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Founded in late 1989, the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is an interdisciplinary public policy institute dedicated to the values of democracy and market economy. CSD is a non-partisan, independent organization fostering the reform process in Europe through impact on policy and civil society.


  • To provide an enhanced institutional and policy capacity for a successful European integration process, especially in the area of justice and home affairs;
  • To promote institutional reform and the practical implementation of democratic values in legal and economic practice;
  • To monitor public attitudes and serve as a watchdog of the institutional reform process.

Building bridges is the old-fashioned way of bringing together social actors and cementing new alliances. Born as a think-tank, the Center for the Study of Democracy has evolved into policy development through dialogue and partnership. Bringing cutting-edge solutions to transition problems is our way of keeping the middle ground between academia and social practice.

CSD’s commitment to the protection of rights and integration of migrants stems from its long experience in fundamental rights research, policy making, legislative and institutional reform.  The Center has been involved in supplying data for the European Migration Network, in monitoring forced return, in exploring the training needs and developing training modules for migrants and the role of migrant social orientation in combating racism and xenophobia towards non-national population. CSD has built stable partnerships with major asylum and migration institutions, as well as with NGOs providing services and guidance to migrants.


Dr Yordanva

Dr Maria Yordanova

Dr Maria Yordanova holds a PhD in Constitutional Law from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. As an academic (1982-1994) she has delivered lectures on fundamental rights and freedoms and has authored several articles on the constitutional and European dimensions of fundamental rights. After joining CSD in 1998, Maria has done research on a variety of issues, including protection of fundamental rights through the ombudsman institution, prisoners’ rights, rights of victims of crime, access to justice, e-justice, racism and xenophobia, etc. She has contributed to and edited most of CSD’s reports and studies on legal and institutional reform, fundamental rights, and judicial reform. She was member of the Board of Advisors of the International Law Development Organisation (IDLO) and the Advisory Group to the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Democratisation and Justice Series.

Dimitar Markov

Dimitar Markov

Dimitar Markov is a lawyer by background with an MA in Law from the Law Faculty of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (administration of justice profile). He has attended additional qualification and proficiency courses in European law and European integration, good governance, human rights, and criminal law. Throughout his years with the CSD, Dimitar has participated in and coordinated more than 20 research projects in the area of institutional and legal reform, protection and promotion of fundamental rights, criminal justice, and penitentiary reform. His research focus lies in the areas of criminal law and procedure, in particular rights of suspects and accused, human rights, judicial reform, the penitentiary system, legal framework of information technologies and cybercrime. He has extensively researched the situation of migrant populations in Bulgaria and the fundamental rights aspects of the work of asylum and migration institutions.

Miriana Ilcheva

Miriana Ilcheva

Miriana Ilcheva holds an MA in Law from the Law Faculty of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and MAS/LLM in International Humanitarian Law from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. In past positions, Miriana used to provide legal advice to victims of fundamental rights violations and contribute to the capacity building of national human rights and criminal justice authorities. In the CSD, Miriana has done research on e-justice, protection of vulnerable groups, integration of migrants and asylum seekers, and the right to free movement of EU citizens. She has explored in depth the rights of and support to victims of crime, including victims of human trafficking and hate crime and links between migration and victimisation.  She has advocated extensively on more active participation of civil society in legislating on and improving the situation of beneficiaries of international protection and other migrants.

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