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Bulgarian Diversity Charter Attends Diversity in Business Conference 2023 in Greece

October 10, 2023
Bulgarian Diversity Charter Attends Diversity in Business Conference 2023 in Greece

NICE programme presented by 5 partner charters in a dedicated panel

The Bulgarian Diversity Charter* attended the 5th Diversity in Business Conference on 5 October in Athens upon an invitation of Diversity Charter Greece.

Held for the fifth time by the Greek Charter this annual high-profile event aims to foster the equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion agenda across workplaces in the private sector and the society at large as well as focus on best practice sharing and relevant topics.  

Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality addressed participants via video message while Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and Dr. Domna Michailidou, Deputy Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports among other public sector officials attended live.

After an inspiring keynote speech by Emmanuelle Verhagen, Diversity Consultant, Leadership Coach & human rights activist the conference featured several panels of lively discussions and success stories on topics such as neurodiversity as business opportunity, how to measure results in D&I, why inclusion matters in business and ways to overcome stereotypes in an engaging and interactive manner. Speakers included business executives, experts, activists, influencers.

Importantly, the Bulgarian Diversity Charter along with partner charters from Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Romania had the opportunity to present the NICE programme** (Neutral and Inclusive communication in Corporate Environments).  In a dedicated panel, the five regional partners presented their efforts so far, focusing on the project’s most recent outcomes and challenges reiterating the importance of introducing inclusive and neutral communication policies in diversity management strategies.

The Bulgarian Diversity Charter was represented by Maria Stoyanova, analyst at CSD, and Ani Ivanova, communications manager at BBLF.

Maria Stoyanova presented major milestones of the recent NICE survey, and the From Words to Actions: Enhancing Inclusive Communication in the Workplace” report she recently authored. Maria Stoyanova emphasized the foundational role of inclusive communication in progressive workplaces and addressed the critical question of awareness and training needs in this area. In her speech, she highlighted the interconnectedness of dimensions like avoiding stereotypes and biases with other aspects of inclusive language like gender- and culture-sensitive language. Maria underscored a significant gap revealed by the NICE survey – only 20% have received training while an overwhelming majority of respondents (90%) desire to improve inclusive communication skills. She emphasized the underestimated nature of inclusive communication and urged for dedicated training encompassing various interactions in verbal, non-verbal, face-to-face, online, textual, and visual formats.

Ani Ivanova focused on some good examples identified during the research phase and the importance of having hands-on tools on inclusive communication in corporate environments. Good practices include workshops on providing a relevant working environment to persons with various disabilities and existing guidance on inclusive communication with regard to LGBTIQA+ employees. On the one hand, these individual efforts and initiatives indicate a good level of awareness, particularly in large companies, of the need of building tolerant and inclusive workplaces and ensuring the right communication tools to this end. On the other, they suggest the need of a more comprehensive, consistent and practical approach via trainings and other instruments for inclusive language that the NICE programme is set to offer.

Greek business executives joined the conversation sharing their thoughts on and hands-on experience of adopting inclusive policies and the added value for organisations.

Stay tuned as updates on the NICE programme are coming soon.

*The Bulgarian Diversity Charter is a joint initiative of the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) aimed at promoting diversity management in workplaces in Bulgaria. The Diversity Charter encourages companies to set up and implement policies on diversity management, prevention of discrimination and equal treatment. Launched in 2020 by CSD and BBLF and 12 founding members, today the Bulgarian Charter brings together over 60 signatories, mostly private companies but also civil organisations, and their more than 5,500 employees. By signing the Charter, an organisation makes a public commitment to recognise and embrace diversity, equal opportunities and social inclusion as part of their strategic policy and daily operations. As a party to the Charter, the organisation gets access to a wide network of contacts, publications and tools for monitoring, assessment and targeting policies. The local Charter is part of the EU Platform that unites 26 Diversity Charters, and its signatories benefit from the exchange of ideas, good practice and resources between the national charters. For details:

**NICE (Neutral and Inclusive Communication in Corporate Environments) Programme is a collaboration of 5 Diversity Charters in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Romania to build inclusive and tolerant working environments by offering new and innovative training and capacity building programmes to their signatories. The project is co-funded by The Citizens, Equality, Rights and Value programme (CERV) of the European Union. The project will achieve multiple learning outcomes, including the development of signatories’ knowledge, skills, and attitude, enhanced self-knowledge, enhanced organisational culture, improved skills to work with different groups. For details: