Information for Qualifying students

To be eligible to participate in the United States National Speech and Debate Association Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, USA on 18-23 June 2017, you must agree to the following:

How to Qualify

To qualify for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament in the United States, you must…

  • receive first place in Duo or Oratory at the BEST US-Qualifier Tournament in Blagoevgrad in April 2017.
  • be available on 16-25 June 2017 to attend the tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
  • agree to all of the policies outlined throughout this page, as well as those outlined by the NSDA.
  • fundraise to cover the cost of attending the tournament.

Note: Contingent on the number of participants at the tournament, second place winners in Duo and Oratory will qualify for the NSDA National Tournament in Birmingham, and may attend under BEST supervision. All students advancing to the US National Tournament from BEST’s US-Qualifier are representatives of BEST and must abide by BEST policies.

In the event that the first place winner of the BEST US-Qualifier fails to agree to or meet BEST’s policies (outlined below), they will be disqualified from attending the NSDA National Tournament. In that event, the second place winner will become BEST’s first representative.

If one person on a Duo team fails to meet BEST’s policies, we regret that his or her Duo team will be disqualified.

Passports and Visas

You are required to…

  • have your passport ready by the first day of the AUBG US-Qualifier Tournament, or be ready to apply for an expedited passport the following week (80 leva fee to be covered by student). Students who do not have a valid passport by 16 April 2017 will be disqualified. Your passport must be valid until at least January 2018.
  • be ready to apply for and cover the costs of a US Tourist visa quickly after the tournament, under BEST’s direction.

Students who have not applied for a US visa by 17 April 2017 will be disqualified.

Meetings and Paperwork

You are required to…

  • attend a logistical meeting immediately following the AUBG US-Qualifier Tournament in Blagoevgrad in April 2017.
  • sign BEST’s Code of Conduct Agreement, along with your parents.
  • sign a release form for pictures/videos taken of you during the trip, along with your parents.*

Note: Your parents are required to attend a BEST meeting to discuss trip logistics and expectations, at their own cost.


You are required to…

  • abide by BEST’s Code of Conduct Agreement for the duration of the trip.
  • travel on a BEST-arranged flight, with a BEST chaperone. Students may not travel on their own for any reason.
  • compete in the main event they will enter at the NSDA tournament (Oratory or Duo), using an improved version of their piece, at the BEST National Tournament in April 2017.
  • commit to continue practicing your performance leading up to the tournament, independently and with a minimum of two coaching sessions per week, sometimes online via live video (such as Skype).
  • prepare a Consolation Event piece to compete in Prose or Poetry in the event that you do not break at the US National Tournament.
  • create at least one video blog entry** and two written blog entries (one pre-and one post-tournament) to be shared on BEST’s website.  
  • contribute to BEST’s social media presence by sharing photos and the above-mentioned blog posts with us, as well as compose an op-ed for your local newspaper.

Important Note: Although the BEST Foundation is committed to sending the best and brightest Bulgarian students to the US National Tournament, regardless of their financial circumstances, we do not commit to providing any help with funding for students attending the 2017 NSDA Tournament.

If you have any questions about our commitment or the policies listed above, please feel free to e-mail

* Note, you may limit BEST’s right to share your personal information or images as much as you and your parents think is appropriate. This will have no impact on your participation. Signing the form lets us know how much we can share about you when we brag about you to media far and wide.

** Please note that you do not have to feature in the video, if you feel uncomfortable.  You will have access to a BEST mentor to help you with submitting videos to the blog.  We respect your privacy and do not require you to share footage of yourself, if you do not feel comfortable doing so.