Balkan Voices is an international speech tournament featuring students from across the Balkan region participating in an original oratory competition. Held at the American University in Bulgaria, it gives students the opportunity to meet peers from neighbouring countries and foster important cross-cultural relationships.

Balkan Voices differs from other speech tournaments in its setup; rather than having students run from room to room to compete in varying categories, this tournament includes programming that aims to foster a sense of community amongst participants and showcase the host institution, AUBG. From karaoke to lectures from AUBG professors, Balkan Voices is about more than the competition, but about overall student development in many areas including:

  • Intercultural Connection

  • Public Speaking

  • Creative Expression

  • Team Building

  • Youth Leadership

Due to the unique setup of this tournament, Balkan Voices promotes a healthier form of competition rooted in relationships and encouragement rather than a first place trophy.

original oratory

You can watch a past Original Oratory performance on our YouTube channel. In essence, the Original Oratory format closely resembles that of a TED Talk. If you want to read more about the rules of Original Oratory, you can refer to our Competition Events page.


This year’s Balkan Voices tournament aims to engage around 100 high school students - half of them Bulgarian and half of them from other Balkan countries. BEST will announce the application process and deadlines soon! Every Balkan high school student who is interested in performing Original Oratory is welcome to apply.