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BEST Balkan Voices International Oratory Tournament - March 8-10, 2019 at the American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad


  • American University in Bulgaria (map)

The BEST Foundation and the American University in Bulgaria will host Balkan Voices, the second annual international oratory competition in Bulgaria, in the spring of 2019. The tournament will take place from March 8th - March 10th on AUBG’s beautiful campus and will host approx. 100 9th-12th grade competitors from schools in the Balkans.

This tournament is a chance for high school students from all around the Balkans to compete with their Original Oratories (a beginner’s guide can be found here), make new friends from other countries, and to learn about the educational opportunities at AUBG. Balkan Voices will provide students with a cross-cultural experience that will enable them to substantially connect with students from other countries and to gain new perspectives. We believe that it is important that all students 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. An international tournament hosted in Bulgaria will also enable more future BEST students to get valuable intercultural experiences through speech and debate.

Information on the logistics and how to register can be found below, and as always, you can e-mail us with questions at info@bestfoundation.bg.

Letter of Invitation

If your school or any authorities require an official letter of invitation for your students from either us or AUBG, please, e-mail us at info@bestfoundation.bg.

Tentative* Schedule

The tournament schedule is coming soon, but for now note that the tournament will start on Friday evening with dinner and an opening ceremony, and will end by Sunday early afternoon. Please make sure you have arrived in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria by Friday, March 8, in the afternoon so you can don’t miss the opening and dinner.

International travel

We will be in contact with each individual international group and assist as best we can with international travel advice as soon as you have submitted your application. Please make sure that your group is cleared to travel and arrive at the tournament site by Friday afternoon, March 8. Conversely, you can e-mail us with any questions you want to ask before you apply at info@bestfoundation.bg

Tournament Application - deadline: January 28; decisions made by January 31*

Tournament attendance will be covered (we will cover the hotel costs for Friday and Saturday, and reimburse your transport upon arrival to the tournament) for approx. 50 participants from Bulgaria, and approx. 60 total participants from the following countries: Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia. This wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Regional English Language Office - Belgrade.

Bulgarian Applicants:

Students must be in grades 9 - 12, and each individual student must fill out this Google Form, which includes a section where you can submit your motivational letter.  

  1. The letter should be between 400 and 600 words.

  2. 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?

  3. 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)

International Applicants

Students must be in grades 9 - 12, and the team or students’ coach/chaperone/team manager must fill out the following Google Form. The form includes a section where you can submit a motivational letter describing why your team or group of students wants to participate in the tournament.

  1. Fill out this Google Form, which includes a section where you can submit your motivational letter.

  2. The letter should be between 400 and 600 words.

  3. You should outline the reasons for wanting your team members to participate in the Balkan Voices tournament.
    Some Potential Topics you can cover:

    1. Why does your team want to compete in this tournament?

    2. Have members of your team competed in public speaking competitions in the past?

    3. How could competing in this tournament benefit the students on your team?

*Note: Any names and other personal data filled in either Google Form will be used solely for the purposes of organizing the tournament, securing accommodation, and tournament statistics.

Transportation

AUBG will provide a shuttle bus to transport a large number of participants to and from the hotel where they are booked to stay. You can call the following taxi companies for transport around town:

  • Tip-Top Taxi - +359 73 833 333

  • OK Taxi - +359 73 882 121

  • Eco Taxi - +359 73 886 666

  • Mega Lux - +359 73 882 828

The tournament will take place at AUBG’s campus, which can be found on this Google map:

Food

Our generous partners from AUBG will provide dinner on Friday for all participants, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday. All of those will be held at the University’s canteen, located on the top floor of the building where the tournament will be held.

Earlier Event: February 25
Varna tournament Registration period End
Later Event: March 16
Spring East Tournament in Varna