Bulgaria

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Since CEP started its Bulgaria program in 1992, more than fifty Fellows have taught at eleven universities throughout the country. In 1998–99, CEP supported four Local Faculty Fellows and eight Visiting Lecturers in Bulgaria. These Fellows were able to offer more than a thousand Bulgarian university students a richer academic experience.

Students also benefited from a number of CEP-sponsored extracurricular activities. The fourth annual Balkan Debate Forum was held in Sofia in 1999. This event brings together students from across the Balkan region and provides a setting for debate on economic, social and cultural issues. Not merely an academic event, the Debate Forum fosters tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for divergent opinions – important lessons in this region of lingering ethnic and political tension. The Bulgarian Student Negotiation Seminar provided another innovative opportunity for students by dividing them into teams representing parties involved in negotiations on real-life issues. With the help of their CEP Fellows, students also participated in international events such as the International Student Conference in Budapest and the Central and East European Moot Court Competition in Krakow. For most of the students, participation in these events was the first opportunity to present academic work or debate their ideas in public.

The outreach activities of CEP Fellows also spread beyond their students and departments to other universities and the local community. Based at Rousse University, Visiting Lecturer Robert Castle inaugurated a series of public guest lectures entitled, Bulgarian Society, Economics, and Politics in Transition: Perspectives for Development. Steven Schulwolf, Visiting Faculty Fellow in International Law at the University of Plovdiv, was one of the legal experts invited to speak at a conference in Veliko Turnovo sponsored by the American Bar Association and the Bulgarian High Attorney Council.

“The students’ performance in the Negotiation Seminar showed commitment and effort to analyze and interpret facts professionally, to compromise and to reach agreements. Events like this make us believe that the next generation of leaders will provide for a better future in Bulgaria.

Maria Popova
Bulgaria Country Director

With the support of OSI’s Network Library Program, CEP offered Sofia University a lecturer in library science. Visiting Faculty Fellow Lauren Stara actively assisted her university colleagues on updating curricula and using the Internet in library services. She also shared her expertise with the library community in Bulgaria and with other CEP country programs. In collaboration with a CEP colleague in Slovakia, Lauren also advised the British and American Studies Department at Presov University on organizing and managing their collection of English language books.

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