Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared Challenges, Sustainable Future

Course Handbook

Section 1 – Program Overview
Section 2 – Core components
Section 3 – Notes for lecturers and participants




Organisers:   The program is carried out under the high patronage of the Romanian Presidential Administration, and the auspices of the Romanian Intelligence Service, by the National Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazul”, in partnership with  the Harvard University and the collaboration of the US National Intelligence University (NIU).

Rationale:  The program takes on the legacy of its predecessor, the Harvard Black Sea Security Program. While embracing the latter’s mission and goals, it is also designed as a framework aimed to take regional agency and responsibility further in creating a synergic and sustainable future for the region and beyond.
Lessons learnt from the former BSSP have convinced us that the Black Sea region can thrive if and only if each and every actor in the region is involved in preserving a shared core of values and a common approach to regional interests.

Goal:  The goal of the “Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared challenges, sustainable future” program is to foster an enhanced level of understanding and expertise, on the most significant challenges we are set to address in the coming period throughout the region, from energy security to cyber-crime or terrorism.

Embracing the fact that knowledge has always been a factor of social development, it is also our aim to preserve and further develop the shared body of knowledge, a common vision on major opportunities that await us into the 21st century, as well as on the ways in which we can address them   efficiently throughout the region, through coherent security policies.


Program objectives:

  • Fostering communication and spreading innovative ideas and best practices throughout academia, policy makers and practitioners across the region;
  • Continuing to develop our understanding on interacting regional and global drivers that affect the region, the local actor’s synergic development;
  • Stimulating cooperation in areas of common interest for the nations in the Black Sea Region;
  • Stimulating the promotion of regional history, values, culture and agency;
  • Continuous horizon scanning to identify emerging challenges against the region, as well as opportunities to promote its vital interests;
  • Encouraging growth of ideas, goals and strategic thinking of policy makers in the Black Sea Region.



Learning outcomes:  

  • Participants are exposed to a large variety of political, academic, and diplomatic points of view on relevant topics for the Black Sea regional security, and they are, accordingly, encouraged to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the topics under discussion.
  • Lectures and practical exercises are balanced so as to encourage program attendees debate, perform horizon scanning, develop in-depth analysis, and create a vision for the future.



A five days intensive training program
Target audience:

  • Policymakers and foreign affairs officials in the Black Sea Region, A6 level correspondent or higher.
    Training themes:    2014
  • Energy security – innovative solutions to enduring problems;
    Future editions:
  • Changing drivers of conflict in the Black Sea Neighbourhood – an early detection approach;
  • Cyber Black Sea – catalyst of progress or disruption;
  • Think global, act regional – a vision into the future of the Black Sea littoral countries.


Training format: 

  • Presentations delivered by key note speakers
  • Round-table discussion sessions (reviews of current issues, policy analysis on topics that generate or benefit from extended discussions etc.)
  • Problem solving sessions
  • Alternative scenario creation & tailored exercises


Training Principles    Open discussion. Teamwork. Creative & forward thinking. Initiative. Mutual understanding. Respect.

Being addressed to regional stakeholders in the Black Sea Region and their partners, one of the main aims of the program is to create the right framework in which attendees can interact freely and creatively, in full respect of each other and their shared interests, to promote mutual understanding and respect.


Section 2 – Core Components

Each year, the core theme will be addressed in distinct lectures by security and public policy experts, academia and private stakeholders from the Black Sea Region, as well as representatives of international bodies and partner countries.
This way, participants will be exposed to a varied set of multidisciplinary, multi-angled approaches as well as forward thinking ideas. They will also have the opportunity to engage with lecturers and peer program attendees in creating, through collective work and debates, a vision for the future of the Black Sea Region.
It is our belief that, in putting together stakeholders, experts and academia, the program will contribute significantly to capacity building throughout the region.



The exercise is designed as a series of problem solving sessions in which participants can feed the knowledge gained during the day lectures and their own vision into creating alternative ways to enhance energy security via strategic positioning and prioritizing public policy, economic development, research and innovation and/or foreign affairs initiatives aimed at creating better regional cohesiveness and sustainability etc.

Workshop sessions shall provide each participant the opportunity to integrate his/her expertise and creativity into a team project aimed at building better knowledge and prospects of future development.

Successive sessions are designed to:

  • allow broad discussion among participants,
  • encourage debate and forward thinking
  • enforce clarity and concision via time constraints
  • promote a “key message” approach

Group/subgroup work

In order to ensure a balanced representation of regional outlooks, participants are encouraged to give voice to their opinion and allow time for all points of view to be heard.
All participants will be asked to comply with given time limits.

Task leaders responsibilities   

Task leaders will assist the chair in:
•    summarizing key points,
•    leading the Q&A,
•    ensuring teamwork and an overall coherent approach by the entire team,
•    drawing conclusions
•    meeting deadlines.


Section 3 – Notes for lecturers and participants

A. During plenary sessions

General remarks   

  • The philosophy that has guided the outlining of the SBSR Program is to encourage and foster dialogue with the issues raised by each year’s edition and engagement with lecturers and peer attendees. Therefore, it is considered a matter of personal and professional courtesy to engage in dialogue and debate with mutual respect and an open attitude.
  • The exchange of perspectives in a multicultural and interdisciplinary setting is also an important objective of the program.
  • In order to keep the program coherence, participants are expected to understand and respect time restrictions and limit their interventions to the time allotted to each segment of the program, accordingly.

Notes for lecturers   

  • Each lecture is expected to last no more than 20 minutes 5 and 2 minute warnings will be posted before time for one lecture expires. At the end of the allotted 20 minutes, a please stop card will be shown. Please draw your lecture to a close at that point.

Notes for attendees  

  • Do not interrupt lectures with questions unless the lecturer himself/herself advises you otherwise.
  • Sessions are structured to allow for lectures of 20 minutes followed by a distinct Q&A session which is aimed at discussion and engagement for all participants.
  • Each intention to address questions or make comments shall be signaled by raising the name card in front of you and maintaining it as such until the moderator has acknowledged the request


B. During workshop sessions
General remarks

  • During the problem solving sessions, participants are expected to take an active part and support the overall success of the tasks assigned to them in a well structured and pro-active manner.


  • In order to ensure a balanced representation of regional outlooks, participants are encouraged to give voice to their opinions and allow time for all points of view to be heard.


  •  All participants will be asked to stick to the time limits prescribed.


  • Subsequent to the subgroup sessions, each subgroup has the responsibility to produce a short brief, summarizing information and giving own analytical outlook on the chosen topic.


  • Each group/team will elect a spokesperson that will present final deliverable during the last plenary session.
  • Whenever necessary, team spokesperson should be able to defend positions and clarify potential misunderstandings.

Task leader

Task leaders will assist the chair in:

  • summarizing key points,
  • leading the Q&A,
  • ensuring teamwork and an overall coherent approach by the entire team,
  • drawing conclusions
  • meeting deadlines

Core competences developed  

  • work effectively in a multinational, multicultural environment
  • build team spirit and group identity
  • analyze selected topics, use team debates and resources to connect the dots into complex patterns of action,
  • use exposure to a multinational, multicultural environment  to develop each individual’s and the team’s capacity to process issues at stake and create a broad perspective on regional interests, threats and opportunities.
  • negotiate effectively

Workshop deliverable

  • At the end of the workshop, each team is expected to present a short policy statement, containing a vision, a set of goals and objectives embraced by all team members.
  • This shall be treated as collaborative work, as a document that summarizes and reflects perspectives of all team members.