Meet the National Debate Team ‘17

Eight high school students from different schools and cities have been selected and now they participate in an intensive debate training. The goal? To develop their skills, to broaden their knowledge and begin to work as a team. After two training weekends and numerous online sessions with both Bulgarian and international debate coaches and professionals in specific areas, Aleks, Katya, Ruki, Krasi, Nikola, Krisi, Mira and Hari will participate in the international debate tournament “Heart of Europe” on 13-18 June 2017.

The national team is an initiative of Sofia Debate Association and BEST Foundation with the generous support of America for Bulgaria.


Aleksandra is 18 years old. Born in Popovo, she has just graduated 12th grade from the Mathematics High School in Varna. She has been debating since March 2016.

Why do you debate?

I love discussing all kinds of issues and I think that being good at public speaking and being informed about diverse topics is extremely important, especially for those who want to be active citizens of the world and “be the change they wish to see in it”.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

I wanted to have the chance to meet ambitious young people with whom to improve my debating skills and continue debating, even though I am not a member of any specific debate club.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence

Ambitious, positive, hard-working


Ekaterina is 18 years old and she is a graduate from the Foreign Language High School Bertolt Brecht in Pazardzhik. She found out about debating from a English teacher two years ago. After her exchange program for one year in the US, she starts debating again in the end of 2016.

Why do you debate?

I started debating because this is the only activity which is different and even unique. I continued because I saw the positive impact debating had on me – from transforming me from a shy kid to a talkative young person and helping me make friends with some of the most important people in my life to informing me about topics which otherwise I would have never discussed in such depth.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

I applied not only because I wanted to be immersed in intensive training sessions and improve my debating skills but also because of the privilege to present my country internationally.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence.

Motivated, kind, adaptive


Zahari is the youngest member of the team. He is 15 years old and currently graduating 9th grade from the American College of Sofia. He started debating in the beginning of this school year.

Why do you debate?

I debate because of the excitement I experience when I imagine that my decisions and actions will change the world. This is the reason why I started competing. I continued debating, despite the difficulties, because after a few competitions I gained confidence and became more social.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

I decided to apply for the National Debate Team because I wanted to become part of the Bulgarian and international debating society, receive professional debate training and get the chance to present my country and my club.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence

“The harder you work, the luckier you get” – Gary Player. This quote summarizes half of my existence. Besides that, I want to do a big educational reform in Bulgaria.


Krasimir graduated this year from the Foreign Language High School Nikola Vaptsarov in Shumen. He has been debating since October 2014.

Why do you debate?

I debate because I like being surrounded by a community of ambitious and intelligent people. Ever since I started debating more than 2 years ago, I have always been inspired to continue improving myself and this in turn makes me keep debating.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

My biggest motive was that this was my last chance to compete in World Schools Debate since I recently graduated and I want to give my best. Also due to my debate experience, especially in WSC, I can contribute a lot for the great performance of our National Team. Lasly, and now I am even more confident in it after our first training, there is still a lot I can learn from the great coaches. The experience of being part of a team with these amazing people is awesome.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence.

Ambitious and positive person.


Kristiya is 16 years old and a student in 10th grade from the American College of Sofia. She has been debating since she was in 8th grade.

Why do you debate?

Debating educates me in a different way and is also something that I both love and helps me develop as a person who is more informed about the world around them. Besides that I really like arguing about different social issues and debate gives me the opportunity to do this with inspiring and intelligent people.

Why did you apply for the National Debate Team?

I decided that I want to apply because I wanted to continue improving as a debater, meet amazing people and show that the Bulgarian youth has a voice and an opinion which matter and can bring change to our society.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence

Radiant, impatient “chatterbox” (figuratively, I talk a lot)


Mira is in 11th grade from the Mathematics and Science High School Nancho Popovich in Shumen. She has been debating since 2015.

Why do you debate?

Besides that I enjoy debating because it’s fun and interesting, I like that I get to learn something new from every debate.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

I just decided to give it a try, even though I may not be the best debater, because this is also a way to get better but also an opportunity to participate in an international competition. What motivated me as a whole was the experience which I will get from the application and preparation for the competition.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence

I learn fast, I am able to improvise and I love to dance.


Nikola is in 11th grade from the American College of Sofia and has been debating for four years.

Why do you debate?

I grew up in a progressive and open-minded environment and doubting my worldview is something like my hobby. And for this there is no better practice than debate.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

Because of the challenge. There are many good debaters in Bulgaria but competing internationally opens up a whole new horizon for improvement and competition.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence.

Spontaneous and casual.


Rukiye is from Shumen and this year she graduated from the Mathematics and Science High School Nancho Popovich. She has been debating since 2015.

Why do you debate?

I debate because I think that looking at a problem from different points of view develops my ability to think critically but also because debating is fun.

Why did you decide to apply for the National Debate Team?

I didn’t have a lot of time to do debate in 12th grade and for me the National Team was my last chance to do World Schools Debate. Besides that I think participating in an international competition in an exciting challenge.

Present yourself in 3 words/ a sentence

Inquisitive, receptive and honest.


Source: SDA

Translation: BEST

Photo credit: Rumyana Peneva