Two Bulgarian Teams Won Also the European Debating Championship

Tuesday, 05 September 2023 14:55

The organizers of the event: Prof. Dimitar Dimitrov helped us a lot in implementing the preparatory competition and we hope that the World Debate Competition in 2025 will be held at the UNWE.

The Bulgarian teams won both finals of the European Debating Championship /EUDC 2023/ one of which was for participants whose native language is not English. It was the grand final of the European Championships which took place in Burgas from 20 to 26 August. There were 500 competitors from 150 teams representing 25 countries and from around 80 universities from all over Europe, including Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Political Science, etc.

The European Championship was preceded by a preparatory competition which was the most spectacular and the closest to the European Debating Championships. The event took place at the UNWE on 18 and 19 August. Two Bulgarian teams were also winners in it. One of them also grabbed the victory in the final round in Burgas. The best teams participating in the European Championship took also part in the competition held at the UNWE.

Rumen Marinov and Nikolay Angelov, co-organizers of the debate competitions in Bulgaria, told more about the success of the Bulgarian students in the next interview.

Rumen Marinov, student of the UNWE, winner of a number of international debating competitions, and Nikolay Angelov are co-organizers of the European Championship and members of the Bulgarian Debate Association which organizes the events. The photos are from the event at the UNWE and the National Art Gallery of the Cultural Center of Burgas.

How do you evaluate the partnership with the UNWE in organizing the preparatory competition?

Nikolay Angelov: Over the years we have had serious difficulty finding partners to help us in securing the facilities to hold the event and it is a key part. It somehow stops us and bothers us to do such events. The fact that the UNWE, in the person of the Rector Prof. Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov, responded so quickly to the idea, helped us a lot. The UNWE is the best partner we have had. The organization happened very quickly, the base that was provided to us is easy to use and meets the competition reqiurements.

Rumen Marinov: We are very grateful to the Rector Prof. Dimitar Dimitrov who agreed to host the event because while we were organizing it, we were not sure where it would be held. The competition at the UNWE was important for the preliminary preparation and the overall organization of the European Championship. Participants often said that when there are competitions, they have to travel far and prefer to have a comfortable environment where they can sit and relax. The indoor and outdoor courtyards of UNWE were great and everyone was happy.

Why is the European Debating Championship valuable for Bulgaria? What is achieved?

Rumen Marinov: The European Debating Championship has a long history. Every year it is organized in different countries. In the current year for the first time it is organized in Bulgaria which is quite prestigious - one country to host an event of 500 people from so many universities. Purely philosophically, the debates help young people a lot. They help them to develop critical and civic thinking, ability to speak in front of people, it helps them to be critical to information and it also gives them the opportunity to get to know their peers.

Nikolay Angelov: When a certain country is a host, some of the topics for discussion are specific to its society which allows many people to learn more about the history and what happens in the country at the moment. One of the topics of the competition was entitled Young People Living Abroad - For and Against. The topic was debated not only by Bulgarian students but also by others who had to put themselves in the shoes of the average Bulgarian student or pupil. It was a very good contribution to our efforts to get more people to notice us. It is a source of pride and self-confidence that the teams from Bulgarian universities are performing alongside students from some of the world's most prestigious European universities.

How do you assess the participation of Bulgarian students? Do they know enough about the event?

Rumen Marinov: There is an established society. Thousands of students have passed through the Bulgarian format over the years and each one of them has taken something away - to learn how to speak in front of an audience, to deal with presentations, to make new friends. There are many participants in the Bulgarian formats but still the event is not so recognizable among the Bulgarian students. Nevertheless, our achievements are great.  The fact that one country won both finals speaks for itself. I think it has only happened once before.

What are your future ambitions?

Nikolay Angelov: We want to continue to develop the debates in Bulgaria. We notice that when people get to know the idea, a lot of them are interested, they see the value of what we do. We also want to continue organizing these types of events because they give self-confidence and help students to develop.

What are the concrete steps you will take to implement these ambitions? 

Nikolay Angelov: The Bulgarian Debate Association will apply to host the World Debate Championship in 2025 where thousands of students take part and we hope to cooperate again with the UNWE to be our main partner. 

The teams winners together with Nikolay Angelov and Rumen Marinov /in the middle/

The three best speakers Maria Macheva, Alek Selveliev, Velina Andonova and Petya Petrova from the Regional Inspectorate of Education - Burgas /from the left to the right/
Before the final round of the European Debating Championship in the National Art Gallery of the Cultural Center of Burgas

The Bulgarian Debate Association has been working to spread the debates among Bulgarian students since 2011, organizing international and national competitions and supporting debate clubs in different parts of the country by organizing training seminars and providing training materials through which the debaters develop their oratorical and analytical skills.

Competitive debating is continuously developing at school and university level and in the recent years our country has regularly been successful at some of the most prestigious competitions in the world.


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