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Course 1: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
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
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.
Day 1: Foundations of business communications
Day 2: The writing process
Day 3: Using technology to write persuasively
Day 4: Designing and delivering oral presentations
Day 5: Writing resumes and application letters
Course 3: Philanthropy and Fundraising for NGOs
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.
Day 1: The Principles, Concepts, and Contexts of Fundraising
Day 3: Creating the Bases for Sustaining Your Organization
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
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
Course 4: Project Writing and Project Management
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.
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)
Course 5: Crisis Management: Dealing With Personal and Professional Crises in Your Life
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.
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.
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.?
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
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:
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
Purpose of the Course
Course 9: Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in the 21st Century
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.
Course 10: Intercultural Communications: How to Survive and Thrive in the Global Workforce
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:
Course 11: Activist Media: Post-Modern Documentary Films in an International Context
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.
The Act of Killing (2013)
Five Broken Cameras (2012)
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013)
This is Not a Film (2012)
The Square (2013)
Concerning Violence (2013)/The Black Power Mixtape (2011)
A River Changes Course (2013)
Course 12: The Power of Telling True Stories
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 5: Workshop II: Making Decisions, Staying Unstuck (How to).
Course 14: Language, Politics and Identity in the Balkans
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.
Potential topics include language issues and language policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Romania…
This project will broaden the scope of the course to the entire Balkan region and contextualize the Bulgarian experience.
Course 15: Gender and Sexuality
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?
Lecture 2: Gender Identities: Femininity, Masculinity and…
Lecture 3: Gender and Media
Lecture 4: Gender Roles and Religion
Lecture 5: Gender, Family and Marriage
Lecture 6: Sociological dimensions of sexuality: Sexual Socialization
Lecture 7: Sexual identity
Lecture 8: Media and Sexuality
Lecture 9: Gender, Sexuality and the Body
Lecture 10: How to Study Gender and Sexuality: Methods and Practices
Course 16: Philosophical and Social Dimensions of Imagination
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
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.
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 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
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:
As a result of completing this course, students should be able to:
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