Balkan Voices

BEST Foundation and American University in Bulgaria will host Balkan Voices, the first international oratory competition in Bulgaria, in the spring of 2018. The tournament will take place from March 31st-April 1st on AUBG’s beautiful campus and will host 30 10th-12th grade Bulgarian competitors and 30 10th-12th grade competitors from schools in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, and Romania.

This tournament is a chance for BESTies to compete with their original oratories, make new friends from other countries, and to learn about opportunities at AUBG. The Board of Directors and the management team are always looking for the most cost effective way to provide opportunities to as many BESTies as possible. We think that Balkan Voices will provide older students with a cross-cultural experience that will enable them to substantially connect with students from other countries and to gain new perspectives. We also think that it is important that BESTies gain access to future opportunities through speech and debate, and touring AUBG and participating in faculty-led workshops during Balkan Voices will provide students with a new perspective on going to university. We also think that an international tournament hosted in Bulgaria will enable more future BESTies to get valuable cultural experiences through speech and debate.

Balkan Voices is going to take the place of the U.S. Qualifier tournament in 2018, and as such there will be no student delegation to the NSDA national tournament this school year. The U.S. Qualifier tournament’s value to BESTies is under assessment by the Board of Directors and management team.

BESTie Motivation Letter Requirements:

  1. Students must be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.
  2. Should be between 300 and 400 words
  3. You should outline your reasons for wanting to participate in the Balkan Voices tournament. Some potential topics you can cover:
    1. What draws you to the original oratory event?
    2. What are you plans after you finish high school?
    3. Are there benefits in public speaking? How can it impact you and/or others?
    4. How can interacting with other cultures benefit a person?
  4. You must include a description of the topic as well as a basic outline of the original oratory you will present (your choice in topic is not binding, we just want to get a sense of what you are interested in presenting)
  5. Please type your motivation letter into a Microsoft Word Document. Your letter should be addressed to BEST Foundation and in the header of the document it should have your own name, your school’s name, and the city you are from (for example: Andrew Malin, SELS, Sofia)
  6. Save your motivation letter as “BV-Motivation-Letter-FIRSTNAME-LASTNAME” (for example: BV-Motivation-Letter-Andrew Malin).
  7. Your motivation letter should be sent to with “Balkan Voices Motivation Letter” in the subject line no later than Monday, January 29th.



APPLICATION DECISIONS: Monday, February 12th

TOURNAMENT: Friday, March 30th to Sunday, April 1st