interpreted in Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, Martin Heidegger’s fundamental ontology, Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism, Hans-Georg Gadamer’s and Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics. We will be drawing special attention to the crucial role of imagination for the constitution of modernity, will be underlining its function in the European rationality, and will be pointing out to its specific expression in the everyday life. The significance of imagination for the existence of any single element of social and political life will be shown. Under philosophical scrutiny will be put such topics as ideology, propaganda, advertising, techniques of manipulation in the public discourse; a suggestion will be made that in all above areas the power of imagination is exploited in order to achieve certain premeditated outcomes.

The entire exposition will be structured with the assumption that the participants do not necessarily have any previous background in Continental Philosophy; no special familiarity with the history of the studies of imagination or their current status is expected either. All technical philosophical terms will be introduced gradually throughout the advancement of the course.

Course 17: Bulgaria in Literature and Film
Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Brenda Tooley, Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL, USA and Prof. Dr. Ludmilla Kostova, University of Veliko Turnovo, Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria

The course focuses on representations of Bulgaria in a selection of literary texts written in English and two films, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (2008) and Mission London (2010).

The literary texts we have selected include excerpts from Street Without a Name. Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (2008) and Twelve Minutes of Love: a Tango Story (2011)by Kapka Kassabova, a Bulgarian-born writer currently resident in Scotland, and two stories,  “Buying Lenin” and “Devshirme,” from East of the West (2011) by Miroslav Penkov, Winner of the BBC International Short Story Award. They exemplify different perspectives upon Bulgaria, the Bulgarians and key events of the country’s history.

The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner is based on the novel of the same name by Bulgarian-German writer Ilija Trojanow. Directed by Stefan Komandarev, it is a Bulgarian, German, Slovenian and Hungarian co-production, which has received over 20 festival awards.

Mission London is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Bulgarian writer Alek Popov. The film is a satirical comedy directed by Dimitar Mitovski, with 3 British actors playing key parts in it.


  1. Received Western images of Bulgaria (19th-20th centuries). Bulgarian self-images in literary texts (19th-20th centuries).
  2. Writing across the foreign/native divide: the case of Kapka Kassabova.
  3. Exploring roots and routes: The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner and East of the West (“Buying Lenin” and “Devshirme”)
  4. Bulgaria and/in the West in the 21st century: Mission London.

The first topic will be presented as a lecture, with course participants asking questions and providing comments. For the purpose, short excerpts from relevant books on the theory of otherness and cultural mapping will be made available in electronic form. Photocopies of selected excerpts from Kapka Kassabova’s books and the two short stories by Miroslav Penkov will be sent to all participants in advance.
The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner has English subtitles; more than half of Mission London is in English; the rest will be translated in the course of the viewing. Depending on general interest, the films may be shown to all FISI 2014 participants.

The course is intended for a mixed audience including incoming Fulbrighters in attendance at FISI, who would be able to learn more about Bulgaria and its recent history through it, and at undergraduate and graduate students from Bulgaria and the US. The latter group will be asked to either produce an essay on one of the texts or films discussed in the course (ca 2000 words) or to write their own story about Bulgaria (2000 - 3000 words). The mixing of two groups of FISI participants should stimulate discussion and help the students benefit from the greater experience of the Fulbrighters.

Course 18: Hollywood in the 21st Century
Lecturer: Dr. James Deutsch, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington DC, USA

In many ways, the 21st century has dramatically transformed the American cinema. Since 2000, Hollywood has embraced new technologies (particularly the switch from analog to digital), new business methods (particularly with multinational conglomerates that dominate global markets), and new forms of exhibition (particularly with more viewers watching films not in theaters, but rather on the small screens of laptops, tablets, and cell phones). This course will closely examine Hollywood films of the 21st century from several complementary angles of vision: 

  • Film as art—Students will learn the vocabulary and language of the cinema: different types of shots, camera angles, editing methods, lighting techniques, and more. Are American films of the 21st century artistically and aesthetically different from those that came before? How has the cinema of the 2000s affected our relationship to visual culture in general and the moving image in particular?
  • Film as history—Students will analyze American films in their historical context, especially in the post-September 11 environment. What do films of the 2000s reveal about the historical events of this period? How have the American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as enhanced levels of security and anti-terrorism, affected the content of motion pictures produced in the United States? Is there a relationship between these films and ambitions of global dominance?
  • Film as business—Students will learn of the roles played by the major film studios and production companies, movie theater chains, and providers of on-demand Internet content (such as Netflix). How have these companies and their innovations affected changing markets and patterns of consumption? What does the increasing globalization of the film industry mean for “American” film? Is there room for both Hollywood blockbuster films and smaller independent filmmaking? What roles are played by film festivals and review media (including newspapers, magazines, and blogs) in the 21st century?
  • Film as technology—Students will discover how film production in the 21st century has been affected by new technological developments, such as dazzling special effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI), lightweight and portable high-definition cameras, optical enhancements such as 3-D, digital editing, and innovations in sound systems.
  • Film as culture—Students will assess American films of the 2000s as cultural artifacts. What might these films tell us about the culture, philosophy, and psyche of the American people? Have there been meaningful and measurable shifts in societal notions of privacy, tolerance, race, violence, and international awareness? What do these trends foretell for the future? Will the 21st century bring the end of cinema, as we know it?

As a result of completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand and appreciate American cinema in the 21st century as an aesthetic, economic, technological, social, and cultural institution.
  2. Analyze films according to their visual styles and meanings, and place their analytical findings in a broad social, historical, and cultural context.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of the diversity and scope of contemporary American film.
  4. Understand the cinema as a visual expression of human values and group identity.
  5. Formulate original questions and express original ideas about contemporary popular culture.

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